I woke up early this morning from a dream. In it, my brother and I were playing basketball. For some reason, he was dressed head to toe in a cheap Power Rangers outfit. As he helplessly tried to shoot the ball in the basket, his superhero mask would flop and fall in his face. It completely distracted him. At one point he tripped over himself when trying to make a shot. Frustrated, he continued to do the same thing without taking off the mask.
Then, my eyes opened. It was 5 AM and I couldn’t get back to bed. Something was restless inside me. With this newfound time, I decided to check the comments on Frugaling.
I saw a new one and eagerly read through it. The commenter said she had just read my book. She called it “interesting” and “inspirational.” I was flattered and humbled that she took the time to read my book, visit the site, and write a comment. But as I continued reading, I realized she was also writing a critique.
She was disappointed to see advertising on this site.
At first, like so many times in my life, I got defensive. Here’s what it sounded like in my head: “Who are you to tell me what I can and can’t put on my site? What would you do if you had five figures in debt and never wanted to live that way again? Google ads don’t even pay that well! It’s not liking I’m rolling in money because those little things.”
After my head exploded, I calmed down and read the comment again. She had a point. On one hand I was advocating for anti-consumption, critical personal finance, minimalism, and frugality. On the other, I was hawking advertisements (and have been since the beginning).
Was I being a hypocrite?
Was I not being true to my own values?
Was I living a lie?
Was I contributing to other people’s consumption by hosting ads?
The answers weren’t pretty: yes, yes, yes, and yes.
Sometimes commenters are dead wrong, confused, and/or seemingly typing while tripping on LSD. Those are easy to ignore. But challenging messages are usually my favorite. They force me to think and react – to qualify and justify my reasoning in life.
While not always right, I aim to do better. I look for these moments and embrace them.
This commenter had struck a chord with me. She highlighted something I’ve long wanted but waited to do: remove the advertisements. I’ve hesitated because income on Google ads has been enough to pay web hosting and domain name fees – basics for any website. Additionally, they’ve helped me pay for ancillary costs associated with running a business (i.e., extra tax help, software, etc.).
Those fees and costs remain. Until another company releases a completely free (of hidden costs and ads) domain names and hosting, it’s going to cost hundreds of dollars each year to run. But the advertisements cannot remain.
Today, I’m taking a risk and officially announcing that Frugaling is now free from ads! That means no pesky advertising trackers or Google boxes anywhere. Nothing will be adapting and changing to your buying/surfing habits. That’s the way it should be – void of third-party distractions that encourage people to spend more.
The Internet is chock full of advertisements predicting your next move, purchase, and trip. Rather than add to the noise, I want Frugaling to be an oasis. And my writings and website should host congruent values.
There are more ways to make an income than ads, and I’m hoping you agree. I no longer want to contribute to that system. I’m hoping you’ll help me in this ad-free endeavor. There are various ways to support me: share and spread your favorite articles, buy the new book, or make a donation.
It’s time to take off the distractions.
How do you feel when websites have ads?
What do you think of authors who accept money to write stories?
How should writers make money?