Essay

Blog Ads Need to Die — And Two Other Annoyances Need to Go With Them

Lead magnets and sales funnels, I’m looking at you

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Licensed from Adobe Stock (Editing by Author)

If we don’t do something about the sleazy underbelly of the blogosphere, blogs will end up in the same level of hell that MySpace landed in after it died.

You may think I’m a little hysterical. But the way the world and the minds of the population are changing, nobody wants to deal with tricks, tracking cookies, and getting dragged through unending funnels in our search for their elusive credit card number.

People are getting tired of the marathon we are forcing them to endure because Google told them that your page had the information they were looking for. Landing on your post, there are so many garish ads — they can’t even read what they came for in the first place. Somehow through this usability nightmare, they read vague platitudes and warmed-over common knowledge.

But, a light in the tunnel! They can get answers if they only give their valuable email address and receive your FREE PDF explaining it all (A $99 Value!).

Once they download your precious ebook, they get hijacked and tossed down your nasty funnel. Then they get bombarded with stress and dubious marketing copy, to force them to upgrade to one of your premium packages. $599 later, they are so disgusted with the process and themselves for giving in to the pressure that they vow never to visit another blog again.

There are many of us out in the industry who are adding value wherever we go. We give our information and knowledge away for free to create a relationship with our followers and potential customers. We don’t immediately reach in their pants and grab their credit card deets.

We market with content instead of using outdated techniques and annoying display ads to siphon every penny off visitors to our blog or website.

But, the bad taints the good.

Capitalism has created some terrible things. But, marketers have most of the blame for enabling tricksters and con men to find ways to steal our money legally. Online marketing is even worse than its traditional counterpart.

But, I’m sorry; “not all online marketers,” right?

I haven’t always been so anti-online-marketing. There was a time in my blogging career when I was creating my own endless sales funnels. There was even a time when I listened to the crowd telling me to develop niche sites that contained useless information that would rank high in Google. Then, I would direct all that traffic into a few blog posts packed to the walls with display ads and banners.

When my visitor couldn’t find the information they were looking for and tried to click the browsers’ back button, I was to cover the entire screen with a pop-up and demand their email address in exchange for the information they came for in the first place.

And you know where that leads.

I did it long enough to make my first $1.27 in a month from my ads and my first 100 subscribers with my pop-up before my conscience wouldn’t allow me to trick any more people in my quest for the almighty dollar. I could not do it and sleep at night. Maybe that is why I have no fantastic monthly income reports to show off because I just don’t have the stomach to be a scammer.

Oh, right, “not all bloggers!”

I wanted to find a way to make money that didn’t involve trickery, so I started my own Google search.

Do it yourself! Type in “make money online” and see where it takes you. Time after time, I am promised information but flooded with lead magnets and dropped down funnel after funnel.

Before long, I am so angry that I almost give up my search. But, I finally came across a beautiful blog with no ads. They gave me practical information and didn’t bug me for my email or credit card number from second number one. I didn’t link them because they sold to a larger company and now are as sleazy as the rest of them.

I was so happy to get what I came for, I signed up for a membership and stayed a member for almost three years because they were always bending over backward to add value to my life.

No lead magnets. No display ads and banners. No sales funnels.

Even with all the scammers out there making the industry look bad, I started to feel hope that there was a way to make money blogging that didn’t involve swimming through the sewer.

Even though the company that bought them went over to the dark side, I still retained hope that I could find ways to earn a living and keep my conscience intact.

What is so terrible about ads?

I smile at the people who ask this because I know they are kidding themselves. They hate advertising. Nobody likes advertising.

Sure there are some cool movie trailers, and those Superbowl ads are hilarious. But as a society, we are so sick and tired of ads and advertising but know there is nothing we can do about it. We have completely shut off the part of our brain that makes us nauseous when another Taco Bell commercial comes on. Or the embarrassment at a video ad that auto-plays at full blast when you are trying to scroll through Facebook in the waiting room of your dentist.

Everybody fucking hates advertising.

You know what else? People use ad blockers because mobile ads can eat up as much as 79% of our mobile data allotment. And your battery? Don’t believe me?

It’s gotten to the point where I get what I came for and never, ever visit again if I come to a website or blog with ads. That is why I spend so much time on Medium. $5 a month is a small price to pay for all the ad-free content I want.

The thing is, platforms like Medium are showing us the future and struggling through the early, unprofitable stages. They want to find a happy medium (see what I did there?) where they can deliver the best content with no advertising or sales funnels.

People on Twitter complain about paying for content, but you will always pay for it one way or another. They will track you and force-feed the same ads based on your surfing profile and data taken from you without your knowledge.

You will pay with the attention you give YouTube and Facebook every time they force another ad down your throat.

You will pay.

The future of blogging and the entire web involves subscriptions and memberships, but not ads and funnels. There will be a time when you only give your email address when you want to and not have to trade for a crappy lead magnet that never satisfied our need for knowledge.

The future will also be browsers like Brave, who want to replace ad revenue with subscription payments shared across all sites that Brave’s users visit. Firefox and Opera are also great Chrome replacements since most of Google’s income comes from ads and advertising, and they are not likely to want to help you block them.

The future is coming. Are you ready for it?

Pandemic and Trump have only hastened the approach of change. People don’t want the status quo anymore; they want something that will solve their particular problem.

For example, consider what it happening in the world today.

People see that they don’t need to exert the effort or pay the money to educate their kids anymore. College tuition will be a thing of the past. Back-to-school shopping will not exist in five years.

We know that we can buy better products for less money if we order them online and don’t have to go through the hassle of going to a physical store. We know we can find reviews on any product we want to buy and see if it is a product we want and need before buying it.

Even though there is a promise of more content out there, we don’t want to jump through hoops to get it. We would rather pay for the privilege of being ad-free and funnel-less.

I would, and you would too.

Our social media is changing as well, and one day soon, we will force platforms to give up their monetization strategies and favor memberships more. Wouldn’t you rather pay Facebook $1.99 a month to be ad and tracker-free?

I would. Very much so.

Social media has become part of our lives, and it has been a necessary evil that we put up with ads and advertising. But that will change eventually. It may take time, but it will change and evolve.

Platforms that don’t evolve will fall by the wayside. Survival of the fittest!

Blogs and the web, in general, have become a minefield of banners, ads, funnels, and lead magnets. Ads are evil, especially on mobile. They eat up your data and your battery, and the UI problems are so extreme that many blogs’ mobile versions are unusable.

Yes, creators should get paid for their work, and up until now, many used ads to do it. But we need to get content creators to start using monetization methods that aren’t usability nightmares and don’t force us to buy shit we never need.

We need to stop saying it’s okay for our kids to be continuously bombarded with marketing messages and ads. We need to start taking our lives and attention back from the sleazy marketers who stole it.

We should expect that when we click on a link with the promise of finding an answer to a problem, we should get it. We shouldn’t have to trade our email or credit card numbers unless the content is so good that you want to pay for more.

We need to demand our attention back and stopping giving it out to whoever demands it. How much time do you have left in your life to be trading it to see cat videos and Trump memes?

We need a future in blogging and on the web, free from dishonest marketing and false promises.

We need a future where creators can earn a living without selling their souls.

We need a brighter future for everyone that doesn’t involve graft, lying, or cheating to make a buck.

Written by

Writer | Essayist | Video Content Creator | Future member of the two-comma club | Dreamer - I am doing it my way and it might take a bit longer. Don't wait up.

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