how to shaft your volunteers, part 2872911

We may not have a date for the introduction of the Adsense widget yet, but hey, at least we have a price point:

Mullenweg plans to allow users to add Google’s AdSense to their blogs. But will this open the floodgates to sploggers? “Part of the WordPress brand is high-quality blogs, and we’re not going to do anything to damage that. We have an extraordinary number of really high-quality blogs, and some of them could do quite well with AdSense,” says Mullenweg. “We plan to make it a paid upgrade, at least $15 (£7.45) a year per blog, and our policies on splogs or spammy content aren’t going to change.”

Pretty much what I was predicting this time last year, then.

I’m still not quite sure why it’s still so much more important to keep the media informed than your users. Or, indeed, the people who give up their time to answer the users when they ask what your policies are, because you can’t be bothered to tell them when they sign up. Now the good news is out, I’m sure they’ll be delighted to tell people that if they wait a few weeks and give Automattic $15, they’ll get what they want. (My money is on another WordCamp announcement). And that, for future reference, if you want to know what’s going to happen on wordpress.com you need to be reading The Guardian rather than the news blog.

Mostly, I want to know whether the anticipated extra revenue from this move means that Automattic will no longer be slapping their own Google ads on people’s blogs without telling them about it. I’m not expecting an answer to that, either.

16 Comments »

  1. adam said

    the most disturbing part of the whole thing be “the wordpress brand”

    the case for community marks, indeed.

  2. drmike said

    Gets better.

    Yours truely is being autodeleted/ marked as spam by Akismet in the two wp.org forums.

    Thanks guys! So glad I wasted my time with you folks.

  3. Star said

    I’m still tripping on the “at least $15″ part. Something in my gut says that $15 is only the beginning.

    By the way, am I the only one who thinks there’s something inherently wrong with needing to pay money for the privilege of earning money from your hard work?

  4. Root said

    I do not know how Matt does it. He takes part in a Guardian article explaining how he is fighting sploggers by now ADDING adsense ads. Go figure.

  5. I have to laugh at the ‘high-quality blogs’ thing, because hello? This is a free host. All free hosts are going to have dross on them. Come to that, all paid hosts are going to have dross on them, only by richer people.

    Conversely, even blogspot has some decent material, however much Matt might argue that the quantity of splogs taints the whole domain. If I see a blog mentioned in a newspaper or magazine because the author got a book deal or newspaper column on the strength of it, it’s nearly always on blogspot. That’s mainly because they’ve been around for so much longer, though Google integration and better customisability can’t hurt. I honestly don’t think ads make much difference to genuine bloggers. They’re more likely to get upset by ads being foisted upon them without the option to opt out. Blogspot no longer does this. WordPress.com does, though they’re fairly good at concealing it from most of their users.

    At $15, they’re not going to get as much takeup of Adsense as the constant nagging in the forums might suggest. The majority of those people would simply not be interested in paying that much to deface their blog (the relative lack of interest in custom CSS testifies to that). I think Automattic might be surprised by how the majority of the wordpress.com community react to this move. ‘No ads’ is a very popular feature here, in spite of the fact it doesn’t exist.

  6. sunburntkamel said

    gee, star, with your posts about spamming craigslist, i can see how what hard work you’re really doing to bring the news to the people.

    i do hope that automattic prices adsense right out of your grubby little reach.

  7. Root said

    Ads plus CSS upgrade would be about 30 USD pa. About the same as the budget account at ASO. I know com does a lot of heavy lifting for the end user but you would have to wonder where the real value was on those figures. Once a brand is identified as *free* – then creeping charges cause endless resentment and controversy.

  8. Star said

    If only you could read sunburntkamel, none of my posts are about spamming Craigslist and, although I already have a wp.com account, I have no interest in monetizing those blogs. However, I do something odd about requiring someone to pay a fee to do so. It would be far wiser, IMO, for WP just to tell people if they want to monetize their blogs, they should go elsewhere.

    Maybe you should take your head out of your butt and stop thinking you’re better than anyone else because they earn a living online. Worry about tending your own garden instead of trying to prune mine.

  9. Root said

    sbk you just gotta suck it right up doncha?🙂

  10. Root said

    Sorrty sbk. My Brit irony is obviously wasted…………………………..:)

  11. Um, isn’t offering adsense for free basically equivalent to saying PLZ CREATE HUNDREDS OF SPLOGS?

    I agree that it would be better to tell people to go elsewhere if they want to monetise their blogs, but Automattic seem not to want people to go elsewhere. You can’t really blame them for that.

  12. Root said

    The sploggers are the guys who are most likely going to be happy with the concept of shelling out the bucks. They are pros. They understand costs and investment. The home blogger is trying (pitifully) to make money on his ads. Not to pay it.🙂

  13. This is true. It’s quite possible that the healthy Google rankings of .com blogs and extra traffic from tags pages might make it worth the splogger’s while to shell out; since the bigger the site gets, the less likely it becomes that any given blog will be flagged by users.

    It’s highly unlikely that Automattic will be willing to check out bloggers signing up for the upgrade, either. They’re going to shut them down after they take their money, not before. Hell, they still have $5 of mine that doesn’t rightfully belong to them.

  14. Star said

    Um, isn’t offering adsense for free basically equivalent to saying PLZ CREATE HUNDREDS OF SPLOGS?

    That’s just it. I don’t think WP.com should be offering the option of using AdSense at all. Tell those people to go elsewhere.

    Of course, I can certainly see where a lot of people would be pissed off to find that WP.com is already showing AdSense sporadically on their blog entries. To me, that’s pretty damn money-grubbing and underhanded. If someone’s going to make a few cents (or maybe even a buck) on my personal blog entries or even my knowledge, the least they can do is tell me about it.

  15. […] Coming Soon to WordPress.com Never mind the usability- feel the dollars i am officially a sucker how to shaft your volunteers, part 2872911 […]

  16. […] wank You know the Adsense upgrade Matt was running around telling the media about last summer without a word to the actual users? Well, their latest member of staff appears to know nothing about it, and a guy asking about […]

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