You might have noticed ads on the site.
The very short explanation is that I’ve decided it doesn’t matter that much, and I can use the revenue to support student researchers, and perhaps pay people who want to write for this site. If it bugs you, then please consider using an adblocker.
For additional context, I’ve been paying WordPress to suppress these ads, for over six years now. Some of your other favorite blogs might have ads. That might be because they’re getting paid for them, or because they’re getting free hosting and letting the host monetize their site. So really, my own labor aside, this blog isn’t free. Operating the site without ads has come out of my pocket. (The same is true for Rapid Ecology, by the way, which remains ad free for the community of ecologists.) Even with these ads, it will still come out of my pocket. But at least it will generate useful revenue.
It occurred to me that I could leverage this site to help support students doing research at my institution. And I am consistently concerned that the voices in science blogs don’t represent the breadth of important views in the community. I might use revenue from the site to pay people to write here. It looks like I can might be able to bring in several thousand dollars per year, just by having ads. If ads aren’t a big deal, then as one experienced science communicator pointed out, why leave that money on the table?
I also wondered, how might folks feel about the ads? Well, about 4% of respondents in this nonrandom poll think it’s a bad idea. Most folks see it as an active good.
I think setting up a non-profit looks like a lot of additional time that I don’t have, so I probably won’t go this route. So either I’ll just suck it up, tax-wise, as I’m getting more work for writing, speaking, and consulting, this is just part of the picture anyway. Just in case you’re curious how I’m doing this on the back end.
Now back to our regular programming.
Epilogue: 13 Jan 2020. It turns out these ads are bringing in less revenue than I anticipated, by about an order of magnitude. So I just shut them down.