18 September 2008

Money, Integrity, Practicality, and Self-Sabotage

About two weeks ago, I got an email from someone saying that if we could agree on a price, she'd be willing to pre-pay for a year of advertising on my blog. It was personalized enough that I could tell it wasn't generic spam. I flagged it to consider later.

The first thing I did was google her name. Nothing much came up besides private facebook pages, captions for photos with friends. I emailed to ask what the ad would be for and what it would look like: a beauty product review site, a line of text with a couple of links within it. So far, so good... sort of.

A few days later, I checked out the links she'd sent. The site had several pages of links to reviews, all for wrinkle creams. I wondered what about my site made it apt for such a placement but dismissed it since the site had a clean design, free of ads. Each review seemed pretty thorough, citing pros and cons, listing ingredients and their effectiveness. Though their product of choice was the only one to have a link to its website (that I saw), it didn't strike me as a blatant ad for it since there were probably 100 other products reviewed.

So far, I hadn't encountered anything I was certain was a deal-breaker. Since she offered to pre-pay for a year, I figured that was because the monthly payments would be minimal. It'd be very cool to make some money off my writing; I could cross another item off my List before my birthday, I thought to myself. Still, I didn't feel like it'd be worth doing unless it was for a certain amount which I figured would likely be a deal-breaker for her. I wasn't sure how to proceed and over the next couple of days tried to remember everything I'd learned about negotiating over the years. I asked her what price she was looking for, figuring I'd see my deal-breaker.

Even the low end of her price range was more than I'd expected; I was seduced by money. Not sure how I'd justify myself, I emailed her that the top of her price range would be acceptable.

She agreed without hesitation which made me think that I'd sold myself short even more than I'd thought possible. Still, it'd be a nice chunk of change, and I could certainly use it. The catch was PayPal. I've read enough horror stories that I've never had any desire to open an account with them. But even that wasn't a catch because she was willing to mail me a check.

The big mull was on. A check would mean revealing my name and address to a complete stranger whereas if I signed up for PayPal, I could anonymously get paid the same day. It had not escaped my notice, however, that I was dragging my feet. 'Too good to be true.' I couldn't figure out how identity theft would be the end result, but that I would end up with more hassle and/or expense than I'd earned crossed my mind.

Then I saw The Women: "This is my face, deal with it." (Kinda love Annette Bening right now.) I'd seen her perform that line in the trailer, but considering the deal I was about to make, this time it really sunk in. I don't believe that women should be obsessed with wrinkles, feeling the need to have surgery or to spend large amounts on expensive treatments, even though I'm not immune to considering such products myself. Linking to wrinkle cream reviews would endorse their existence.

Practically speaking, who really looks at the ads on websites anyway? The ad would just be a line of text in my sidebar which anyone reading my posts via a feed reader wouldn't see anyway. Also, I could use the money; I believe most of my readers would understand pragmatism.

An ad is not payment for my writing. As soon as I consciously made that distinction, the money didn't mean I could cross something off my List. Ad money buys ad space, and this would be a year-long commitment. Even if no one ever read or clicked on it, I didn't want to see links to wrinkle cream reviews on my site every day for a year.

Also, I really didn't want to open a PayPal account or to give out my name and address, so I backed out. Looks like I found the deal-breaker for which I was looking all along.

Two years ago on TTaT: The Right Track, There are limits to my Dad's knowledge


  1. Pay Pal is a pain. And wrinkles are beautiful! Good choice.

  2. I never look at ads ;) Especially for wrinkle cream!

    It would be so weird to have this foreign thing, an ad, on your blog for a whole year!

  3. sizzle: Thanks. I remembered both you and Dave2 had had problems with them. I'm glad you both blogged about it.

    kilax: I don't look at ads either, but someone out there must.

    And yeah, it would be weird. I didn't want to be beholden (or just to feel beholden) to post more, not change my template...whatever. When I thought of seeing it on my blog every day, or just knowing it was there... I felt like I'd have a countdown to take it off, and that just wasn't right.