the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Arm in Arm


Imagine a world where liberals and conservatives stand side by side. Where gays and right-wing reactionaries work for the same cause. Where snobby New Yorker and small town Southerners live as equals. Where foul-mouthed frat boys and stern-faced feminists wish each other well.

Is this utopia? No, this world does exist.


This world is called Blogads.

Since I started blogging, I’ve complained about how segmented the blogosphere is — differerent “communities” that rarely interact. In reality, a unifying force brings the most popular blogs together — one God you might say — yes, it is money from advertising.

I’ve always been fascinated with advertising, ever since Mr. Molnia, my eigth grade Social Studies teacher, taught us about “propaganda techniques.” He always told us to study the advertising on TV and newspapers because you could learn a lot about what is — and what is NOT said — in the world.

Despite my hatred for advertisements on blogs — and I HATE THEM — there is a strong possibility that I might end up with them some day. So, today, I hit the online road to explore what is out there. And here is what I found: No surprise. There is a lot of advertising going on.

Before we all get all excited, you should know that to make any sort of money, you need a lot of readers and “hits.” In the scheme of “blog celebrity,” if Dooce is George Clooney, I’m Pauly Shore’s unknown brother, Herman.

Dooce and the big mommy and daddy blogs like Amalah, Finslippy, and Dad Gone Mad, all seem to be part of the Federated Media Publishing network and get advertisements from Adbrite. I quickly left these two sites, realizing I was on hallowed ground.

I headed over to BlogAds (for opinion makers!), mostly because I’ve seen them on all types of blogs, and they seemed to “represent” a broader ranger of “categories.”

We’re the blog advertising specialists. Launched in 2002, is where you place ads on America’s most influential blogs.

We represent the blogs you read — sure they’ve got stellar demographics (see our surveys of 56,000 blog readers), but blog readers aren’t just another random crowd of affluent consumers. Bloggers and their readers are mavens, influencers and insiders. Densely networked and brainstorming together at the speed of light, they are the new epicenter of American opinion.

Brainstorming together at the speed of light? Is that what we do every morning in our underwear? And… speed of light — are you kidding? Have any of these people actually commented on a Blogger site? It takes five minutes just to fill out the name, the email, the url, and that stupid jumbled word? Speed of light? Maybe big-time bloggers never actually comment anywhere, sort of like how former President Bush didn’t know how to buy groceries in a modern supermarket.

Still, I knew Blogads was the place for me. How did I know that? Because there were testimonials. Testimonials that I didn’t understand, and I’m always impressed with things that make me feel stupid.

“Blogads is the ‘Intel-inside’ of the blog revolution.”
– John Hlinko,

Ok, great!

“My favorite ‘buzz seeding’ tool currently is the amazing network over at…”
– Brian Clark, GMDstudios

I like the buzz seeding stuff because it sounds like sex.

“The best part is being able to share space (mind-space, virtual-space, screen-space) with the bloggers who — if they embrace our books and authors — make all the difference”
– Farah Miller, Knopf Publishing Group

The three dimensions of space. Cool!

But clearly my favorite was:

“…we’ve gotten very good CPM and CPC rates this way…”
– Elias Israel, Messagefire

Now, this is why I started blogging!

As in other “ad networks,” Blogads separates their blogs into convenient “hives” to attract the appropriately affluent demographic.


Curious to know “What’s My Hive?”, I went through each hive one by one, trying to find the best “fit” for Citizen of the Month.

Here’s the bulk of the list:

Hollywood Blogads
Liberal Blo Advertising Network
Humor Network
Conservative Blog Advertising Network
Beltway Bloggers
The Philly Ad Network
Hip Hop
Baseball Blogosphere
Gay Blogads
Environment and Sustainability
Los Angeles Blogs
Women Bloggers Network
Blue Country
International BlogAds
Government Relations Blog Network
Programming and Technology Blogs
Riveting Reviews
The Liberal Prose
Foodblog Ad Network
Military Blogs
Hip Hop and R&B
AltWeeklies Blog Network
Southern BlogAds
North Carolina
Fashion Blogads
Indie Film Blogs
Indie Music
Law Blog Ad Network
Texas Progressive Alliance
Design Network
Science Blogs
The Anti-Terrorism Coalition
Red State Network
Progressive Parenting
Baby and Parenting Blogads
UK Blogads
Economic Blogads
Chicago Blogs
Oregon Progressives
Football Blogosphere
Gun Blogs
Raging Center-Right Bloggers
Stock Market Investing Network
Jewish Blogs
Product Niche Network
Blogads Gaming
Evangelical Bloggers
Japan Blog Ad Network
Colored Left
Physician Blogging
Jersey Ad Network
Travel Blog
Michigan Ad Network
Wine Blogger Ad Network
Libertarian Ad Network
Christian Moms
Homeschool Blog Network
Art Network
Twin Cities MN Blogs
Lesbian Blog Ad Network
Colorado Progressive Bloggers
Iowa Blogad Network
Weight Loss, Fitness, and Diet
Boston Blogs
Craft Blogads
Feminist Blogger Network
Music Blog Network
Blogads Gadget Network
Gossip Blogs

Whew! That took forever to type out.

Have you ever seen a more motley crew? On the blogosphere, they all hate each other, but on Blogads, they all work for the same cause. In fact, the better the Christian Moms do as a network, the more money in the pot for the lesbians! It’s a small world after all!

Of course, it is difficult to “typecast” yourself. Of all the categories, the ones that seemed most appropriate for myself were the Humor Network, Los Angeles Blogs, and Jewish Blogs.


1) My blog really isn’t that funny anymore. Humor Network.

2) My most popular post on Los Angeles was: “Why is Los Angeles So Ugly?” Los Angeles Blogs.

3) Jewish Blogs? Uh… uh… well…


UPDATE: On request, Jay at the Zero Boss offers readers of this blog a very special BLOG ADVERTISING PRIMER — an insider’s look at how it works and why it is important to clutter up your blog with ads.

UPDATE #2 — 10/20/06: My little post on advertising yesterday received more email than anything I’ve written lately, so it must have touched some nerve. There’s probably a lot of different anxieties at work here — art, snobbishness, money, envy, etc.

I think many of us were initially attracted to blogging because of how democratic it seemed. Any grandmother with a mouse could start a blog and join the conversation.
But, all of a sudden, everyone is talking about bloggers paying their mortgage with their blog.  I understand t would be be nice to get something back something in reurn for all our blogging “work” — other than spam. Oh, right, we’re supposed to be doing this to find our writing voice and make online friends? Hah!

Today’s society is clearly a world of marketing and publicity. We should know. Half of us work in that field.

Everywhere around me, I see the melding together of art and commerce — not that it is new, just that there are fewer and fewer places to hide from it. Just today in the LA Times, I read about how a new PBS children’s show is being sponsored by Arby’s. There are already cross-promotions in the works. Why exactly does PBS exist if it is becoming as commercial as network television? But really — who can blame them? With less government funding, PBS needs to get money from somewhere.

It is sad to me that you can’t even hide in the Blogosphere.

At The Zero Boss, I learned about how blogs are using clever methods to sell you products. Wal-Mart’s PR firm created two blogs that were POSING as grass-roots support for the giant retailer.

I had never heard of this new company called PayPerPost, where you can sign up and make money by promoting products on your blog. So, in the future, if I tell you how much I loved my Burger King Veggie Burger, you won’t be able to know whether I really enjoyed it or I am GETTING PAID to say I enjoyed it.

I’m surprised that so many of you actually said that I should “go for advertising.” To be honest, I’m not sure it is even worth it. Someone who works in the biz emailed me and said that when all is said and done, the most I could expect is forty bucks a month — and that’s only if I completely covered my sidebar. God knows what type of ads would go here.

I think I would be better off with a job with better health benefits.

Maybe I am behind the times. Maybe I’m a sucker for the laid-back, old-school Los Angeles vibe of years ago, a world I fantasized about even as a child in Queens — where everyone just hung out at the beach, not worrying about marketing, but only the sun and the surf, listening to the Eagles on the radio —

What did you say? The Eagles just made an deal today to sell their next album where?  Excusively at … WAL-MART?!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: How Much is that Dildo in the Window?

(is this old post kosher?)


  1. lizardek

    Pauly Shore has a brother?

  2. V-Grrrl

    Proud to be in a category all my own:

    “Middle-aged, expat female bloggers in Europe trying to shimmy their fat asses into their American Levis while mourning the death of the family mouse.”

    Does anyone really want to reach a reader who REGULARLY screws up word verification? Of course–!

    Monetize me, baby. That’s bringing sexy back.

  3. Ash

    Hmm, I think I need a category all of my own too.

    One person who linked to me said ‘this blog seems to have an identity crisis’.

    So what about blogs that are neither here nor there? Perhaps there should be a ‘shit blogs’ category and then some of us would fit right in 😉

  4. Mr. Fabulous

    Sadly, I will never fit it. I doubt very much that their definition of “humor” includes excessive masturbation, itchy nethers, boatloads of profanity, and numerous references to lemurs that may or may not include oral copulation.

    It is not easy being me.

  5. Michele

    The funny thing is that most of us are in the slush pile and loving it. I think advertising on a blog is tacky. I never click on blog ads, they annoy me.

    Great post, Neil. Cogent thinking and my favorite kind of sarcasm.

  6. s@bd

    You GO.
    You funny, LA, Jewish-guy.

  7. Neil

    Note from future self, October 2007:

    You are an idiot, Neil. You just started putting advertisements on your blog and now Communicatrix is writing a post making fun of your hypocrisy!

  8. Neil

    Note from future self, October 2008:

    Now look what you did. After being caught in a torrid affair at the annual Google-YouTube Blogging Conference, you and Dooce seemed to have it all. That is until she read this post about blog ads, read Communicatrix’s post as well, called you a sell-out, and ran away with some gadget blogger from Austin.

  9. Danny

    Hey, Herman, I think Michele makes a good point: do you think anyone in the history of the blogosphere has EVER clicked on a blog ad? I know I haven’t (and wouldn’t). I still don’t get how the money works—do you receive a fee every time some sucker clicks from your site to the commercial site or do you get paid just for having the ad on your blog to begin with? (Don’t forget the “All My Children” crowd. You can sell Fusion perfume and Susan Lucci’s “Youthful Essence” micro-dermabrasion system.)

  10. Mist 1

    I am a PBS watcher and an NPR supporter. I prefer ad free. However, what would be wrong with having a pledge week wherein your blog is plastered with ads and you nag people to click so that you can continue to provide such high quality programming?

  11. V-Grrrl


    Does this mean you’re changing your blog name to Shit in Holland?

    Ha, ha, ha.


    January 2008: Your photo appears on Dooce with a piece of spaghetti stuck to it. Citizen of the Month readers say this is not kosher.

  12. Neil

    Danny – I’m assuming it works with the clicks. I’m figuring someone must be making money or they wouldn’t have all these companies doing it. It’s like email spam. Who the hell buys Viagra from a stranger who sends you email? But SOMEONE must or they wouldn’t keep on doing it.

    But if I did take advertising, I would post how much money I’m making, considering the interactive nature of blogging. After all, the commenters add as much to a blog as the blogger. Not that I would actually share the actual money — but I might send all regular readers a half price coupon to the Olive Garden every Christmas —

  13. Neil

    Actually, maybe we can get the very talented Jay from The Zero Boss, who seems like a decent guy despite using Blogads himself, to explain a little how blog advertising works!

    Do you get a percentage with each click?   Has advertising affected what he writes about?

  14. Charming, but single

    Um, you totally forgot Google Adsense. And I think you shoulw consider this. Because I would LOVE to see the contextual ads that would pop up when your Penis blogs.

  15. Heather B.

    So you’re saying I should take out the word verification…?

  16. Neil

    Heather, I’m actually a very poor typist. I sometimes have to do that verification three times! There are some blog applications, like the odd one that the Viscountess of Funk uses, that requires you to fill out what seems like Twenty Questions just to write a comment.

  17. Michelle V - fost-adopt blogger

    I’m totally getting Mist 1. We could all click away like mad one Sunday morning when we should be churching or something and send the ad-o-philes over the moon thinking they’ve got the perfect demographic audience with you.

  18. trouble

    I definitely think that Neil’s Penis could be considered part of the Lesbian Blogger Network.

  19. Lou P.

    Advertising equals revenue. If you’re content with your blog being a hobby, that’s fine. But some effectively places ads can make you some extra cash, which is always nice.

  20. Neil

    Lou, since you seem knowledgeable, what could the average personal blogger actually make off of ads? Or is this one of those things where it is inappropriate to ask? And why don’t you have any? Do you need to be asked by a advertising network or can anyone “join?”

    And if I did want to try to make money from “blogging” — it seems as if the only real way to get advertising is to be a niche — like write about gadgets, feminism, the Yankees, or Jews.

    So, theoretically, if I really did give my Penis his own blog, he might actually have a better chance at getting advertisers (Trojans, dildos, sex toys), than me?!

    My PENIS could end up being my meal ticket!

  21. e.

    So.. your penis makes all the money, then what? I certainly hope your penis plans on buying Sophia flowers!

    However, I’m more in favor of Mist 1’s idea. It’s pledge week at NPR in DC; I’ve become accostomed to it…

  22. cruisin-mom

    Olive Garden? Gee, I’m in

  23. Postmodern Sass

    Of course every right-minded consumer hates advertising, and even when we don’t, we are obliged to say we do, lest our friends and readers think we’ve been bitten by a rabid skunk. But you know what? I get to watch Studio 60 on NBC’s Web site for free, gratis, no charge, nada. In exchange I am quite willing to watch that Cadillac ad four times. (Hey, the Cadillac brand is even starting to grow on me a little.) Put ads on your blog, Neil, and I promise to click on them so your advertisers see a high return on their CPM and CPC investment.

    Oh, and, by the way, you are at least Pauly Shore himself in the world of blog celebrity. I, on the other hand, am Kate Collins.

  24. Jack


  25. Alison

    Yesterday I checked out the BlogHer Ad network. After slogging through 13 pages of a PDF document, I got to the nitty-gritty: how much?

    According to the BlogHer chart, I would earn $6.00 approximately every 7 weeks. So, you know, I’m totally going to stay ad-free until I get discovered. THEN I’ll sell out.


  26. Neil

    Six bucks is six bucks. We’re talking about two lattes at Starbucks every seven weeks. That’s not bad for a little writing.

  27. Jack

    FWIW, I hate CPC and CPA arrangements. They place most if not all of the burden on the publisher and leave the advertiser with little to no accountability for the performance of their campaign.

  28. rdl

    You are too funny!!

  29. treespotter

    i’d say Ash and Mr. Fab and me, we can do our own category.


    It’s not as if you’re considering a life of prostitution or setting your penis up with a 1-900 number… I don’t completely understand why a writer would not want to receive money for work done; my engineering services are not free nor are my paintings.

  31. Neil

    And Margaret — you asked the BIG question. What is wrong with it? You are absolutely right. There is nothing wrong with it. Why are we doing all this work? For friendship? For therapy? Are these legitimate reasons?

    Maybe I just don’t like seeing blogging go the way of everything else… but I guess it is inevitable…

  32. deezee

    I like the idea of Penis as meal ticket…a whole new avenue to explore….

  33. e.

    Heh, good thing you already sold you sole once, hm?

  34. Jennifer

    I sold my sole once, too. Didn’t get much for it.

    I’ve never clicked a blog ad before in my life. No reason, really. Just haven’t. Some of my favorites have become so full of them, it’s hard to find the posts. But really, I don’t stay away because they HAVE ads as often as I stay away because they TALK ABOUT THEM ALL THE DAMN TIME.

  35. Neil

    Jennifer, are you trying to give me a hint… that this subject is as dull as dishwater.

    That’s Palmolive DISHWATER. Make your hands smoothly soft. Now on sale at all Albertson’s Supermarkets. Tell ’em that Neilochka sent you and receive a free “Citizen of the Month” cleansing sponge!

  36. Postmodern Sass

    I actually understand what Jack means in his second comment, about the responsibility for ad response being on the publisher rather than the advertiser. What I don’t understand is his first comment. (And whether it was directed at Neil, or at me.)

  37. Neil

    Well, first I thought it was a lightbulb lighting over his head about making some money on his blog, but now I think he just likes Kate Collins (are we talking about the former Janet on AMC?)

  38. Danny

    I read Jay’s funny response about how blog advertising works but now I’m really curious and confused about how it works and if anyone actually makes a dime doing that. Can someone who has blog ads on their site please provide a simple explanation and their bank account number so we can check the stats? I’m assuming you’d have to have massive volume on your site to see anything at all which would leave me out in the cold anyway. (What’s more pathetic than a blog ad on a low-volume site?) But Neil, if you can actuallly make your blog bring in the bucks, I say go for it. Yes, we’ll make fun of you, but so what?

  39. Jennifer

    You know? Dull as dishwater (why do I feel like I’m running low on Palmolive and must go pick some up and soon as this comment is posted?)? To me? Well, yeah. Sorry. But it seems to be the talk of the blog world. People either passionately against it and the bloggers who “sell out” (ha) or people defending it. It seems to be the Flavor of the Month for fall. Which isn’t a month, but you get my drift.

    And thanks for the fix. 😉

  40. laurie

    It’s a myth, I think, that anyone is making big money off the blogads service, I make about enough to cover my server fees.

    The people running the network are really great folks. Each person I’ve communicated with at is really professional and wants their individual clients to succeed and make a little cash. At least that has been my experience.

    No, they do not work on a click-through fee basis. It’s paid for a specific period of time and you get a cut of that (on, I don’t know about other services).

    I don’t know why people get so weirded out about ads on the internet. Ads! On the internet! who would have THOUGHT it??? heh heh.

    I don’t really care if people think I have sold out or suck or whore out for advertising. That’s just silly. It’s just a webpage. It has cat pictures on it. I talk about laundry. It’s not like someone is paying me to place STD ads on a Picasso or something.

  41. plain jane

    I will still read your blog if you put up ads, at least as long as it doesn’t cramp your (writing) style. But then I would pay a subscription for the privilege of reading your blog every day.

    You write to amuse, and you do a good job of it, I have no problem getting paid for it if you want. If you want to write just to amuse yourself and get all the warm fuzzies that come from the blog community, that’s fine with me too.

    You can always get a job at Taco Bell 😉

  42. marcail

    You are delightfully irreverent. You put me in mind of Christ castigating the merchants in the synagogue.

  43. deezee

    you could always opt for a tip jar and pretend you’re playing piano in a bar. or dancing…with a mop.

  44. Dagny

    I don’t think they have a category for me. As it should be. I’m one of a kind.

    And I have actually clicked on a blog ad before. At CAP. It was for this really cute bag to carrying your knitting stuff in. It’s a shame the thing cost $90. Just seemed a bit steep to be carrying knitting stuff in.

  45. Alexandra

    I was surprised at the strong feelings that advertising on blogs brings up for some. I don’t mind them if they are at the bottom or fairly discreet, on the sides, and esp if they can bring in $ for a fellow blogger who can then work from home or more freely. Since I rake in a cool five hundred million a year from ads on my blog its hard not to support them but I do understand the arguments against. (BTW, some can’t see the ads on my blog as they are only visible to a certain portion of the population)

  46. Neil

    Alexandra — I almost want to ask you, as a therapist, WHY you think advertising brings out such strong emotions?

  47. Neil

    I know… I know… this post is boring, but I made another update to it.

  48. Jody

    So are all the accountants and lawyers an anomaly for having blogs? What happened to reading and writing for pure enjoyment which is what you seem to do and which I truly enjoy? I’m in the faction (if there is one or maybe I am the only one) that believes that not everything needs to be turned into a business venture.

  49. Caryn

    Cash in Neil, it’s the only way. Even if the blog clique pricks try to keep you down!!!!

    I really need to start taking my medication in the morning, don’t I?

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