Advertising on Trust Matters Blog?

I’d like some readers’ advice.

I received the following email:

Hello!

I’m contacting you on behalf of a client who is interested in making a contribution to help support your site in exchange for a simple contextual link of a word or phrase somewhere within trustedadvisor.com

Let me know if you offer these types of arrangements and if you have any rates. If you’re unsure, please ask and I would be happy to provide specific details and an offer. The link would be natural and be to a useful resource.

Thank you,

[Name]

And here’s what I wrote back:

Dear [Name],

Thanks for the offer, I appreciate the recognition.

As a site whose subject matter is trust, we have to be cleaner than Caesar’s wife. I have decided, at least thus far, that the easiest way to do so is to simply not accept advertising in any form.

I appreciate the offer, but we’ll have to pass.

Sincerely,

Charlie Green

Now, there’s nothing wrong with advertising.  Nor with affiliate marketing, nor with sales commissions, or any of hundreds of other commercial relationships.  This is not a holier-than-thou blogpost.

Having the no-ads principle has certainly made things easier. As with all values, having them greatly simplifies decisions.

But the truth is, I look wistfully at some sites that do quite well, even extremely well, by the added revenue they are able to generate.  It would be nice.

I like to think there are lines that can be drawn.  For example, the pay-for-contextual-link proposition above could pretty easily be a slippery slope unless you DRINK DIET COKE LIKE I DO ha ha. (Actually just the lime kind, and only occasionally).

In fact, there are probably some commercial links that would represent a positive benefit to the readership of this blog. Or so I think I could argue, though no examples come immediately to mind.

And I also feel no great need to take a ridiculous pledge of no advertising forever, because I’m not so smart as to think I know everything; I reserve the right to get smarter as I get older more experienced.

Your Advice

So I’d like your advice. Is it a good thing to keep this page pristine non-commercial?  Do values have to be absolute to be of value?  Is this a brand thing?

Or are there reasonable approaches to integrating commerce to a website (mainly the blog) based on trust?  Can I get a little mortgage money goin’ here, huh? Can useful lines be drawn?

What do you think?  I really do value your perspective and advice.  Thank you in advance.