Me, I don’t know anything about the art of selling things. I have no idea whether “never take no for an answer” is standard part of a salesperson’s repertoire or not.

My website gets more and more visitors as time goes on. Last June the average number of visits was 8,000 and change. This month so far, it’s almost 12,000, with only day this month where fewer than 10,000 people visited.

With the increased traffic come increased solicitations from people who want to sell ads on my site. I’m getting several requests a week now. For the most part, I ignore them, and sometimes the person gets the hint and goes away. If that doesn’t work, I reply with a simple, “No, I’m not interested.”

Last November there was one woman who Would. Not. Stop. sending me emails about advertising on Charley. I ignored her at first. Then I told her no, I wasn’t interested. Then she was like, “Could you at least talk about it with me, and I can show you all the great things that could happen.” No, I said, I wasn’t interested. She asked why. I replied, “Personal reasons.” She still didn’t give up. Long story short, just to make her go away I wound up having to TELL HER what those personal reasons were. They’re personal enough that I am never going to blog about them, and I feel uncomfortable discussing them with people I don’t know well. But I told her, and was like, “There. Those are my personal reasons. Happy now?” And then she finally, finally stopped writing me.

Of course I do mention in my FAQ that I do not want to sell ad space, but no one ever seems to read that thing. I ought to do an experiment and take the FAQ page down and see long it takes before anyone realizes the link is broken.

I suppose this sort of complaint must be frustrating to people who have websites and DO want to sell ads on them. It’s kind of First World Problem-ish — “Gawd, I get so much traffic that I have to beat off ad companies with a stick!” I can’t help you there, but I’d love it if I could send those ad people your way and away from me.

12 thoughts on “Advertising

  1. Keelan May 31, 2016 / 7:00 am

    Beyond me on how advertising and personal reasons even link.

    • Meaghan May 31, 2016 / 9:17 pm

      I don’t have personal reasons against advertising per se, I have personal reasons against making a profit off my website.

  2. diamondlil16 May 31, 2016 / 7:39 am

    Do these sales pitch emails go directly into a spam/junk folder? Or do they have misleading subject lines? I have created lots of rules in Outlook that funnel all the stuff out of my main inbox and then that all gets emptied without ever bothering to read them. Unless a few land there that may be worthy of my time, which is rarely. Do you use an auto reply to say no thanks?
    Maybe adding some tag line “always ad-free”.
    Banner ads and the like are easy to get viruses and such, and to me are eye pollution on so many sites that I eventually stop visiting.

    • Meaghan June 1, 2016 / 6:36 pm

      I don’t have an auto-reply, no. I’m not sure how to make one, and in any case I’d hesitate to use it for fear it would accidentally turn away some people with legitimate communications. Yes, I do have filters, but they don’t catch everything.

      • diamondlil16 June 3, 2016 / 2:00 am

        I’m only familiar with what Outlook has, but the auto response would be a template basically that you only have to type once and if you choose to open an email and just glance at the first few lines can tell you’re not interested, the auto reply csn be sent to hopefully decrease more email from them, or can choose to block sender. Ask a techy friend to walk you through some stepsor or maybe someone here can.

  3. Catherine June 1, 2016 / 2:24 am

    I don’t run an expansive website, I don’t live your life. But I’d like the website (you) to be supported at a break even rate. I know you’ve needed monetary support in the past for business things. If you don’t want profit, of course that is up to you. Donate what you don’t need. I feel as though there is possibly a middle path between profit and nothing.

    • Meaghan June 1, 2016 / 6:41 pm

      I certainly wouldn’t mind breaking even either. But regardless of any feelings I have about it, it would be a bad idea if I started making any kind of substantial profit. I don’t want to say why and I don’t have to. I just wish the ad people would accept “no” and not ask why, or at least accept “personal reasons.”
      If I did agree to get ads, I wonder what sort of products or services would be offered on a site about missing people. Personal security systems? Guns? I have no idea what would be appropriate and would be most likely to draw customers. But I’m no marketer.

      • Liz June 1, 2016 / 9:34 pm

        You really don’t need to explain and justify yourself to anyone. This is your website and everyone should respect your decision. I like what DiamondLil16 said. Telling people it is always ad free kind of shuts it down. I wonder if you can then block the specific person who keeps asking. It was so rude for the salesperson to even ask your personal reasons.

      • diamondlil16 June 3, 2016 / 2:08 am

        If at some time you do want to allow some type maybe you can pick and choose something near and dear to you or what you personally use, say pet food ads, or humane society, or something to do with education or history, book sites. Only products, sites that you find cool, say a game site (gamehouse, bigfish) a restaurant chain you like. But I don’t know if you can streamline it like that. Maybe Catherine can give better details on that.

      • diamondlil16 June 3, 2016 / 2:28 am

        Forgot to add, Cheri, the owner of Cheri’s Corner for the Missing has never accepted ads on her message board. But we do link often to things either pertaining to the missing person or lifestyle, such as suicide and mental health hotlines, domestic violence, drug addiction, lo jack for the autistic and dementia patients, the local law enforcement K-9 units, search and rescue, if the city offers personal defense classes and the like. And if the missing person was a pet owner, encourage readers to donate goods to the local animal shelter in that person’s name. How to get free gun locks, info for veterans…it varies depending on the case listed. But most links are for non profit sites.

  4. Laura Tooker June 1, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    Good for you! It seems like everything is for sale these days! Love this site the way it is!

  5. aniela June 3, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    I wonder if adding a text box that said something like “The Charley Project is permanently ad-free. Solicitations to sell advertising will be ignored” on the home page would discourage this nuisance, or if the salespeople wouldn’t read that either.

    Either way, I agree it’s your website and you shouldn’t feel obligated to share your personal circumstances with anybody if you don’t want to. Much less to get a stranger to shut up.

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