After almost a year of using AdSense, I've decided to drop it and give Passionfruit Ads a try instead. My reason for changing is simple:
I Want Real Control Over the Ads on My Blog
I put so much thought and effort into making my blog friendly, relevant, and welcoming, so it's distressing to think that some of my readers are seeing irrelevant or irritating ads.
I don't want my readers to come here and see the same ad that's been following them for weeks. You know the ones — you look at a pair of shoes once and you can't get away from them!
I also know AdSense has served outright offensive ads to my readers. Yes, it allows you to filter out certain sensitive ad categories & types, but during election season I discovered that it's not foolproof. I had "Politics" blocked as an ad category for my blog. But, somehow my readers were still subjected to politically-charged advertisements. Not cool.
After the political ads leaked through, I shut off AdSense until the end of election season. Since then, I've been wary about using automated ads at all.
So, I spent some time looking around for alternatives that would allow me to hand-select my advertisers, and I came across Passionfruit Ads.
After considering a few different DIY ad networks, I settled on Passionfruit Ads because I like the interface and I love how the embeddable "ad shop" looks. Check it out!
I was able to customize the button to match my blog's purple color, and the ad inherited my blog's font without me having to mess with the CSS at all. I mean, you guys know I love messing around with CSS, but even I can appreciate a break from it sometimes ;)
I also like the simple fee structure. Passionfruit gets a dollar, and PayPal gets their cut of about 3%. There's an ad calculator on the site that lets you see what you'll get for each of your ads once fees are subtracted.
Though I'm not planning to rotate ads right now — and I might never, this is all experimental — I like that Passionfruit handles ad roation, so if I do decide to offer more than one ad at a time, I can do it without a lot of hassle. They can also serve swapped ads or affiliate ads, and they do that for free!
So, I'm giving Passionfruit a try. As soon as the ad spaces sell, AdSense gets turned off and the grand experiment begins! In the Spring, I'll follow up on this post with what I've learned from my Passionfruit experience.
If you have any questions or comments about the ad changes here, or if you'd like to share your experience with Passionfruit or another indie ad service, let me know in the comments! I'm looking forward to hearing from you :)
If you're interested in the ad space, details are in the Passionfruit Marketplace.