Weekly Roundup: The Problem With Ads

Here lately I have grown tired of the advertising here at Frugal Dad. I don’t mind the context ads so much because they generally match the content on each page. However, the CPM banner networks (banner ads) often have no relevance to the content here. Frankly, I’m tired of visiting my site and seeing ads for yellow teeth and flat bellies. You probably feel the same way.

When we were in debt, I felt like I couldn’t afford to be overly selective. Every single penny I earned through FD went towards debt. Now, I have the luxury of being a bit choosy. So last night I decided to take down those annoying banners and replace with more relevant products I’m familiar with. Eventually, I plan to develop a few products of my own to offer.

On that note, if you are in position to start a new CPM network with only advertisers related to personal finance, it could be very successful!

The Frugal Roundup

Become a Personal Finance Reality TV Star. Want to be financially famous? Apparently, Jeremy received an interesting letter regarding a reality show based on personal finances. Sounds interesting and supposedly he spoke with the casting directory too. (@Gen X Finance)

Blueprint For How To Make Money With a Blog. Looking to start a blog? Pete has been writing some great articles on how to get started. You should also tune in to the next installment as I will be sharing some insights to blogging. (@Bible Money Matters)

Frugal Dad Nominated for a Shorty Award! I’ve been nominated for a Shorty Award – think the Oscars for Twitter. Thanks to all those who have voted so far. You guys rock!

Best of the Rest

Hope everyone’s New Year is off to a great start. I don’t know about you, but I was glad to see 2009 in my rear view mirror. A new year offers new opportunities, and I’m looking forward to seizing them!


  1. I didn’t investigate carefully, so take this with a grain of salt, but some of the banner ads struck me as potential scams. I’m glad to hear you’re focusing on finance-related ads (Lending Club maybe? They got me as a customer thanks to this blog). Not only will you [hopefully] get more clicks, you can feel better about it, knowing you’re connecting readers with reputable protects to improve their lives.

    Also keep in mind many of us turn off banner ads due to their frequent abuse (sound, animations, etc), so text ads are a great way to go as well; Google’s empire is built on them.

    Best of luck as always. You convinced me to start funding a Roth IRA at 22, even on a very low income, which I’m sure I’ll be glad of in the future!

  2. I don’t accept advertising on my site today because it would detract from the learning experience without generating too much money for me (my numbers are not yet good enough for advertising to bring in a large amount of money). I do plan to accept advertising when the numbers improve. I feel that advertising makes sense only when the pros (money for the owner) are big enough to compensate for the cons (a diminished learning experience and the possibility of the owner being compromised re the information he presents).

    I think that the idea of selling your own products is a very appealing one. There’s no middle-man on those deals. And those are ads that your readers would enjoy and learn from. If they know that they like your take on personal finance, they are going to be attracted to the idea of learning more from you. And of course you can assure that your own materials meet ethical standards that might not be met by those seeking to place advertising at the site.

    I believe that an even better way for ethical personal finance blogs to make money might be to create pages that promote financial planners who focus on the needs of their clients rather than the Get Rich Quick stuff that generally dominates in this field. A blog with good enough numbers could create a recommendations page. The recommendations would be by merit — there would be no charge imposed for those listed. But those listed could be informed that they had been given this Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and invited to advertise the recommendation on other pages of the site if they cared to. If the owner was tough enough about who he would give a recommendation to (the write-up would supply specific reasons for it), these recommendations could come to mean something.

    The point here is that the Personal Finance Blogosphere represents something new. We don’t have to follow the old rules. Some of us will, no doubt. But the old rules have resulted in compromised advice throughout the personal finance field. We should all be looking for ways to help those who put the middle-class saver and investor first. And approaches that make money for all involved are the most sustainable approaches. There’s nothing wrong with making money so long as you are doing it in ways that help people rather than by putting forward the conventional blah-blah-blah that has caused so much financial pain for most of our readers.


  3. I hate seeing those ads, too, but I’ve found ways to avoid it. You can add filters/restrictions to AdSense to block out what you don’t want. I’m not sure if you can specify PF ads, but you can certainly block out fitness and whatever other categories cause those belly ads to pop up. It’s the same process I use to block competing ads from popping up when I have a sponsor. Here’s the how-to:


  4. I appreciate the thinking behind axing your ads. It’s nice to see someone put his money where his mouth is.

  5. @Gina: Most of my problems are related to another CPM network, not Adsense. I’m generally pleased with their ad quality and service, and I’ll investigate the filtering more to knock out a few spammy items.

    @Alex and @Rob: Feeling better about what I point readers to is the main impetus behind this move. Not that I haven’t cared before, but I have become more aware since cleaning up my own financial life.

  6. Thanks for the link to my blogging series, I appreciate it! And of course I hope people check out the last post in the series where you give your great advice to others who hope to build a successful blog.

    By the way, i get tired of those yellow teeth and weight loss ads too. *sigh.

  7. Thanks, FD! This is going to really be pleasant!
    To Alex, who posted a comment saying that “many of us turn off banner ads…” how can I do that, too??

  8. I think you made the right decision. I was coincidentally checking out another pf blog right before coming here and realizing that it had so many ads (most of the blog entries are pretty much ads too) that I probably won’t visit it anymore. I used to go to that particular pf blog all the time, dating back several years at least, but it has degraded to the point where it isn’t worth it anymore.

  9. Well done on the award nomination….

    I removed my CPM ads just a few days ago too, adsense had been doing well but for some odd reason the ctr just halved on them and earnings have been appaling last few days!!