I maintain a blog on WordPress for my employer (no, there’s no way I’m going to tell you any more than that, except that even if you found it you wouldn’t see any more of my writing; I solicit and edit posts from outside contributors), and I got an e-mail yesterday from one of our contributors. He praised what we’d done with his post, but concluded by suggesting that we lose the Google ads, since they detracted from the blog.
I was gobsmacked. We didn’t run ads of any kind, having decided at the very beginning that they would detract from the blog. I soon discovered, as explained here, that WordPress places Google AdSense on WordPress.com blogs but hides them from readers who are logged on to WordPress—which naturally is going to include the blog proprietor at least 99% of the time. So neither here nor at my employer’s blog did I realize that such ads exist—as I verified by logging out and checking a random post. It was rather like being in a horror movie and discovering that an alien leech had attached itself under my clothes. (That happened to me once with a tick. Ew.) Now, I’m not accusing WordPress of doing anything underhanded here. Not exactly. I’m sure it’s somewhere in the Terms of Service. But it’s so wrong. This blog is an ad for me. And of course for Shakespeare. Ads for anything else (especially if I didn’t solicit them and am not getting any money for them—which I’m not allowed to do, under WordPress’s Terms of Service) get in the way of the message. And so I’ve sprung for the No-Ads upgrade. We’ll see how it works.
Meanwhile, there should be a new post on Romeo and Juliet tomorrow; I’d say today, but Neil Gaiman’s episode of Doctor Who is airing right now, and I expect the Internet will be broken for the rest of the day . . .