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To request/accept donations or not, that is one of the questions that I have been pondering lately. Some of the observant, and long-time readers of our blog may have noticed the reappearance of the Paypal Donation Widget in the right-hand sidebar. Things like this are commonplace on blogs of this genre and although we had one for a time, I removed it because I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The other day one of our buddies berated me for not having it available because he wanted to send us a contribution/gift. I am curious as to how the people who read this blog feel about it. Obviously contributing is optional. There are some who feel that we are in no place to be “beggars” while others feel that the writing that we do is worth something (to them) and thus wish to kick in a bit to help keep the dream alive. Your thoughts?

On a similar note are the ads that are located here and there on this site. It’s unfortunate that the ads don’t seem to be interesting enough for people to click on them each time they visit. If they were, the income they would produce might add up to something significant instead of just coffee money!

My current opinion on the matter, which is like most things subject to change, is that since we’ve already been branded shameless by at least one reader, how much worse could we be by doing this? 🙂

We’re heading offshore today, destination Key Biscayne, so those who are so inclined will have plenty of time to post their thoughts. 🙂

36 Comments

  1. Are you up late or leaving early?
    It is just after midnite on the right coast and you are posting today’s blog!?! It is just after 10 in Arizona and the weather is in the 70’s here.
    We don’t have an opinion about begging but if people want to send you money who’s to say no.
    Have a safe crossing.

  2. I think that it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks…. do what is right for you. Having said that, your writing is always very good and I think (again, not that it matters what I think), whether through donations or submitting it to magazines, you can make some money at it.

  3. May as well put it up, although I don’t think it will generate much in the way of contributions. I put one on mine and even when I was at my most dire need I didn’t get anything. Personally, my feelings on the matter are this; I would pay for a book or a magazine to have a few hours of good reading so why wouldn’t I be willing to pay for lots of good reading on a blog? Makes sense to me. But, like I said, it doesn’t seem to make sense to anyone else.

  4. Hi Mike and Rebecca, as Avid readers but also trying to save all the $$ for our trip. I feel that the info you have shown does deserve something !! How much we do not know, as like your selfs we are trying to save every $$ so we are able to follow in the footsteps of people like your selfs. There are a few other “blogs ” that give out more info like every $$$ they spend & ask for a donation for an “ice cream” Our problem is, as we are in NZ for any donations we make we have a minimum charge in to US $ OF $20 so it will cost more for us to send / transfer than may be we could donate . Saying that if we were in USA with your currency then I would probably donate something. Or meet up & help out in some way. I.e. if we had a night aboard having a meal & sleeping then what is wrong with a “$25 donation” towards the food & fuel / laundry. & this is one idea that we have come up with when we start our trip. May be that is some thing you could contemplate ? & “that info is free haha” I am also a little worried of the pay-pal as i have been informed of a scam going around where due to your visa info given to pay pall this info is being used to “take money from your visa & not give money to you. so i am very Un easy on / with that site
    When we met up with other yachties we have donated $$ & filled the food pantry up :-)) so it depends on what works for you both & how you feel as it does cost to send emails but on the flip side look at how much help & friends you are gaining on the trip 🙂 Again Thanks for all the info & reading you supply

  5. Hope my other comment got to you, but on a small note i have started to just “click” on all the adds that are on your side bar , i have not purchase any thing but if it gives you a donation a will click them every day :-)))))

    • This is a dangerou thing to do. Advertisers will stop paying for ads if they believe they are being used to extricate extra money beyond there appearance, which harmful to the writer and other writers.

      It does suck that the ads aren’t connected to anything relevant, but clicking on them when not interested essentially won’t pay anything extra. Most ad programs like this track IP address and stop paying for multiple clicks.

      • Thanks for that info JP & as you said they are not very interesting adds any way. I would probably start a series of small books like a “jack & jill” & it could come out in print every few months ?? All ideas are good if just one makes a few bucks

  6. Hi Mike,

    I think you are right to enable opportunities for people to donate. Or, another way to look at it, to pay for the content you write and they (we) enjoy. You’re never going to make much cash out of other cruisers (though you get friends/help/drinks etc, as you’ve already shown) but there are lots of dreamers and fans following you too! There’s loads of stuff online about doing this (in the jargon, monetizing the blog) and lots of people doing it. Your ads are very low key and so is the donate bar. Just no pop-ups!

    It’s not begging any more than buying a book or subscribing to a paid newspaper is begging.

    So go to it and have a fab passage today.

    Sarah

  7. I tried ads on my blog and discovered that I wasn’t even generating coffee money with them, so down they came.

    As far as donations go, I leave that off my site as well; my perception is that my sailing blog and my effort to get on a boat is a matter of my own personal choice and a labor of love – not one that I should be asking others to assist in funding. I don’t want to feel beholden to anyone about the content, the tone, where I go or what I do – and I know I’d feel that way if I accepted money from others.

    If I was truly trying to make money at blogging, I’d sell my soul and go whole hog into ads and donations – but I’d also try to generate serious content that people would find worth all the annoyances. And the vast majority of blogs that I visit just don’t have that level of content or commitment.

  8. I don’t consider it begging. You bring a fair amount of joy each day to people that would love to be out on the water. Even days on the water that aren’t perfect you turn those post into something positive. I have no problem donating to “Dream Sharing”, you’re worth it!

  9. I agree with evweryone else put it up. Your Blog is the SECOND Thing i look at every morning in the office.

  10. I am going to sit and read all of these answers later when I have time. I have always wondered the same thing. I feel weird about it and in the end I was too uncomfortable to go there. But that is me and my own personality. I would ask the Bums how they made out with theirs in the past, they may have some insights? Anyhow, keep me posted!

  11. You may want to consider compiling your journal/blog into a book.
    We met a young Canadian family in Ensenada Mexico last December and cruised with them for two weeks in the Sea Of Cortez in May.
    There blog is still up:
    http://www.sailblogs.com/member/ramer/
    They too were excellent writers and Lisa often wrote about her fears of sailing. I hope that they write a book also.

  12. As a fellow blog owner who also has a donation button, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Your button is on the side, and there for whoever chooses to use it (or not). I haven’t received many donations, but one was substantial enough to make it worthwhile and I’m sure I would have never received it without the button (even though I know the person and they live nearby). It provides a way for not only strangers, but friends and family members to give in a more discreet way.

    I have had one e-mail in the past 9 months that said I should “have some pride” and not be asking him for a donation. I nicely replied that I was not asking him directly for a donation, and although I was sorry if I had offended him I was not planning on removing the button any time soon.

    I’m also not sure if readers realize how much time goes into each blog! I was surprised at how much time it takes once I started my own site. We all need to make a little money and I feel like we’re contributing to readers, not just sitting back contributing nothing while holding our hand out. We’ve learned so much from your site as well as others, and hope people will also learn from ours. If it’s not worth anything to them, that’s perfectly fine. Thinking we nudged just one person into pursuing their dream makes it all worthwhile!

    I would think the only people offended are those that may be a little jealous? Hmmm.

  13. I’ve made our comment but I’m wondering what the “lady of wisdom” (Helen) has to say!

  14. Hmmmmmmmmm, All I can say is that as an avid knitter, I daily follow the canadian blog of The Yarnharlot. Her blog is entertaining even for non-knitters. She is a published author and I own 3 of her books and am awaiting her new release. She also posts photos of her creations and Posts the patterns to Ravelry for sale. I also purchase her patterns when I like the challenge. If I didn’t already support her in this regard, I’d donate to her if she had a button. She is not a wealthy person, not all published people are. I’ve even thought of sending her exotic yarn as I come across it, and that could be akin to treating you and Rebecca to a meal or a night in a marina. Donations/gifts come in many forms.

    As a side bar, you are the second blog I read most followed by k-doodles@blogspot, that is my daughter who is a graphic designer and textile artist. I expect you will get pros and cons on this topic. I think the commenters/posters who choose to be mean do it because its easy to be mean when you can’t show your face so I wouldn’t waste an ounce of energy or time on the outright mean comments. So bottom line is, do what your comfort zone allows. Good luck, it will be an interesting read if nothing else.

    Stay safe.

  15. Having a contribution widget on your blog is not begging. Having web ads on your blog is not begging. 🙂 I say keep both up. As long as your content is valuable, and the ads unobtrusive, no worries.

    Additionally, your blog gives quite a bit in factual value (lessons learned, etc) so keep this up, and you will keep receiving donations.

    Doesn’t hurt to ask readers to click on some ad links once in a while either.

    Big fan of your blog, your readership has only begun to build. It will come!

  16. Additionally, Its NOT begging, its OPTIONAL. I’m pretty sure you don’t have a gun to anyone’s head.

  17. I also have no problem with the donation button on the side of your blog. Like so many readers have already stated, it is there only for those of us who chose to use it. It’s like passing a retail store or restaurant; it’s your choice if you would like to go in and spend your money. If one feels they are getting something of value (i.e. important sailing info. etc.) for their money then they should be able to make a monetary donation. My life has been enriched by reading your blog each day so why not….

  18. Your donation icon is tastefully done, and you don’t beat people over the head with it, so it doesn’t bother me. I’m of the opinion that if you spend the time and energy to share your lives and valuable information, as an independent writer/artist, you have every right to give people the opportunity to help you out. And like other commenters have said, it’s completely optional.

    You guys are an inspiration!

  19. As an animal lover I’ve donated money to help defray the costs of vet care for foster pets and wouldn’t have been able to do it without the donate button. Everyone has something that interests them and if someone out there enjoys your blog and wants to donate, what’s the harm in that? And if people don’t like what what we do with our own blogs, then by all means they shouldn’t read them.

  20. I say do it. You write enjoyable and engaging stuff. If people want to donate, having the option is not harmful to anyone.

    The button isn’t detracting from anything on the page and neither are the ads. I’ve seen some forums gripe about sailors asking for donations, but who cares. If they don’t want to give or ask themselves they don’t have to. There’s no harm in asking as long as you’re not being a bother to anyone. The button is not the same as begging. Begging is when a guy accosts you while walking down the road asking for money.

    Donate button is non-confrontational. Hopefully, your ads will become more relevant as your ad programs starts to understand your content better and know to place sailing ads up (if there are any).

    Maybe one day you’ll like out and even get a sponsored ad directly from a company. I know I enjoy your writing well enough to consider your sponsors products.

  21. I think you should do what feels right to you and Rebecca. If some don’t want to donate, they need not. I suspect that at least some of those who prefess to be “offended” by the presence of a button are feeling a bit guilty about NOT helping out! No one is obliged to donate, and the button is handy for those who wish to do so. There is no way other than publishing a hard copy of this blog to recieve remuneration for your writing. There is much of value here. Any writer who is any good ( and many who are not!) makes money from their work. Anyone who thinks writing isn’t work hasn’t done it! Follow your own gut instinct. You are persons of principle, and, as such, entitled to make your own decisions about your actions. I very much enjoy your writing, and would donate if I could. Take care, enjoy, and please keep sharing with us! Have a wonderful trip across!

  22. Not to flog a dead horse, but I agree – have it on the site as an option. I pay $9.99 for a few hours of reading material on my Kindle, so why shouldn’t I donate on occasion to pay for the tremendous insight I’ve gained toward our eventual departure from land? Also, on the ads, you might want to consider looking at Amazon. You can tailor the relevancy of the content a little better there. You might want to contact Rich at CruiseROWater (www.cruiseROWater.com) as well and see if he will pay you for any referrals resulting in a sale from his ad on your site – I designed the ad and have it on my blog and can pass it along to you if he ok’s it.

    btw, your blog is on the top of the list in my Google reader as well. Since you are pretty new to the cruising thing and are on a catamaran as we hope to be, we pay close attention since we hope to be there soon and hope to benefit from your learning experiences.

    Thanks for your diligent posting,

    Deb
    S/V Nomad
    http://www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

  23. Being a fellow blogger I have thought about this a lot. Seeing the donate button on blogs doesn’t bother me, but I’m not sure I’ll put one on my blog. I agree with Mitch that by accepting donations I would feel somehow obligated to provide content worthy of the donation. Your blog is definitely worthy, both in terms of content and entertainment, so if people want to donate I say give them the option. If it appears there is some expectation that people should pay to read a blog that is a different matter. I might add a donate button once we set out, but mostly so family and friends can send a few bucks if they want to (for birthdays, Christmas, etc). And I think the ads are fine.

  24. I just started reading your blog a few days ago, and trying to read it all. There appears to be a lot of good learning information for us dreamers! I am about 5 years away from cutting the lines. I don’t think the donate button is bad at all. Leave it.

    Also, regarding your ads, I am not sure how you have Google ads configured, but it appears they are not pulling relevant content. If you have more relevant content (i.e. sailing/boating, etc.) you may get more clicks. Take a look at how you have them configured. Also, you might try adding text links to the body of your post. Believe me people are used to seeing ads. Look at all the other “commercial” sites (CNN, MSNBC, et al) , and the ads are IN YOUR FACE!

    You won’t get rich on Google Adsense, but it may buy a few things you need. I remember reading a sailing blog awhile back, and they included everything in their budget for what it cost to sail. They had their blog listed as income, and I think they were making $200-$300 per month from it.

    Your time and effort to keep this updated is worth something! It is educational for many of us. BRAVO!

  25. Wow, everybody weighed-in!

    I ditched the ads because I didn’t like the look and the money was trivial. But I don’t mind sites that have them.

    As for a donation button, you have what amounts to a free newspaper on-line. Some will buy it, some won’t. I put some content on my blog for free, and I also sell some magazine articles and sell a guide. Seems similar to me.

    Good writing is hard work. If I add up the revinue I derive from my guide and divide by the by the labor, it’s pennys per hour at best and a labor of love at worst. It really is. On the other hand, some of the technical articles I have written for sailing magazines play to my chemical engineering background and I knock them out quickly at a fair wage… unless they require much lab work, and then we’re looking at intern rates! But I still love it.

  26. Sent $10 your way, I know it’s not much, but I’m saving up for a boat like you!

  27. Hi Again Mike Rebecca & all who follow their journey, May be all the help & friends you are collecting on the way is more than enough for you to carry on, I am sure/know that you have sorted your “budget” out before you started. & we will be doing the same , & if there are any TV news readers or Directors etc are reading this may be you should get Opera or one of those chat shows & camera crew on board to show people what you are doing & how your trip is progressing & that way they would ‘donate” pay you a few Bucks for the story ? as it all helps if something Un for seen happens “hope not mind you”
    All those new picks are realy good so thanks again for it all.

  28. Wow everyone!!! Thanks for the huge number of responses to my query.

    To start, I am honored that so many people follow along and especially those who say this is the first or second thing that they look at in the day. That’s a lot of pressure;)

    The answers that I received are much as I expected. What I didn’t expect is that 3 people would right away send in donations. Although I sent each of you a thank-you email, I’ll say it again: Thanks Thomas, David and Deborah!

    Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this blog up to the standards that you have all come to expect. At least we should be able to contribute some more tropical photos to it in the very near future.

    Mike and Rebecca

  29. Keep the donate button and the ads…..it’s not begging, it’s called capitalism. If people like what you provide, some of those who can will contribute. Keep up the good work, enjoy!

  30. I think the donate button and ads are a great idea. I love your blog and find your writing both informative and entertaining. When my daughter was looking to purchase a TRX (an idea that I supported after reading your posts about it), I ensured that we made the followed the link from your blog.

  31. I look at it this way; it hurts no one by having a donation widget on the site. I’ve not come across you groveling for people to use it and some people may be inspired by your story and feel moved to help you continue your journey so I’m all for it. I learned long ago you can please some of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time, so don’t bother trying.

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