Ads? On this Site? What? Why?

A laptop on a desk beside a cup of black coffee and a notebook
Posted: 7/1/2019 | July 1st, 2019

For eleven years, I vowed never to put an ad up on this website. None. Zero. Zilch.

I hate ads. They are ugly. They are intrusive, sometimes popping up right when you load a page. (And don’t get me started on pre-roll videos!)

So it might seem odd that today, after eleven years being ad-free, I’m announcing we’ve put ads up on this website.

Since I’ve been so vocal about how much I dislike ads, I want to explain to the community why we’re doing this:

The world changes. People change. People’s buying habits change.

And, to be a successful business, you must change too.

Over the years, we put a lot of our eggs into the ebook/digital guide basket.

That worked for a long time.

But the cold hard truth people don’t really buy ebooks these days. They want Kindle books or physical guidebooks.

That’s what the world wants.

Plus, with so much free information online, most people just don’t feel the need to buy ebooks anymore. They can often google what they need. If it’s not in a Kindle or paper form, it’s not a “real” guidebook. (We’ve looked into making paper guides but, frankly, the print on demand paper quality isn’t there. It’s just not at the quality that we can be proud of. And, to print in color, the costs are just too high right now.)

So our ebook sales have flatlined. They’re no longer an engine of growth that can fuel new projects.

And we have a great project in the works that needs fuel.

Remember The Nomadic Network? The global meet-up thing we tested out a few years back. We were going to build local chapters, host educational and social mixers, and get people excited about travel.

Well, this fall, we are bringing it back to life.

But we need money to make that happen.

One thing we learned last time we trialed this was that we need a dedicated person whose job is just to run the events and coordinate with all our local chapters.

The revenue from our book sales isn’t going to cover that.

The team and I searched far and wide for an alternative — but the truth is that ads are the only thing that can give us the substantial and sustained revenue we need to relaunch the Nomadic Network as well as maintain and grow this website. (We would like to pay more guest writers and hire another research assistant.)

So that’s why we now have ads.

It’s not simply so we can have more money (or Chris can finally upgrade from sleeping in dorms).

It’s so we can relaunch this community initiative (one we are really, really excited about but have put aside for way too long) and invest in the website.

I know it’s a big change and we tried to make the ads as non-intrusive as possible.

But know that this decision didn’t come easy. I still have mix feelings about it but the world changes and sometimes you just have to change with it.

Feel free to leave comments below (but know we’re not going to reverse this decision).


Nomadic Matt and team

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