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Based upon my observations and experiences, I would say that there are three basic types of bloggers:

  • The Professionals These folks claim to earn their daily bread solely via blogging and expend a lot of effort studying and writing about “SEO,” niches, marketing research, analytics and all sorts of other concepts I neither understand nor want to understand. The also write extensively about how to blog, attract and keep readers, etc.
  • The Dabblers In this group I include all those bloggers who do not claim to sustain themselves financially solely with their blogging efforts. Rather, they supplement their incomes with some advertising or paid content that is integrated into an otherwise personal site.
  • The Fun Seekers The vast majority of bloggers are, like me, folks who just want to have fun. Blogging is not a money-making proposition but, rather, just an enjoyable hobby, especially for people like me who do a lot of professional writing but want a platform where we can write creatively and dabble in other genres.

So could someone please explain the alarming proliferation of blurbs like “If you enjoyed this post, why don’t you buy me a cup of coffee?” or “How about buying [Blogger’s name] a Starbucks?” on strictly personal sites where no services are provided, no advice rendered and no goods sold? One couple asks readers to donate to their building fund — they are attempting to move from a trailer to a custom-built home.

I’m not referring to sites operated by “techies” who provide invaluable blogging tips, guidance, plugins or hacks in exchange for which a PayPal link is provided for the convenience of readers who found the information particularly helpful and wish to make a “donation.” Frankly, I don’t mind making a modest contribution when computer industry professionals or students provide me with free advice or software. After all, I don’t, for the most part, provide legal services free of charge. Fair is fair.

On the contrary, in the past week alone, I have visited at least ten purely personal sites where the owners have opted to extend the cyber equivalent of a Dickensonian tin beggar’s cup to their readers.

Some bloggers worry that transforming their blog into a semi-commercial venture might “cheapen” it and alienate some readers. If their fears are well-founded, what can be said about this new phenomenon?

I will be very curious to read your feedback.

For me, the answer is very simple and straightforward. When I discovered the new campaign launched by the bloggers in question, I was repulsed and, after clicking upon the verbiage or graphic in question to confirm that it was indeed a link to PayPal, closed the browser window. I will neither visit nor link to those sites in the future.


For one thing, I know nothing of those blogger’s personal circumstances, i.e., whether or not they need financial assistance. Secondly, they have not provided me with any goods or services. Therefore, they have not earned my business. In contrast, I worked my way through undergraduate and law school, and work hard to support myself and my family. I give regularly to deserving, reputable charities. The blogs I am referring to do not meet the criteria.

Most importantly, the bloggers in question have done exactly what some fear: They have cheapened themselves in my eyes. I cannot imagine just walking up to a stranger in the street, holding out my hand and asking for money. But that is what is taking place on those sites. It is offensive conduct and I will neither condone nor be part of it.

So to the bloggers in question, here is my response to your plea: “Buy your own coffee.”


  1. Pingback: Electric Venom » Blog Archive » Nine Nibbles

  2. I wouldn’t ask… often I can’t get comments – I can’t imagine anyone would actually pay to read my blog. As for “pay for posting” I don’t get enough traffic to consider it. But even then – it would be a no-go. *grin*

  3. I have been blogging for 2-1/2 years and remember seeing these “tip jars” as far back as that. I will say that none of them lasted very long on my blogroll. I think it is tacky as well.

  4. Tip jars are as old as the internet. If someone gets value from something someone writes, so be it. I’ve removed my plugin, though. Not only do I start paid work in 2 weeks’ time–the first steady income in my household for 11 months–there was something at gut level that didn’t sit right. I think getting this bent out of shape about it is a waste of energy, though. And my site isn’t purely personal, either.

  5. Interesting.

    I was initially hugely turned off by “pay-per-post,” and I still haven’t completely come to terms with it. That’s what’s nice about BlogHer…a little something regardless of what you write.

    However, there are some bloggers out there who do not offer anything to me except insight into their personal life, which also happens to be very entertaining. Will I hand them money? No. Am I fully supportive of advertising on their blogs? Absolutely. Why not, when I would probably pay for a paperback that offers similar entertainment?

  6. You always have a certain element that thinks if they can make a quick buck out of it for doing nothing or very little, they’ll give it a go. I’m like you, I blog mostly for fun because I like meeting new people and exchanging ideas.

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