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Sponsored Posts & A Modest Proposal From The "Problem Blogger"

Recently, many bloggers received news that SB Nation was venturing into "sponsored posts," whereby occasionally a new advertiser could be welcomed with a front page post -- clearly presented as an ad -- introducing, say, "Cindi's Delux Hair Conditioner," thanking them for sponsoring the blog and perhaps offering lucky readers 63% off on Cindi's new "Overtime Innings Package" of shampoo, conditioner, and gel. The bloggers (people like me) would get paid a little extra for running a "sponsored post," SB Nation would be happier, sponsors would be happier, and readers might be offered special deals along the way. Everybody wins!

Except that instead of saying yes, I said, "I'm not sure." When I accepted the position of "blogfather" I was clear with Blez, and with the community, that as long as I was in charge there would be no compromising of front page content, i.e., that I, not any "powers that be," would determine what was "in the best interest of the community" -- including the selection of writers, allowing writers to choose what they wanted to write, and also making decisions about content based on what I thought would make AN better.

I want to remain good to my word, and I can't say that I think the occasional sponsored post would "enhance the quality of front-page content" -- but at the same time I know that SB Nation needs revenue in order to provide free content, that the "sponsored posts" would be clearly distinguished from regular posts and would not interfere with the content of posts above or below it, and that sponsors would continue to have no impact on the site's writing in general. Having thought it through, today I present a "what if" to see what the community thinks...

What if I agreed to run the occasional "sponsored posts," and donated the extra money I am paid to the charity of the community's choice? I don't know how much each post would generate but I know it's more than $0.00 and that "more than $0.00" just happens to be the exact amount of money that many great charities so desperately need.

If the community likes this idea, maybe we have a win-win that includes a victory for some of the many charities that need our support. If not, I'm also ok with being the annoying outcast who's messing it up for everyone else but who feels good about the separation of "ads" and "content" on AN.

Your blog, your call.

{Note: I won't be back on AN until this evening, so if you post any direct questions or comments I won't see them until after din-dins.}