Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Yesterday, after a few requests, I checked into the possibility of a podcast. Here's what I found out: we already have one! It had just started, and I just didn't realize it. You can find it in Itunes by typing "Highland Church of Christ" in the search area. Not many sermons yet, but we'll add more. I'll try to make sure Randy's series is on there. Last night was amazing as he spoke about the need for deep humility as we come before the mysterious God. Now, on this I'd like your feedback . . . What do you think of the possibility of allowing ads on this site, with the money going straight into mission work? (I'd likely create some account at Highland so the money never came into my hands.) Someone just back from the Mac conference came across this idea. We counted two days this week and there was an average of 2745 "hits" each day -- apparently enough to draw the interest of potential advertisers. And no, it wouldn't be annoying pop-ups. Just a couple ads along the side. But I'm excited about the possibility of having money go straight into the work of Christ in this world. Seriously, I'd like feedback. Maybe this doesn't fit the nature of blogging.

62 Comments:

  • My son has started a paper route, which means the whole family has started one.....anyway just wanted to be the first one to comment today.

    If you can get someone to pay to try to entice your Blogger community to buy things and the proceeds will go 100% to a Mission effort (would seem Colonial Apartments would be a good place to start from what I read), the absolutely go for it!

    By Blogger Paul W, at 2/02/2006 04:18:00 AM  

  • Homer - If you get a chance today, would you drop a note here about how this might work? Don't you have some other examples? Thanks.

    Also, please note the comment left yesterday by Karen Spears Zacharias, author of HERO MAMA, which I reviewed in December.

    By Blogger Mike, at 2/02/2006 04:20:00 AM  

  • Great idea! You see the ads everywhere, it would be nice to know that the ads on your blog would be making a difference in someone's life.

    By Blogger Tammy M., at 2/02/2006 04:37:00 AM  

  • Great idea Mike. I don't see any reason why someone who wants our attention because we read your blog shouldn't be blessed by their giving toward the work of the Kingdom. Just wait until they find out they fed the hungry and clothed the naked!! I'm sure it will bless their socks off!

    By Blogger Candy, at 2/02/2006 05:10:00 AM  

  • Though advertisers seem to be creeping into every crevice of society, and few places are sacred anymore, and I get tired of looking at them, and most ads are for things I will never use, if God's kingdom can be expanded by having ads, then I can put up with it.

    By Blogger Brad, at 2/02/2006 05:10:00 AM  

  • We get so much of that everywhere else that it's refreshing not to see it here. Probably a poor example, but it seems like going from amateur to pro, it's just not the same. I really do enjoy your blog, it has taken me on many adventures. But my vote would be no. Last night at church, along with several other solicitations (school fundraisers, candy bars, etc) a couple shared with me the wonders of a new nutritional something and how to make money as a part of the network. Of course I am always glad to help the kids, but I wish some folks wouldn't see the church as a part of their marketing strategy. I know that is not the intention here, and money would go to missions, so maybe its different. There's just a hesitation that says advertising would change the character of this otherwise clutter free,spiritually focused daily refuge for me.

    By Blogger Rcutsinger, at 2/02/2006 05:15:00 AM  

  • I think the ad idea is great as long as you can make sure the content of the ads is appropriate. I've seen some pretty tasteless ads in recent days...

    Another idea like this one is something that Amazon does. I'm not quite sure how it works, but I think you can get a small percentage of sales of books and other items that you link from your site. It might also work with iTunes. Ask Bill Rankin about this. I don't think it's much money, but with as many books as you talk about on your blog, it might be worth it!

    Any chance your thoughts on Calvinism will make it to the podcasts? I'm super interested in what you had to say!

    By Blogger jocelyn, at 2/02/2006 05:18:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the comments and the podcast link. Signing up with Amazon so that people could buy (and read) the books you recommend would be useful. Those "profits" could go to missions, poor, etc.

    As a "missionary", I'd rather people prayfully give. Much better than receiving a percentage of sales of stuff advertised on your blog, stuff that you can't control the content of. Though the money is going to a great cause, I'd pass on this one.

    Now, funeral home adverts on hand-held fans might be a good idea…

    By Blogger Brady, at 2/02/2006 05:19:00 AM  

  • Lots of bloggers with a big following have ads. I personally don't care for them, they make the blogs look messy to me - especially if they're flashing at me while I'm trying to read. But, I won't stop reading just because of a couple of ads, especially if they're to help others.

    Another possiblity would be a PayPal account and a "donate here" for our outreach work or something like that. That probably would work well at first then not bring in as much as the ads would, though, once people got used to it.

    I do the Amazon Associates program (that jocelyn mention) on my book blog. You can decide what type of link you want and it is easy to sign up and easy to make the links. If someone clicks on a book you mention (or movie or audiobook or ?) and buys it then you get a small percentage of the sale price.

    I'm thrilled about the podcast. Clicking on iTunes now....

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 2/02/2006 05:26:00 AM  

  • I hardly think any form of advertising on Mike's blog would be anywhere near the annoyance of having people at church try to recruit you for a vitamin program.

    I am not opposed to donating, and certainly not opposed to any Mike endorses here.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 2/02/2006 05:34:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 2/02/2006 05:42:00 AM  

  • My first reaction was a vote in the no category. I too find this blog an oasis from consumerism-creep - even if the purchasing were spiritual-related. You just don't want to feel like you have to constantly be on the look-out for what to purchase next.

    However, on second thought, if it is done in good taste and the proceeds do indeed go to further the Kingdom, I can overcome the annoyance factor.

    By Blogger KentF, at 2/02/2006 05:44:00 AM  

  • When I view a blog that has advertising, it doesn't feel as "organic." It feels like the community has been compromised.

    However, I do think that taking advantage of your hits to raise money for missions is a great idea. Have you thought about selling "El Cope Guacamole Salsa?" Paul Newman, the actor, has done quite well with food sales.

    T-shirts is also something you may want to think about -- “Cope with Hope, Bloggers Can Take a Hit” or "Hope with Cope” or "Cope for Pope." I imagine someone in the blog community can think of something cleverer. The Cope blog community could wear a T-shirt each time we visit Highland, or would that get us kicked out?

    A book, "The Best of Mike Cope’s Blog" may sell well. I always enjoyed reading the bound copies of the Harding paper at the end of the year. I also think if you and Edward Fudge co-authored a book, it would sell well. I can imagine some of the titles for the reviews.

    There is also the idea of putting props in your blog like they are doing in the movies. When you mention Zoë, you could have a picture of a box of Life cereal. When you mention Randy Harris, maybe you could advertise his new clothing line. The ideas are limitless!

    By Blogger David Michael, at 2/02/2006 05:46:00 AM  

  • Dear Friends -

    Keep them coming. I asked because I have a little of the same feeling some of you are asking. I love the idea of that money going to a good cause, but I, too, weary of the ads that are everywhere.

    Thanks!

    Mike

    By Blogger Mike, at 2/02/2006 05:56:00 AM  

  • Bring on the ads! I never thought I would say that, but, really, how big a cross is this for any of us to carry.

    And thanks for the podcast news. I'm looking forward to Randy's series.
    Kathy

    By Blogger Vkls, at 2/02/2006 06:02:00 AM  

  • If people are interested in another podcast, Adam Ellis and I have started one called Post Restoration Radio. We're also available through iTunes and hope you'll check it out.

    We'd even be partial to talking with a certain preacher in Texas. Mike, can you hook us up with Max Lucado? ;-)

    By Blogger Phil, at 2/02/2006 06:04:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Reallivepreacher.com has created a paypal link where people can donate to his web ministry which is much broader than just a blog. (Click on Support RLP in left side margin) You might go to his site and email him and ask his opinion. He is very responsive to his audience. He is a Baptist Pastor in San Antonio, Texas. His experience might help you in this area. I think he has choosen not to use ads. Personally, I would much rather donate to a specific cause using PayPal than be exposed to ads. However, all of us in the web community have become accustomed to ads being a part of almost every site.

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 2/02/2006 06:09:00 AM  

  • While I'm OK with the intent of funneling more funds into mission work, I too would be very concerned about the ad content. Unless you have some control over the kinds of ads that would be allowed, they could compromise the message that you're sending and possibly dilute the message.

    By Blogger Jim, at 2/02/2006 06:10:00 AM  

  • Thanks alot Mike. Up til now, I've never even noticed the ads on any of the blogs I read. Now it's all I can see and I have to confess I'm not wild about it. They are much less personal and more commercial. The materialism aspect is overwhelming and well...ugh. I recant my earlier comment.

    By Blogger Candy, at 2/02/2006 06:14:00 AM  

  • No matter how well intentioned the consumer-driven model may start out to be, it's a dangerous animal to tangle with, because you'd have to constantly mentally reevaluate what this blog is about - an outlet for spiritual processing, or a product that is trying to drive as much traffic as possible? As a reader, I want a blog to reflect what is real about a person, whether it is popular or not - I don't want that to be influenced by whether or not it will help keep the traffic coming so that advertisers will keep paying for ads.

    I DO, however, support a PayPal donate link and/or an Amazon affiliate program.

    ***This comment brought to you by cold, refreshing Pepsi***

    By Blogger Cary, at 2/02/2006 06:17:00 AM  

  • From the Highland Website the URL for the Podcast (that you would enter in iTunes or Juice )is http://www.highlandchurch.org/resources/streams.php?feed=pod

    By Blogger Will, at 2/02/2006 06:24:00 AM  

  • Would Indians put ads on cows???

    I say NO! I know this isn't God's blog, but it's still sacred!!!

    (Actually, I don't really care if there are ads, as long as they don't interfere with the content of your blog.)

    By Blogger Beaner, at 2/02/2006 06:25:00 AM  

  • A round of applause for Will, please. He's the guy that got the podcast going.

    (This comment brought by Diet Dr. Pepper, Zoe ministries, and the California Avocado Growers Organization.)

    By Blogger Mike, at 2/02/2006 06:33:00 AM  

  • Way to go Will. Can you get Randy's talk up from last night . . . you don't have anything else to do, do you????

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 2/02/2006 06:47:00 AM  

  • My gut reaction to the ad question is no. I have never clicked on an ad on a blog and for one thing, don't like how they look. For another, I'd rather just give money straight for missions rather than have to go through an advertisement and purchase something that I don't really need.

    By Blogger Jenni, at 2/02/2006 06:47:00 AM  

  • I understand that while everything we do is part of our worship and therefore members of Christ are part of the church. However like a Christian College, this blog is not the church and therefore as your personal space you are free to do with it as you will.

    So advertise away. If you make money, consider it part of your income, just as you would, if you wrote a book or spoke at a conference. Preaching, teaching and writing are what you do. It is your talent and livelihood. If you want, and I’m sure you do, give a large portion of your income to help the local church and mission works that you choose to support.

    However – (there is always a however)
    Think twice about selling advertising for the advertised purpose of funding mission works. There is wisdom in avoiding commercial activities to directly fund the work of the church. I’m not willing to lay out rules, but there are Christian principles. For instance it might be unseemly for the local church of Christ to own a Burger King franchise and build a drive-up window off the auditorium. I find it offensive when churches engage in open commercialism, using their unique status to compete with private enterprise. I don’t have a position on car washes for projects, but I still flinch.

    If Ananias and Sapphira had given an amount to the work quietly without claiming non-profit status they wouldn’t have been worm food so soon. So my advice is to advertise if you want. Then do with the money whatever you will.

    By Blogger kcmotormouth, at 2/02/2006 06:51:00 AM  

  • While we are on the subject, what one church is doing with podcasts, Granger Community Church.

    http://simplystrategicshow.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 2/02/2006 06:52:00 AM  

  • "This blog is for you."

    By Blogger cwinwc, at 2/02/2006 06:54:00 AM  

  • We interrupt this blog, for a brief personal message,

    Cecil,

    Are you blogging or teaching?

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 2/02/2006 06:59:00 AM  

  • We interrupt this blog, for a brief personal message,

    Cecil,

    Are you blogging or teaching?

    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 2/02/2006 07:00:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Your heart is in the right place, but please, no ads. One of this country's (and the church's) biggest problem is consumerism. Consumerism is fueled by advertising. Consumerism is why people cannot "give back" to God's work. Sorry for being direct - I feel very strongly on this subject.

    Brett

    By Blogger Brett and Jenny Perkins, at 2/02/2006 07:00:00 AM  

  • My initial reaction is to tell you that I would probably give quicker to your request than to the request of an ad. But, I also trust your judgement and will continue to read this blog regardless of what you decide to do. I won't be coming here for the ads.

    DU

    By Blogger David U, at 2/02/2006 07:02:00 AM  

  • I like the idea of a an Amazon support link or a PayPal donation page. I do see the potential problem of selling out to the consumer world, but not sure which way I vote.

    My question about advertising on the blog is whether or not it's legal... Check with blogger, but if they are hosting your site, they might not want people making money through ads without them getting any portion of it.

    By Blogger Daniel Gray, at 2/02/2006 07:09:00 AM  

  • If I remember correctly you only get money if someone clicks on the ad. If that's correct I wouldn't waste the space since I almost never click on ad's.

    Plus what would the Gospel Advocate, Contending for the Faith, and the Spiritual Sword say? :')

    By Blogger Jeremy Houck <>, at 2/02/2006 07:13:00 AM  

  • Mike:

    I appreciate how you tossed this idea out to the community of faith before jumping on the idea. In my experience, the Spirit often speaks to me when I prayerfully ponder a new idea and then solicit feedback from wise counselors. And then keep waiting and praying to see where God seems to be leading me. While my initial reaction is "No, let people give to missions from their tithes and offerings," I'd suggest you keep listening to God and discern whether it seems "good to the Holy Spirit and to us." (Acts 15:28)

    Jim

    By Blogger Jim Clark, at 2/02/2006 07:24:00 AM  

  • Mike, I have two ideas for you.

    IDEA #1 Do the ads

    I have annoying and bothersome ads on my blog. However, they end up being mostly invisible to the regular blog visitor.

    1. Affiliates are decent and you have total control over content - like Amazon.

    2. Pay per click (Adbrite and Bidvertizer) give you some control, but they only require a click, not a purchase for income to roll in.

    3. Adsense by Google has a strange and mysterious formule for ad payments. They calculate a cost per 1000 page impressions combined with a kind of per click ratio. It's really a mystery, but the short of it iis that you can earn money for missions just because people visit your site whether they click on an ad or not.

    Now, you have limited control of the adsense ads, but their "family filter" is pretty good. Also, Google crawls your site to make relevant ads appear.

    The funniest ad I ever had on my blog was for "Cute Christian Singles," "Holy Ghost preaching sermons."

    IDEA #2: Start a new blog that is the Mike Cope Book Club or something like that. Place an Amazon ad for the current and next book (Minimum 5% per purchase and as much as 8% or 9%, I think) and then also place ads on it. Then you can maintain the purity of your current blog and launch the new book club blog with teh intention and purpose of raising money for missions. So, people who like to read your current blog won't feel "betrayed" and will know that they are getting into with the book club blog.

    I will be the first to join the book club.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 2/02/2006 07:29:00 AM  

  • No ads, please! Please! Don't prostitute this great blog. Ads will change the tone of this blog. Rather, if necessary, occasionally ask readers to donate money for special mission projects, etc. (I have not read any other responses to this idea because I don't want to be swayed.)

    By Blogger MarkS, at 2/02/2006 07:34:00 AM  

  • No matter what you decide, I'm not buying any Viagra. You can't make me.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 2/02/2006 07:39:00 AM  

  • Steve, leave Cecil alone. I'm sure he's blogging during lunch. Like me. At 7:42 AM.

    Ahem.

    I'm strangely apathetic towards the ad idea. But excited about the podcasts.

    By Blogger Thurman8er, at 2/02/2006 07:41:00 AM  

  • Mike, I agree wholeheartedly with Jim Clark's POV and prayerful response.

    Aside from that, the ad situation holds potential for complications maybe not apparent at first glance. If your ads are to raise monies for missions, since your blog is really international, which missions would be sponsored? Would those blog visitors from Ireland be pleased that all monies go to Highland's local missions, for instance? I'm concerned it would open the door to conflict, and would completely change the worshipful community dynamic of your blog.

    Guess I'm going against what Jim Clark said by stating my preference before following his wonderful advice. Oh well, such is the frail nature of the human mind. However, continuing on down that path, ;) - it sounds as though you might be asking for far more complications than you might think at first blush.

    The Amazon and PayPal ideas are fine, but still, do you want to change your blog from a 'preparing the saints' dynamic to a fund raiser?

    Just a couple of my thoughts. But that being said, you know I'm one of those addicted to your blog and would continue reading and running on and on, no matter if there are ads or not. Love ya'

    In the Light of His love, grace and mercy

    Kathy

    By Blogger Kathy, at 2/02/2006 07:52:00 AM  

  • I put some Google AdSense ads on my blog about a week ago, as a trial. I have only been averaging 1200 hits per day, half of Mike's, but I've already "earned" $25.00. My money, too, is going to MISSION, but of a different sort.

    The ads are mostly pointless, they don't require that people click on them, they're just using the traffic and a few pixels on my blog to hawk their wares. They're happy, I'm happy, and I have $25.00 to put toward my newest journalistic endeavor!

    Of course, my blog is nowhere near as sacred as Mike's. Somehow the prostitution of my site didn't anger people quite as much :)

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 2/02/2006 08:05:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    I'm pretty much indifferent to the Amazon link idea. If we hear about a book here that we know we're going to buy, why not let some of the purchase price fund God's work?

    Thinking of ads on here, however, makes me a little uncomfortable. I think that many of us suffer from the consumerism bug. I don't feel comfortable encouraging people to buy things when so many of us are deeply in debt and "buying" into the world's view of how to conduct our finances.

    That being said, you may have a vision that has not been given to me and I certainly don't want to bind you with rules from my struggle. I love you and what you do here and will not let your decision, either way, be a hindrance to that.

    By Blogger abileneblues, at 2/02/2006 08:17:00 AM  

  • Mike -

    Some have referred to your blog as sacred space. I would have to agree with that. You've been so open about many of the significant events in your life. Your posts on the anniversary of Megan's death come immediately to mind. Poignant, beautifully written thoughs that, more than a few times, have brought tears to my eyes. Somehow advertisements, no matter how worthy the cause supported, do not seem to fit.

    I would be in favor of a PayPal donation link though.

    By Blogger Lawrence B, at 2/02/2006 08:20:00 AM  

  • I vote no, but will still be a loyal reader whatever you decide!

    By Blogger Amy, at 2/02/2006 08:56:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Only include ads if you can pick which ones or which kinds of ones hit your blog. I don't think any of us care to see any "unwholesomeness" advertised here.

    Also, one favor if you could... Could you publish the RSS/XML link to those podcasts for those of us who don't use iTunes? Thanks!

    By Blogger Jonathan Paden, at 2/02/2006 09:44:00 AM  

  • Steve - I'm blogging! Of course on non-contact time with my middle school monsters, I mean kiddos.

    By Blogger cwinwc, at 2/02/2006 10:06:00 AM  

  • I heard somewhere that the first ad would be for "Mike Cope Sings the Classics."

    I'll have to buy that before the ads come out, though. I made a solemn vow never to buy anything featured in a pop-up or sold by a telemarketer. Never. Never-ever. Join me in my cause.

    By Blogger Val, at 2/02/2006 10:10:00 AM  

  • So would you get money for us just looking at the ads or would someone have to actually click and buy something before any money went into the fund?
    I will read this blog no matter what, but I would be cautious about letting some stranger solicit the blog family.
    On second thought, didn't all of our blogs(including this one)used to have ads on them two or so years ago? I remember them being sorta funny,(especailly on BST's blog) but I don't remember anyone making any money.

    By Blogger SG, at 2/02/2006 10:48:00 AM  

  • THANK YOU SOO MUCH FOR PODCAST!!!

    I live in New Hampshire and LOVE the Highland Church!! Thanks soo much that I can share the sermons now!! God Bless you all!

    Your Brother,
    Keith

    By Blogger Keith, at 2/02/2006 11:26:00 AM  

  • My fav ad would be:
    Mike Cope's Favorite Guacamole Recipes

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 2/02/2006 11:52:00 AM  

  • Support missions any honorable way can. Love's prayers..Dottie

    By Blogger Missionary's Missionary, at 2/02/2006 12:01:00 PM  

  • You may want to talk to a CPA or lawyer to see if the adds would qualify as a UBIT.

    If so, there are some tax issues you would need to work out. Since the money is going to the church and not you as an individual, it is more likely to be a UBIT and subject to taxation. If it went to you first, and you then turned around donated the exact same amount to the church, you could deduct that amount from your taxes and the church wouldn't be taxed on it either.

    That is, of course, if it is a UBIT. I would check with a CPA or tax lawyer.

    By Blogger Baron, at 2/02/2006 12:05:00 PM  

  • I like it....I would love to think that the time I take to read blogs would actually do some good somewhere......

    By Blogger DJG, at 2/02/2006 12:55:00 PM  

  • Hmm. I'm thinking no. God has created a special community through this blog, and He uses it to touch many hearts. I lean towards the motto of our beloved ACU Camps directors: guard the environment.

    By Blogger RPorche, at 2/02/2006 01:08:00 PM  

  • I'm thinking Yes! If my simple clicking on your blog helps to fund missions by all freaking means YES!

    By Blogger JenniferS, at 2/02/2006 02:06:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    I think you can see that even those who really don't like the idea of adds are not about to boycott your blog. Go for it and I am really waiting for you to write more on the will of God. I think it is the most totally misunderstood part of the work of God. You have a gift, and anyway you feel comfortable sharing that gift is great. You are a very trusted person.

    RC

    By Blogger RC, at 2/02/2006 02:09:00 PM  

  • To Sell or Not to Sell
    In the not to distant future more ads will be in more places than you ever could imagine. Embedded ads, the focal point will be a subtle ads--invisible influencers---- We are being sold all the time--in fact some say I'm exposed to over 2000 ads per day--the one's I really like is the hair ads--and I would really discourage those ads here, Mike--THEY DO NOT WORK! PEOPLE ARE STILL BALD after years of buying these products, but people still buy them--the list can go on--
    Would a subtle ad on your blog be bad for me--NO, in fact if you endorsed a book I'd be very happy to see 4% or more to do whoever you think needs the funds. I'd rather have a guy like you-with pure intent, Kingdom influencer, -----than a Donald Trump getting credit for my demographic worth---

    By Blogger Homer, at 2/02/2006 02:23:00 PM  

  • Just make sure there are no ads that would lead me off the straight and narrow...so no candy ads, no coffee ads....

    Maybe I'll just have to pray harder....

    By Blogger Brian, at 2/02/2006 02:34:00 PM  

  • Does anyone know of a good blog or two by a single christian woman?

    By Blogger JenniferS, at 2/02/2006 03:12:00 PM  

  • Go for it, Mike! Profit centers that bring the Kingdom into reality cannot be bad. The innocent as doves things come to mind here! We are considering hiring a lobbyist to argue for the poor!

    By Blogger Larry James, at 2/02/2006 05:52:00 PM  

  • Please... I'm not sure if I can deal with more,"Got a Hemi in it?" ads. I'll give more not to see ads, brother.
    Ads are the first thing in the trash when I pick the paper up from my front yard. It's my way of filtering.

    By Blogger Tailpipe Terry, at 2/02/2006 07:05:00 PM  

  • Let's see -- you can either get 2745 hits per day that generate NO money for missions, or you can get 2745 hits per day that DO generate money for missions.

    I don't see the problem here. Bring on the ads.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 2/03/2006 04:09:00 AM  

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