Since the first post on this site on June 20th, 2007 Yo! Venice! has existed without having a single paid advertisement. We have never taken a free drink, food or merchandise in exchange for posting a story here.
(Disclosure: We did hook up Mandy who always is a friendly face down at Hinano with unpaid “advertisements”, but labeled both posts as such, as seen here and here. “A Taste of Abbot Kinney” also gave us two tickets AFTER we had posted a story on their event.)
Keri and I started this site, but she got a job that made her free time for writing here much less free and she moved on … since then it has been a one person outfit with the exception of Ray Rae’s weekly picture of the Venice Skate Park (Thanks Ray Rae!) and other reader submissions we post. (Thanks Readers!)
Anyway, I do this site because I love Venice and I like walking around with my camera and checking things out. A by-product of my doing this and your participation as a community here is that Yo! Venice! has become pretty popular. According to Alexa rankings, Yo! Venice! is doing better online than both the Santa Monica Mirror and the Argonaut Newspaper which are the biggies to the North and South of Venice. Yes, they hand out free print versions .. Yo! Venice! is an online entity so can only compare online numbers. Who knows if Alexa (owned by Amazon.com) is any good at what they do, but it seems to be the site people use when comparing net ranking.
So … I am going to “sell out” and place some ads on this site starting at some point in 2010. Text only non pop up google ads will go into place when I figure out how to embed the code. They should be unobtrusive. I’m also going to place local business ads on the site. It is going to change the look a little bit, but I will try and make them in line with the rest of the aesthetics of the site as it is now.
I WILL NOT change the way the site is written, nor censor the forums. If someone advertises here I will put that at the top of my post letting you know that the entity is a sponsor. I think the success of this site is your contributions coupled with the fact we have never tried to sell anyone anything … and I’m not about to betray that trust I have with you any time soon in my posts. I think the writing can stay the same with just the simple addition of some sidebar ads.
Once some money comes in, the first thing that will happen will be improved forum software. The next thing is I will probably print some stickers or T-Shirts. There is no master plan happening here, just rolling with the flow.
Feel free to tell me I sold out in the forums, I already said so myself. If I were a wealthy man I would continue to do what I do here for free …