WordAds: WordPress.com Bloggers Will Be Able to Advertise

November 28, 2011

Making Money From Your WordPress.com Blog is one of the most-visited posts on this WordPress.com blog. “Can I run ads?” is one of the questions most often asked on the WordPress.com forums. The short answer to that question has always been “No.” The longer answer involved an exception for certain high-traffic VIP blogs.

Enter WordAds, which exists to provide advertising representation to WordPress.com bloggers. It is a partnership between WordPress.com/Automattic and Federated Media. It is optional for bloggers. It is also optional for WordPress.com, in that bloggers need to apply. In order to do so, they must have custom domains (as this blog does). Even so, not all applications will be accepted.

The post announcing WordAds is rather curiously worded.

We’ve resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense.

I find this curious, because WordPress.com has for years run AdSense on blogs it hosts. The quote seems like acknowledgement of a criticism I’ve often seemed leveled at WordPress.com: that it makes money by marring its bloggers’ content with ads that aren’t, well, terribly tasteful.” It also seems like an unnecessary swipe at Google.

The advent of WordAds raises several questions. Update, two days later: Jon Burke of Automattic/WordPress.com was kind enough to answer my questions via email; hence the italics following each question. See also Matt’s reply to my comment on the announcement post.

  1. What will the terms be? In particular, how much of the ad revenue will go to the blogger? It varies.
  2. Will WordAds replace AdSense on WordPress.com? In other words, if a blogger signs up for neither WordAds nor the No-Ads upgrade, WordPress.com may run ads on the blog: but will it use WordAds or AdSense to do so? AdWords is only for blogs accepted into the AdWords program.
  3. Will there be a plugin to allow self-hosted WordPress blogs to run WordAds? Not in the immediate future.
  4. Will it be possible to run WordAds on non-WordPress sites? No plans for this.

I am fairly confident that the answer to the plugin question (#3) will be “yes,” and rather less sure about answers to the other questions. (Turns out I was wrong, certainly about timing, and possibly about the plugin itself.) If you have answers, guesses, further questions, or other remarks about WordAds, please leave a comment.

6 Responses to “WordAds: WordPress.com Bloggers Will Be Able to Advertise”

  1. Rahul Arora Says:

    The post-announcement statement is just for the grabbing the attention and curiosity.
    I really have no clue, as none of my friends nor I have signed up for WordAds yet.
    Thanks for the important info, Andrew.


  2. [...] to Andrew Watson, the advent of WordAds has raised few noteworthy, “yet to be answered” [...]


  3. [...] in online display advertising is good.  Especially for niche advertisers and marketers.  Read the press release from WordPress about WordAds here. This entry was posted in Advertising and tagged adsense, Google, wordads, wordpress. Bookmark the [...]

  4. Sajib Says:

    Well, I spotted somewhere on the web that WordAds will soon be added to JetPack plugin. If not, then Automattic will use it as a way to prompt people to blog on WordPress.com and buy necessary upgrades. That’s clever, I have to say.

  5. Andrew Says:

    Sajib,
    I’ll be following the WordAds plugin with interest, even thought it doesn’t exist yet!

    I’ll also be watching for the actual appearance of WordAds on blogs.I hope that your application to the program is accepted.


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