Okay, I had an ulterior motive with the 'how much is your blog worth' thing and it wasn't to depress anyone who's found out their blog is 'worth' nuppence (but still, apologies for that).
As Patch is coming round to tell people on the Dickensian serialisation of her dissertation, big business is looking to move in on blogs. Blogger itself is owned by Google, and it's unlikely they're going to allow all those servers to hum away in their basements for no return. They're probably going to want to put adverts on blogs, and one way of doing that is to bribe bloggers with the promise of profits from click-through ads, and they'll be parading celeb-bloggers who make enough from click-throughs to retire from their day jobs and just post pictures of their cats for the rest of their contented lives. The vast majority of people however, will probably make enough money from click throughs to buy... half an Unspecified Brand Of Chocolate. At best.
Because there's limit to how many blogs you can realistically read in a day (say ten, although obviously people without proper jobs can read many more than that, hello), the vast majority of blogs are going to exist in little micro-communities, where everyone has a fair chance of knowing everyone else. And businesses love that. So there'll be lots of 'we saw your blogs and thought it was great's and they'll ask if they can put an advert on it, and that'll be lovely, but the only person who'll be doing well out of it will be them, frankly. Unless you have a think about how much your blog means to you, and whether you want an advert on it at all, and if you do, how much you're going to charge them for the privilege.
If you turn down the click-through option that will, I suspect, be coming our way very soon, there would seem to be two options: jumping ship to your own domain, which is fiddly, but less so than it used to be*, or paying an annual fee to keep your blog ad-free, which is annoying, but I suppose we've had a good ride thus far. Or the BBC or some other public service group set up a nice big field for us all to go and play in, which I suppose is always a possibility.
This isn't to say I have a massive problem with people having ads on their blogs - I don't necessarily, and when they are links to some kind of 'gateway service' (Amazon, say) it makes practical sense. But don't let them buy your soul with honeyed words, because one of the charms of blogging is spending hours and hours in the company of people who aren't actively trying to sell you anything. And it would be a shame for all that to disappear.
Anyway, I'm away from keyboard for a few days, but thought it would be interesting to see what people's thoughts were, so do please comment, even if it means your first ever delurking.
*My attorney and web specialist adds "of course even if you jump ship to your own domain, you still have to pay for that domain, and for the hosting service, so either way you're forking out cash that you aren't forking out now in the 'golden age' of blogging."
UPDATE: lots of excellent stuff in the comments below - particularly about the difference between an advert and an editorial. I have to admit that's one reason I'm very wary of having ads on the blog - I like to bang on about totally random stuff and wouldn't want anyone to think I'm doing it for cash rather than sheer enthusiasm. And yes, I think when A-Day comes, I may well shift over to my own domain.
Fantastically, the same day I made this post, I got this email:
I found your site and was wondering if you'd be interested in a link exchange with us? Our site's here: thepasty.com and the links page is here:shop.thepasty.com
I couldn't find it in my heart to say no. I didn't even ask them for a free pasty, which was perhaps an opportunity missed.
Off to London in a sec - thought I'd keep this post at the top for the time being, as it's really interesting seeing what people are writing (and who's writing - hello delurkers!).