About a year ago, when Bond Review’s traffic had started to tick up from “my nan” to “extremely obscure”, I started serving ads via WordPress to cover the costs of hosting the blog.
The revenue from these ads goes up and down (despite the growing readership) and in terms of ad revenue v hosting costs I’m somewhere around break-even.
Put it this way, I’d have to run 100 Bond Reviews before HMRC took an interest.
In terms of time cost I’m several thousand in the red, but that’s not an issue as Bond Review has always been a hobby and was never about money (despite being about money).
I began Bond Review with a simple philosophy: if an hour or two of my time prevents someone from losing a lifetime’s worth of savings, in a high risk investment that wasn’t suitable for them, then it’s a good trade. That still stands.
I was however acutely aware that some of the ads on my blog would be for dubious investments or outright scams – for the same reason these ads appear on Yahoo or the Daily Telegraph or most other places you go on the Internet.
These ads are not selected by me, but are served by a third party based on your browser history. If someone’s been looking at unregulated investments recently then chances are high that the ad platform will show them some more.
Unfortunately I don’t have the time or connections to source my own ads, and the only practical alternative was to fund the blog out of my own pocket, which felt like a step too far.
The larger Bond Review’s readership grows, however, the more I feel uncomfortable with god-knows-what that I can’t even see appearing under my articles.
Consequently I have decided that this is it – no more ads. From today Bond Review will be completely and permanently ad-free and move to a donation model.
(If you’re still seeing ads, try clearing your cache – failing that, you may need to check for your computer for spyware.)
Guardian-style begging ads incoming…
Bond Review is approaching its second birthday and I fully intend to continue bringing you news and reviews from the underscrutinised world of unregulated investments.
I have never taken money in return for coverage negative or positive, and never will.
I’m fortunate that I can afford to pay Bond Review’s costs so far out of my own pocket but can’t guarantee how long that will continue.
So far Bond Review has faced a total of eight separate legal threats or legal attacks aimed at shutting down my entirely factual coverage, plus one or two suspected hacking attempts. Thankfully none of them have so far imperilled my ability to keep the blog up and running.
There were however a few Hero’s Journey moments when I considered pulling the whole thing offline and taking up contract bridge instead. As you can see that didn’t happen.
Support from my readers would go a long way to putting the blog on a stable financial footing and helping it continue into the future.
I don’t expect readers who are here because they’ve lost their money to donate – they’ve spent enough on this sector. This is aimed at the investors and professional advisers who have found my coverage of the sector useful for research and general interest.
A modest one-off donation to Bond Review is a hell of a lot cheaper than a lost investment, and a hell of a lot cheaper than an FSCS levy.
If you have found my coverage valuable, you can now click here to make a one-off or regular donation.
There won’t be any annoying Guardian- or Wikipedia-style ads constantly popping up all over the place, although I will be adding a monthly reminder about the donate button to the rotation. This will include a word of thanks to anyone who has been kind enough to donate – if they consent to their name being included.
If I don’t get enough to cover the blog’s costs, the ads will not return. If Bond Review becomes unviable I will just shut it down.
But with your support I fully intend to continue for a third year and beyond – for as long as there are unregulated investments being sold to the public about which they need to know the facts.