Blog Sponsorship and Advertising

I’d like to talk to you about the monetization of blogs, and specifically of my blog, Making it Lovely. I announced a new sponsored project earlier this week and the responses were mixed. I feel that it’s important to address the negative sentiments that were expressed.

I am approached daily with offers of items for reviews and giveaways, free trips, sponsorships, and various advertising opportunities (such as text links). I politely decline nearly all of them. To imply that I am thoughtlessly and greedily accepting every freebie that comes my way is hurtful and insulting. I have always taken great care to be ethical, honest, true to myself, and true to my readers. I don’t publish anything that I’m not proud of, and I hold myself to a high degree of integrity and accountability. This blog would be very different if I were only in this to make money. I have always been very selective, choosing only to work with companies that I have used or would use personally regardless of compensation. And now that I’m able to work with a sponsor to share a new project with you that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise? I think that’s wonderful.

Many have lamented the fact that so many blogs are being monetized, and they would prefer to see them remain free of advertising. I respect those individuals that blog without any form of payment, but I also have respect for those that have been able to be fairly compensated for the lovely sites that they have created. It takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to keep a blog like Making it Lovely going. I pay for childcare so that I have time to write and edit original photos for the blog. I have upgraded my web hosting to ensure that the site loads quickly and without problems for every visitor. I am always taking time to file away ideas, thinking of new ways to share inspiration with you, and documenting projects for the blog. I’m honored and amazed everyday that Making it Lovely has taken off the way it has, but you must know that there is a lot of work involved.

I am lucky to be able to earn an income via my blog. I have been working toward it for years, and I’m proud of all that I have accomplished. I will continue to accept advertising and explore new sponsorship opportunities in a mindful and responsible way, and I thank you for your support.

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  • abbersnail
    May 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Amen! Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Kate
      May 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm


      • L
        May 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm

        Ditto, ditto!

        Your blog is one of the few I visit (daily) – It’s yours to do w/what you choose & I like what you’re doing.

    • Tammy Nicastro
      May 8, 2010 at 10:08 am

      Living in Silicon Valley where the economy is centered on monetizing digital bits, puts an added spin of, “What is wrong with these people?” after reading your post. You should never feel you need to explain yourself for being a smart and hardworking business woman who is making a valuable contribution to the design blogosphere. Internet bloggers have the right to earn compensation for their journalistic contributions, just as journalists who use print as their medium. Perhaps the real problem here is that you have a sector of readers who are pretty closed off to the changing world of reporting and who still believe women are supposed to work for free.

    • chrisbean
      May 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      I love the site; I love that you take the time and put in the effort to “curate” your ads rather than just plugging in AdWords. I love that the ads are relevant, and a great way to find cool little online shops I’d never ordinarily come across.

      I also love to (financially) support bloggers I love by clicking on their blog’s ads! In fact, I think I’ll hit a few now just for the fun of it.

    • Dayna
      May 24, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      i think you’re awesome and clearly kind, honest and incredibly talented. thanks for being you and sharing yourself with the rest of us.

  • patricia
    May 7, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Well said! Your blog is a wonderful place to visit and all your hard work really shows. Monetizing a blog is a personal choice and I don’t understand why that should come under scrutiny. Just keep forging along!

  • Libberator
    May 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Don’t let the (jealous?) bastards get you down!
    I discovered your site (via AT) about a year ago and have been smitten ever since. Why? Because you seem to genuinely care about what you’re doing. I’ve never met you, and probably never will, but I would be VERY surprised to find out you’re just a greedy money-grubber “behind the blog”. You deserve everything that comes your way because it is obvious you’ve worked hard for it. Good luck with your new bedroom, and continued success with your fantastic site.

    • Melinda
      May 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm

      I’ve never understood why people whine about this! They most definitely don’t complain about the ideas and inspiration they get from blogs absolutely FREE! If you can make money doing it…I say go for it!! I will maneuver my way around ads in order to get those fabulous ideas you post about! Love the blog!

      • tink
        May 10, 2010 at 11:05 pm

        Where are the whiners?

        Did I miss something?

  • Nic {luzia pimpinella}
    May 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    dear nicole,

    i completely understand you and your decisions. actually i am standing at the same point with my own blogging right now.

    sharing ideas and inspirations in a blog is such a lovely and also appreciative thing! … but only a profeessional blogger will see how much time and WORK it is to run a successful blog. bloggers are hard working people… and not just about playing with some colorful photographs (which don’t shoot and edit themselves either ;) and add some words…. so if they have the option, why don’t get sponsored?

    do people blame the printed lifestyle magazine, they PURCHASE for the advetisements in it? ;)

    wish you all the best for you and your blog.
    love it.


  • Kathryn Humphreys
    May 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Seriously. We’d all have to pay for the design advice you and your colleagues provide, you deserve to be paid for your work. I, for one, am glad there are sponsors willing to make it possible for you to continue and expand.

  • Corey
    May 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I love your blog and I would read it regardless of advertising. And, frankly, some of the companies I have seen advertised on my favorite design blogs I have ended up happily patronizing and been very pleased with whatever product I received. Those that criticize people who make money from blogging must have a very large trust fund. Keep on keeping on, girl.

  • jaclyn
    May 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm


    I’ve read your blog for over 18 months and enjoyed it immensely. Although I’ve only commented now, I am doing so in full support and empathy for the negative feedback you’ve received about your choices and your blog. I myself have been in this situation in my own small business. Although I don’t blog myself, I imagine it to be much of same feelings of sadness and upset. For that I am very sorry. You do a wonderful job and deserve to be paid for it. Having my own small children, I see how owning your own business impacts your family. You keep doing what you’re doing. You inspire me very much (9 things done off my 30 before 30 list)and also educate while entertaining.
    Thank you very much and best wishes at ridding yourself of these negative people who only bring others down.

  • Jaimers
    May 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Right on, Nicole, and well said.

  • Maria
    May 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    You should definitely be compensated for your work! I love reading blogs- yours is one of my favorites- and I never,ever begrudge bloggers for having ads.

    This is how I see it: Blogs like yours are like magazines (but better) for me. I come here to get inspiration, diy ideas and to look at pretty things. This is the same reason I buy magazines.

    With a magazine, I see ads on every other page AND I have to pay for it. A blog is FREE. I can sit here with a cup of coffee and look through your archives whenever I want- for FREE! I think it’s a very sweet deal for me, as a reader.

    Thank you for all of your hard work- It’s really appreciated. :)

    • valerie
      May 8, 2010 at 1:41 am

      DITTO to the moon.

  • Lorrie
    May 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    exactly. no one ever (or rarely) questions the ads in magazines/newspapers etc. Why would the work in a blog be any different? You should be proud of creating this life for yourself, go you!

    I really cannot stand purists in any sense. It’s negative and narrow… carry on with your bad self.

  • Jen
    May 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Here’s the deal…

    In an ideal world there’d be no commercial breaks between our favorite tv shows, no advertisements in our favorite magazines and no interruptions on our favorite radio stations.

    Of course, none of those things would exist because people wouldn’t be able to feed themselves or make their house payments.

    So if you like the blog, you should hope that it makes money. You should hope it gets sponsored and has lots of ads. Or else, you know what? It goes away. That simple. We’re getting all this FOR FREE!!! There’s no subscription charge. There’s no admission fee.

    And Nicole, you don’t have to explain or apologize for any of it.

  • Elisa @ whatthevita
    May 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I hope you get loads of money doing this – for this is what you love (it is very obvious) and isn’t it a dream of everyone to do what they love and get paid for it? And you do it very well. I always am very happy for the blogs that I read regularly when they get some form of payment… I don’t understand why it bothers some people.

    I have my own blog and I don’t even update it everyday and it’s not popular or anything, but it does take up a lot of my free time – so I can imagine how much time you put in your blog. It’s your job. Why shouldn’t you get paid?

  • Adventures In Babywearing
    May 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I understand completely. I think and do very similarly (I’ve definitely had growing pains and ups & downs in the several years I’ve been blogging and have learned from that), but we all come to that place that feels right for us. Also, as much as I’d love to go ad-free, at this time I rely on the income. I really liked the post you mentioned, and think it makes PERFECT sense for this space.


  • Jeannine @ Small & Chic
    May 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    This sort of blog sponsorship is the kind readers can applaud…a company is giving a blogger we love the means to plan and execute a unique, interest project in front of our eyes.

    This is pretty far from encouraging readers to go to specific websites and buy certain products for perks that come back to the blogger. I highly doubt Nicole initiated this, either. This is exciting! More exciting than when the one or two bloggers out there who aggressively pitch their blogs to companies get something nice. :)

    I think the vast majority of us are very, very happy for you!

  • alex
    May 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I think its WONDERFUL that you’re able to earn money blogging. Keep up the good work. You should most definitely be compensated for the wonderful work you do.

  • Connie
    May 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable for you to endorse something in which you believe in, even if it is a product. Doing so in no way changes who and what you are!

  • Nicole Ouellet
    May 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    A strong statement in such elegant style. Love it! I have loved looking at the pictures of blogs for inspiration and just recently began to appreciate the writing, the dedication, and personal style that you all put out there for people to enjoy. I am now a dedicated reader of your blog and look forward to ALL your future projects!

  • Ellen
    May 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Very well said, I appreciate all your great ideas and can’t imagine the work you do to make Making It Lovely what it is! Great job Nicole! You deserve the best!!

  • whitney
    May 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    i’m disappointed that you should even have to write this post. monetizing a blog is another excellent opportunity for mothers, or fathers, wanting to stay at home with their children, to still be able to contribute to the family income. yours is not a personal blog or a family blog, it’s a design blog with parts of you, for anyone to scrutinize you is ridiculous.

  • Heather
    May 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    well said Nicole!

  • Liz @ Bon Temps Beignet
    May 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Do what ya gotta do!! I’m not going anywhere!

  • Samantha
    May 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I’m in favour of adds on blogs, if blogs didn’t have adds on them I wouldn’t have found half the stuff I have come across, it offers a wide range of ideas and shopping opportunities, and is benificial for both the advertiser and the blogger. Blogs offer lots of small businesss as well as larger ones space to reach people who are interested in a certain style or way of life. I feel that as long as the blogger can choose like you do, ones that fit in with your style and ethics then its a good thing. if you can make some money along the way out of something your enjoy then go for it. I’ll still be stopping, by ads or not. :)

  • NancyV908
    May 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    OK, I probably shouldn’t jump in but I will. After this post I went to look at the comments to your original post. I thought they were mostly polite & respectful (with only one or two exceptions) & were focused not so much on accepting advertising per se as on the perception that it might have altered your voice. I myself didn’t notice this when I read it, but a number of people did feel the piece seemed different from your norm. It’s a comments section so they commented on that. Yes, there were comments on the whole advertising issue too, but again, I thought they were polite & totally in bounds. So (& please forgive me!) I think this was unfair: “To imply that I am thoughtlessly and greedily accepting every freebie that comes my way is hurtful and insulting.” I think that was harsh and not a fair way to characterize their comments–I don’t feel that’s what they were implying.

    Having said that, I’m with you on the whole sponsorship issue. And if it’s going to make it possible for me to enjoy your bedroom makeover, all the better. I love your blog & look forward to your posts. I truly appreciate all the effort & love you put into it–they are evident.

    • Diana
      May 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      I agree with you, Nancy. I was concerned that her voice was altered. Not with the sponsorship itself.

    • Maddy @ the Inspired Bride
      May 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      My guess, Nancy, is that she probably didn’t approve the comments that weren’t polite :) I wouldn’t have. It’s one thing to dissent, it’s another to be mean, and I’m sure per her comment policy she didn’t publicize them.

      Anyway, in regards to the post – bravo. Like the other comments, I want to echo that people don’t realize how many labor hours it takes to put a regularly published blog online. I do freelance graphic design as well, and if I charged myself my rate for each our I worked on my blog then deducted what I make in advertising, I would find myself severely in debt. Yes, you do it for money, but you do it because you love it. However, when you get to a certain level your readers expect a lot more out of you and at that point, loving it doesn’t cut it – it takes so many man hours that you need to have it be a source of income. Under no circumstance should you EVER feel like you have to apologize for taking a sponsor (assuming you’re keeping it kosher and abiding by FTC guidelines). You’re providing them with free content, and readers should be grateful for that. It’s not a good thing to have every other post be a sponsored spot, or even do them with a substantial frequency, but once in a while should not be a problem.

      If someone’s got a problem with that, they can start their own blog and see how they manage it once it starts to commandeer most of their days :)

      • Denise
        May 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

        I think she SHOULD approve the comments, because without them, this looks like another blogger overreaction. Some blogs I read should have a disclaimer: Only Sycophants should comment.

    • Hally
      May 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      I completely agree as well. I read through the comments and found nothing offensive, at least to myself. If anything it was purely concern.

      While I do love this blog, and I appreciate what Nicole has done for my home, I too felt it was a little unlike her normal writing. I don’t have a problem with her being sponsored at all, I’m happy for her. I just hope it sticks to the sidebar and doesnt overwhelm why we all come her in the first place.

      Good luck with the redo, Nicole!

      • cm
        May 7, 2010 at 11:57 pm

        i think we are in the minority here, guys. i too don’t understand how things become so misconstrued based on a few people questioning the tone of a post. but for whatever it’s worth, here is the point i’d like to make: when a magazine prints an ad that is disguised as an article or product review, it frustrates me that the marketing team has hidden its agenda. i just want an ad in a content post to clearly show that it is sponsored – tho it was tagged as such, some of us missed it, and felt the voice changed as the sponsorship was revealed. if advertising is clear on a blog, i’ve got no problem with it – you work hard enough, enjoy the rewards.

  • Kristina
    May 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I think you have a wonderful site and have been following for a while now. I haven’t posted yet but wanted to voice my full support for you and what you do. Those who complained about the sponsorship are undoubtedly in the minority, and the rest of us will eagerly await to see what you have in store.

  • Christine
    May 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I think it is wonderful that you are getting an income from your blog. I can’t even imagine the amount of work that goes into something like this. If it weren’t for people like you, my internet surfing sessions would be very boring and I would not have nearly as many home ideas as I have due to blogs. I find it crazy that people are offended by the fact that you have sponsors. Would they appreciate working for free? I doubt it. So, keep doing what you are doing!

  • Katie
    May 7, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Honestly, I think it is completely wonderful that people like you that work SO hard to entertain us all and give us all such great ideas and who allow us a peek into their own lives are able to be compensated for it. I completely respect your decision to have advertisers and am totally happy that you have the opportunity to have them! Keep it up because I am not the only one who adores your blog and looks forward to seeing you post everyday!

  • Amanda
    May 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I just wanted to comment that I support you and will keep on reading your blog whether it has advertisements or not.

    Keep on blogging!

  • Steph
    May 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Great post, it did need to be said!
    Fairly recently I started writing a blog for the company that I work for. I was expecting it to be a little bit of work, but I have been surprised at how MUCH work it actually has been! It takes a lot of time to take and/or find great pictures, write and edit the posts and keep up with other blogs in our industry. I feel like I am still quite the rookie at blogging and I know there is a lot I need to learn.
    I have been a blog reader for years and now I have a whole new respect for the good bloggers out there. I think you all deserve every penny you can get! Everyone deserves to be compensated for their time and talents.
    Your blog is always so beautiful and well written. Keep it up and thanks for the constant inspiration!

  • Ally
    May 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I don’t usually comment but I just wanted to say I fully support the decision of any and every blogger to make money off their blogs. Readers get to enjoy the content for free, so who are they to say that the blogger should get no compensation for all of that hard work? The only thing I ask, as a reader, is full disclosure from bloggers when they are being compensated for a product/service/etc that’s being plugged. I also hate ads that interrupt the browsing experience (they pop up in the middle of the page to play an ad, and you can’t continue until the ad has played) but I’ve never seen those on blogs. Thank you for all of your hard work, your blog is one of my favorites!

  • Samantha
    May 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I have no problem with bloggers earning an income. I could care less about giveaways and such that other sites do. I do appreciate when they put it in the title – I don’t read the post but just click through to the next on my reader. Not a big deal at all! I enjoy your site, please keep up the good work.

  • Sean
    May 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Well done!

  • Jamie
    May 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I’m sorry you experienced negative reactions over a decision I’m sure you gave a great deal of thought to, please know that many of your readers appreciate the time and effort you put into your blog and believe you should be compensated for that. Don’t let a few negative nelly’s slow you down.

  • NotoriousMLE
    May 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Well said Nicole. I don’t think people realize how much time and energy running a blog like yours requires.

  • Justine B
    May 7, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I actually like the ads that are promoting small businesses, such as your own, that don’t have huge advertising budgets. Those are the businesses I prefer to shop from and typically click on them.

    I am turned off by seeing Yoplait, Warm Delights, & PR Web ads that I’ve seen here today–the ones you’re not controlling the content of. I can see those anywhere & I don’t care to see it more than necessary. Plus, there’s this huge black, gray & red flashing ad uglying up your pretty site….it kind of screams sell-out.

  • Mrs Soup
    May 7, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    *sigh* People make me sad….I’m glad that you are able to make money on your blog! And anyone that is angry at you for it is most likely jealous. Sad and cliche, but unfortunately true.

    If only we could just beat people over the head cheerfully that hurt us. It would make things happier.

  • christine
    May 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Small e-shops like mine need and appreciate bloggers like yourself that provide affordable spaces for us to advertise. I don’t know where I would be without awesome bloggers like yourself. Keep up the great work that you rightfully deserve to be paid for! and sport this tee ;) http://shop.omfgco.com/product/fuck-haters-tee

  • Nole
    May 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Well said Nicole! There is so much time, effort, and yes, real cost, that goes into blogging – and those who put serious effort into their blogs have every right to compensate themselves by monetizing. I think you’ve done an incredible job at balancing sponsorships on your blog, and your content has never suffered. Well done!

  • Courtney
    May 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    There is nothing wrong with being monetized for something you are putting so much time and effort in! Great job!

  • Jennifer
    May 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Your blog is fantastic and you definitely deserve to be compensated for your obvious hard work. It is quite clear that you look for opportunities that fit well into your blog, and in the future I hope the naysayers can keep their opinions to themselves, or at least approach you privately if they are so inclined. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Rachel B.
    May 7, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I completely support what you have said- and your blog clearly reflects how you have chosen what works and what is up to your standards.

  • robin
    May 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    those of us who have been around and followed you for a long time know this! i can’t imagine that anyone who made those comments actually has spent much time here. i hate that you feel like you have to defend yourself to those few people… the rest of us know better and appreciate all you do and are excited with you in your success!

  • Eva
    May 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I felt rather disappointed when you sang the praises of a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

    • monique
      May 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      I think you are a little out of line saying that you were disappointed that Nicole sang praises about the Dyson vacuum. So, is she not allowed to “praise” something she likes. Last time I checked this was America were we embrace the fact of freedom of speech.

    • Jules
      May 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      This comment has no value and contributes nothing to the conversation. If you’re eager to hear yourself speak, buy a tape recorder.

      You were disappointed because she sang the praises of a $400 vacuum she bought on recommendation of her readers, or because she received a hand held Dyson at a press event nearly a year later? Please clarify your statement. Additionally, what about it disappointed you so much, and what could Nicole have done to avoid your disdain? (I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably NOTHING.)

      If you are going to criticize, have it be constructive so that Nicole and other professional bloggers reading can refine their craft.

      • luuve
        May 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

        oommmmmgggg! I LOVE YOU JULES! this is my official I LOVE JULES post! lol….

        JULES you are just the best! Nicole! JULES neeeeds to be hired to take care of allll of your lightweight! lol

        SERIOUSLY..nicole…I’m soo happy for your post! people DO need to buy a tape recorder. If you don’t like nicole’s post..or the post “disappoint” you…JUST LOOK AT HER PICS ON HER FLICKR PAGE! don’t you hear people saying all the time…make your passion your job??? do you think those people get paid too?? this is nicole’s passion..you can see it! you can see it in the way she decorates and designs her home..you can see in the way she conducts herself on the blog…FOLKS GET OVER IT!

        and btw..i may just buy that “f*** the haters” tshirt! its wonderful…AND NEEDED in this time of bloggie judgement! booooooo all folks who have an issue…go get a tissue!

        again! way to go nicole! and truly well said!

  • Allison
    May 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Nicole I just wanted to tell you that I adore your blog. I always get excited when Google Reader tells me there’s a new MiL post – ALWAYS. Honestly I don’t even realize you have advertisements on the blog. I glance over them but my focus is on your posts & photos. I think it’s wonderful that you’re able to work from home and earn a living with your blog, especially as a new Mama! I would LOOVE to be a blogger for a living and quit my day job. I say keep on doing what you’re doing because I think you’re doing a wonderful job. Much love!!! And I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the bedroom.

  • Alaina
    May 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm


    I co-wrote a music blog for three years with one other writer and refused sponsors, advertisements, and other incentives. I did read all of the emails sent to me and we focused on music that was sent to us by the musician rather than a PR company. What we got for our efforts were great friends (through other blogs, readers, and some musicians), a loyal fanbase, and a few “cease and desist” letters from the RIAA. We loved doing it – but as you know it’s an INCREDIBLE amount of work, and having a baby must make it all the more difficult. We eventually stopped because it was too much work for no pay and it became a chore rather than something we enjoyed, which defeated the whole purpose of the blog for us.

    I read your blog through Google reader and I enjoy it immensely. I didn’t read the comments from the other post, but I’m sure you started this blog, as we did ours, for yourself and to display the things you like and have done to improve your home, etc. I think as long as you stay true to that, if companies want to help you along and you’re not promoting items you wouldn’t use or buy yourself, what’s the problem? And finally (sorry for the long comment), it’s YOUR blog and I don’t think you’re going to lose readers by doing what you’ve been doing all along – sharing your thoughts and projects and life with us.

  • Shanee
    May 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Well said. I’ve always admired you for the way you decorated and styled. But now it’s gone above and beyond for the way you handled this matter. You are a very awesome woman.

  • Faith
    May 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I’m glad you are explaining and defending yourself. It is your blog and if advertising is off putting to your readers, then they can go to ad-free blogs. But, without being negative, I think what a few people are saying is that we don’t want to see a lovely blog that we really enjoy turn into something less lovely. That is where keeping the tone and voice of your posts consistent with past, ad-free posts.

    I believe that you also need to tell readers upfront that this blog is a business, not just a hobby, and hopefully that will allow the naysayers to understand why you need advertising. Obviously, you have worked very hard to create this business and it takes money to keep it rolling.

    • monique
      May 7, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      Nicole does not have to tell readers that her blog is a business… have you ever had a blog? Having a blog takes work. I don’t understand what everyone is complaining about…are they complaining because they get insider tips from Nicole for FREE!??
      I am ashamed to hear all these ungratefull people. I am sorry they should just be happy that she is taking the time out of her day to share tips, tricks, etc, with them for free. She is not charging you to read her blog, so everyone needs to just get over it!

      • Faith
        May 10, 2010 at 9:43 am

        Monique- If you read my comment you would see that I did not say she HAS to tell readers that her blog is a business. I said I believe she should. It is my opinion, not a rule. As I said in my comment, I believe that being up front about what you are doing will help others to better understand why the advertising is in place. It is not just to amass lots of free stuff and money. It is so we, the *thankful* readers can continue to enjoy the amazing work she does…the creativity she lends us all while we don’t pay her a dime for it.

        It is people like you who incite hatefulness in your negative comments that make the blogosphere unenjoyable. Let people have an open dialogue without attacking them. My post was meant to be supportive and to express my opinion to Nicole in hopes that she can get some insight into how advertising could affect her business. There is no need for you to inflame the situation.

  • Diana
    May 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Hi again!

    I was one of the first (if not THE first) to comment on your AMEX sponsored blog post. I was not criticizing you for taking on the sponsorship (you deserve to reap the rewards of your hard work), but I was concerned that it wasn’t explicitly stated at the beginning of the blog post that it was a sponsored post/project. I see that you have since amended this.

    Kudos to you! I really enjoy reading your blog and will continue to do so.

  • Alice
    May 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I really like seeing the companies you endorse and have found several things to purchase because of Making it Lovely. Don’t let anyone make you question your decisions – this is your blog and your life and only you know what is best for you!

    I think the majority of us just love your sense of style, your design advice and DIY tips and of course, Eleanor!

  • Tonya
    May 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Good for you! Your blog is beautiful and should be exactly the way you want it. Boo! to anyone who says otherwise. Thank you for such a thoughful, kind and genuine post. Keep up the good work!

  • Becka
    May 7, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Excellent post! When I initially started blogging I decided that I would never have ads on my blog as I thought it would affect how I write or be cheesy, etc but despite how relatively small my blog still is I also get offers from all over the place and people asking about advertising, so I’ve come to a place where I would actually really love to be able to promote independent business and artists. The best way, aside from writing posts, I can see to do that is to eventually start offering sponsorship spots. I mean, if I want to promote the handmade and independent community, what better way than to provide affordable ad space for them?

    I also totally hear you about the work load! The times I’ve done guest posts for some of the bigger design blogs I have been made very aware of how much time and effort they put into what they do! I think your blog is lovely, beautifully laid out and with the ad spots looking like part of the whole picture rather than some neon signs, you know? Good on you for sticking to it and being proud of what you’ve achieved!

  • Caryle
    May 7, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve never commented before, but wanted to let you know that I think you’ve been very tasteful in your selection of sponsors, and I support the decisions you’ve made in establishing and maintaining the integrity of your site. I enjoy Making it Lovely very much and appreciate the time you put into it.

  • Kate at Centsational Girl
    May 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Darlin’ you run your blog as you see fit. Peeps need to understand this is a business and yours is one of the best ! Think of all the inspiration readers get for free ! You just keep doing what you’re doing – your readers love you.


  • courtney
    May 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Amen, Mama! Too often women undervalue themselves and their talents. Your blog is a masterpiece, and clearly a labor of love. Sponsorship allows those of us who need our daily dose of Making It Lovely to be able to grab a piece of your inspiration and talent for free! Maybe for those who don’t like the sponsorship would prefer if you set up a subscription-fee blog with no advertising….or would they complain about that too??!

  • Sarah
    May 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    You are LOVELY and so is your blog! Period!

  • Rosemary
    May 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Three words: You. Go. Girl.

    I think we’re all getting a little spoiled by the abundance of amazing inspiration and design advice that we can so easily (and freely) access via the blogosphere.

    So spoiled, in fact, that we forget that there are hardworking people who devote all their time and energy to providing us with it. I would love nothing more than to make my income by being able to blog from home.

    And if accepting sponsorships and endorsements means that you’ll get to update this blog more often, then I support you 100%. It’s a win/win situation.

  • erin
    May 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    i don’t get it, design fans complain and complain about all the shelter mags going under, and are turning to blogs for home inspiration, but without some form of compensation most design blogs would be over as well! we cant expect all this great work and inspiration for free! your post didn’t sound commercial at all to me, and i defintely respect and trust your decisions! everyones gotta make a living, and you have that adorable baby to support so i hope your raking in the dough!

  • Nicole RJ
    May 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Well put! I can’t imagine how much you put into your blog, not to mention your business and have a baby to boot! You should be proud of your achievements and that they allow some compensation, down with the haters!

  • Kristen
    May 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Hey Nicole:

    I completely agree with what you are saying. I think it is amazing that you can make money through sponsorships doing something you love and adding value to your reader’s lives. For me, I would say you have done an exceelent job at creatign your own meaningful work.

    I think many people don’t realize the amount of hard work that goes into blogging. I believe that taking sponsorships will allow you to keep up the good work and continue providing interesting and engaging content for your readers.

    So bravo and keep doing what you are doing…reading your blog is a warm spot in my day! Once again, congrats ont he huge success of your blog!



  • peggy
    May 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Nicole, there’s not need for explanations. Critics obviously have no idea how much work maintaining a blog is. And I’ll admit it. I work hard on my blog, I wish it paid. I love your blog and am always grateful for the inspiration.

  • Madi
    May 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Your blog is amazing. I find myself hoping for new posts from you every time I open my reader. If advertising pays for your valuable time I heartily accept it! and call me a sucker but I am easily sold on most anything that my fave bloggers choose to advertise. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  • Grace Hester Designs
    May 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I am doing a quick scan through my blog reader today and HAD to stop and leave you a word of encouragement. I think your blog has a great balance of quality content and minimal advertising. And where you have recommended something, I have enjoyed learning more about it where relevant to my lifestyle and situation, and then making my own decision as to whether or not I think enough of it to make the purchase. The choice to view the ad, heed the advice of a blogger, and ultimately make the decision to purchase or use, is purely on the reader’s shoulders. If they choose not to do their due diligence and look into alternatives to what you recommend, then it is on them too. We are (mostly) adults with the right to choose. Your ads are not THAT imposing that I can’t gloss over them if I am not interested.

    Keep at it Nicole and you have our support!

    Grace Hester Designs
    Silhouette- and typography- based artwork and prints
    Shop my designs at http://gracehesterdesigns.etsy.com
    Experience my blog at http://gracehester.typepad.com
    Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gracehester

  • Rachael Anne
    May 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I am not a full time blogger, but spend a great amount of time on mine. There is no shame, regret or bad coming out of being monetarily compensated for work. However, I do appreicate being notified if a product is compensating the writer. It’s unfair for people to expect a product to be produced for free. I have been a member of Membership Rewards for awhile now and was happy for your partnership with them and what it produces.

  • Kim
    May 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I’m so grateful for all the free design advice and inspiration I’ve received via your blog. I’m glad you’re able to make some money from it.

  • Danielle
    May 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I’m a huge fan of your blog and am thrilled you can make an income off of it! You’re an inspiration to all your readers and the ones who don’t like it can simply choose to stop reading!

  • Leah@StorybookRanch
    May 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    aw man,I just want to say that I hope you make a gagillion dollars for doing what you love. You make people smile :)

  • Krysta
    May 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Here here girl! I think your blog clearly demonstrates that you are interested in creating interesting and thoughful content and not selling out. Why shouldn’t you generate an income through your hard work?

  • Kathleen
    May 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Your motives and intentions shine through any advertising or sponsorships. I’m a huge fan of your blog and appreciate all the hard work that goes into your inspiring posts. Thank you!

  • Nic {luzia pimpinella}
    May 7, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    @ NancyV908…

    having a lot of similar experiences i’d say, that the really offending comments haven’t been approved by nicole. so we can’t read them.

    i have a real big virtual trash bin for these kind of comments which are written mostly anomymos by whoever. sometimes i am shocked how hateful they are…

    as a blogger you better not approve such stuff… because we all don’t want to feed the trolls… ;)

  • eileen
    May 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    You are lovely. Your blog is lovely. And you have every right to earn a living from it.

  • Camilla {Hygge Nook}
    May 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    You deserve some recompense for the time and energy you put into this blog, and certainly for the entertainment you give to all of us!

  • Nuit
    May 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    You are sooo right, and your blog is amazing, I have always felt you are extremely thoughtful and honest. Keep doing what you’re doing!!! you make me smile everyday…

    hugs from Mexico =D

  • jena
    May 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Sing it, sista!

  • Melinda
    May 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Your blog is wonderful, fresh, & lovely! I expect ads on the blogs I enjoy reading. You should be compensated for all of the effort & creativity you put into your blog. To those that criticize this…they need to lighten up or find another blog. Keep up the good work! I always enjoy your posts!

  • NikkiP
    May 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I really enjoy your blog, I read it every day. Keep doing what you’re doing. You inspire me:) Thank you!

  • Liz
    May 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Bravo! There is nothing wrong with monetizing a blog – you work hard at it you should get paid! Being a designer people always want me to design free stuff for them just b/c they know me. That is unfair and artist’s/creative’s need to make a living however they can. They EARN it! Thanks for the awesome post and keep up the fantastic work! (on a side note – childcare is expensive people!!)

  • michelle
    May 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    you are doing so great, keep doing your blog the way that makes you happy, not to please others, after all it is YOUR blog.

  • MaxxSilly
    May 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    It’s your blog. Do whatever you want.

  • MWoe
    May 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    It is disingenuous to criticize bloggers who get compensated, especially those who acknowledge compensation or advertise things that their readership are genuinely interested in. Especially a style /design oriented blog. Basically, keep it up!

  • kirsty
    May 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    i’ll keep reading your blog even if you get sponsored by george bush, or walmart — keep at it girl, your work is golden, no matter where the $ comes from! :)

  • jaime
    May 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    you provide a service to people. one that brings them pleasure and enjoyment. you don’t ask them to pay for it. you deserve to be paid for the work that you do, and having advertisers do it is the most beneficial way for your readers. people are foolish to demand that you work for free. ignore them.

  • allie
    May 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I didn’t chime in the other day, because I never expected people to be critical of this. But, I’ll chime in now. You should absolutely get paid, you should absolutely do whatever feels right and is best for you and your family. Really disappointed that others wouldn’t see that.

  • angie
    May 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Bravo! Keep up the good work.

  • Shoshana
    May 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I just wanted to say that I support you (ummm I guess not financially but Im all for doing what you need to do to keep up this blog that we all love)

  • NancyV908
    May 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Not sure if I’m supposed to repost under my original or here…but I was the one who thought the original comments seemed mostly respectful, & was puzzled by how they had been characterized. So, Nicole, if as others have pointed out, you were referring to comments that didn’t get published, I’m sorry. That’s another matter. At any rate, I reiterate my complete support for your decisions on sponsorship and advertising. Looking forward to seeing the bedroom, & all your other projects.

  • Licia
    May 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I hope the comments were not too impolite :-(
    I understand that people can have different opinions about what blogs should be about, so I just hope you can hear it and then let go. You are doing such an amazing job. Heck, I get design advice from you on a daily basis and I’m aware that it is valuable. Monetizing a blog responsibly is fine with me and I have yet to see otherwise from you. Keep doing the magic you do every day! As I said, I’m excited to see the bedroom makeover and I well know that, were it not for the sponsorship, I may not see it for quite some time!

  • mrs. jones
    May 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I don’t care whether people make money off their blogs or not. That’s not how I decide what blogs to read. I read yours because I like your posts, pictures, etc. But I did get a weird feeling when I read it yesterday because I just wasn’t expecting the sponsorship and it threw me off a little. It just didn’t sound like you. I immediately thought, uh oh, she might get some push back from this. That being said, it didn’t bother me enough to leave a negative comment or even unsubscribe from the blog. It is what it is, you know? I understand why some people made negative comments and of course, there’s always going to be someone out there who will play the negative nelly role. Take it with a grain of salt and move on. You know what’s good for your blog. Not them. You 100% deserve the sponsorships and everything else good that comes your way. I support your decision despite the fact I wasn’t crazy about the post. Life goes on, eh? You’re great, Nicole. Keep up the GOOD WORK!

  • Melissa de la Fuente
    May 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Absolutely! I love your site, though I rarely comment, and know how hard you work to make your site so lovely. I don’t know if folks realize how much work is involved and especially when you have little ones to tend to. I am so sorry you got negative responses. We can always count on the haters & negative nellie’s to make their voices heard.. I derive so much inspiration from you & completely support your lovely site.

  • Hasina
    May 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Well said, Nicole! There’s obviously a great amount of work that goes into your blog, and you absolutely deserve a compensation for that. I do however understand people’s concern that sponsorship may alter your voice but I trust your sense of ethics and your integrity. Keep up the good work!

  • Donna
    May 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Yes blogging is some serious work especially the good ones and not all are able to make money even if they tried to plus and not sure if this is the case or not but isn’t your blog linked with your business? How could anyone have a problem with that and even if not associated with your business and but something you keep up very well if I might say and want to get baid than that is your choice.

    I’ve actually found some great resouces via your ads here as well.

  • Sam
    May 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Yay for you, I didn’t comment before because I didn’t really think much about it other than, wow, that will be cool to see what she does, it seems a shame that people feel a need to judge, esp. about something that is provided for free.

  • Apartment B
    May 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    It must be so exciting for you to be able to do a sponsored project…I know I would be excited. Thanks for having such an awesome site and inspiring me to try my own hand at blogging.

  • Kat
    May 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I feel really sorry that you have felt forced into justifying your actions. Who could begrudge you making a living?

  • erin
    May 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    rock on! you put lots of time and effort into this and as you pointed out, it’s expensive to maintain. how dare your readers who count on your efforts (and monetary output) for their enjoyment every day begrudge you any benefit you might earn from it?

    i hope amex makes you a millionaire!

  • cindy
    May 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    every blogger wishes s/he could attain the success you have with yours. you’re authentic and a sponsorship won’t change that a bit. it’s a wonderful opportunity. have fun!

  • Down and Out Chic
    May 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    good for you! there are definitely mixed feeling about sponsored anything when it comes to blogs, but you have to what you’re comfortable with, which is the MOST important thing. your honesty is refreshing and i support you!

  • Todd
    May 7, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Very well said! I too make a pretty good living from my site. I think many people fail to realize HOW much work these sites take. If you were to figure out the hourly rate most would head for the doors. You do an amazing job and I hope you continue doing a great job and making a few dollars at the same time!

    You have my full support!!!

  • Trishna
    May 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Being a blogger myself I can totally understand and appreciate the amount of work you put into making it lovely. It almost is an enterprise, a full time project and since its your brainchild, the fear of its being redundant constantly pushes you to keep working at it and never be satisfied. Monetization the way you have done blends in perfectly with your layout and is tasteful. Keep doing what you do, I for one will never stop coming. :)

  • Kathy
    May 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm


    This is the first time I have EVER commenred on a blod, iam usually a silent reader but I just have to say that reading your posts at my dreary temp job are so uplifting! Keep up the good work , you inspire me :)


  • Kathy
    May 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm


    This is the first time I have EVER commenred on a blog, i am usually a silent reader but I just have to say that reading your posts at my dreary temp job are so uplifting! Keep up the good work , you inspire me :)


  • b.a.
    May 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    well, for starters nicole: i personally think that you can do no wrong. you could be drinking a diet pepsi in every single picture and chatting on your virgin mobile phone and providing soothing subliminal messages for background music and i would still read. i’d still read if a pop-up window advertised penile enhancers every time i checked your blog. BUT, more reasonably, i think anyone would be thrilled to make money from their creative outlet. why be a starving artist if you can be an…eating artist? right? congrats. go forth and earn!

    • luuve
      May 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm


    • Jill
      May 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

      Love this! Ditto. Nicole, you are fantastic and your blog is loverly.

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