When I started this website in 2001, it was a simple project required to earn my graduate degree in educational technology. At the time, all of the pages were created by writing html into a text file. It was a painstakingly long process and the pages never really looked like I wanted them to. Eventually, I purchased a copy of Dreamweaver, which greatly simplified making pages and decided to continue the project so that I could share material with my students and other staff members. I had a simple hosting company, one of those “1 dollar per month” packages that I thought should be sufficient to cover my students and coworkers. It was, at first.
At some point, traffic really increased and my hosting company evicted me. Traffic costs money and their server couldn’t handle the demand and they certainly weren’t willing to do it for 1$. I had to move the site to another location, Amazon offered a cloud service (AWS) that would allow me to only pay for traffic that is used. Still, every visitor, every click, every download is a small cost, multiply that my 50,000 visitors per day, it was getting very expensive.
In order to keep the site going, I applied for an Adsense account and started placing ads on pages. It does work to offset the traffic costs, though I understand it would be nice if the pages were free of advertising. Most of the pages have a print file attached so that when you print an html page, it should not print the ads, and I’ve also been slowly adding pdf files for downloads. It’s not a perfect situation, but it is the internet, and as teachers we are living in a time where so many ideas can be shared. We don’t need to buy expensive workbooks and manuals and teacher’s guide when we can just Google an idea for a project and someone might already have it ready. I’ve even thrown away most of the binders I kept with projects and dittos (yes, those were still around when I started) in favor of digital storage.
So, next time an ad pops up on a site you like to visit, consider that your viewing of that ad is keeping the site in business. That includes your favorite education sites, game sites, and nowadays, most news sites. I know many of us consider ad blockers because the ads are intrusive, but using an ad blocker means that the owner is paying for your visit, out of their own pocket. It probably doesn’t mean that much to big companies like Pearson, but it does really hurt the little guy. This also relates to Net Neutrality, but that is a whole other story.