We were recently approached by a business offering to sponsor Weblogs.us by paying a portion of our monthly hosting costs, in return for hosting approximately 200-300 pages of commercial content. This seemed like a good thing because it would help us defray hosting costs and spend some of those savings on improving our hosting for our users.
Unfortunately, in a mixup that is my fault (for not properly supervising), two of our bloggers had commercial content posted to their blogs. Worst of all, the content was made to look like the bloggers had written it.
Thankfully, within hours of being notified by the two bloggers, I had the content removed and their blogs back to normal. I have already emailed my sincere apologies to the two bloggers affected, but I would like to reiterate those apologies here.
We also have a number of old blogs that have been abandonedfor 3+ years. Those blogs have a notice at the top of the blogs notifying their original blog owners that the blogs are: scheduled for suspension and that backups of all content are available at the blog owners request, or the blogs can be immediately suspended/deleted at the bloggers request. Our sponsor asked to be able to put linked articles/posts on those inactive blogs, for the time being the articles will remain but the notice specifies that any recent commercial links/articles on those inactive blogs are not by the original blog owner.
By years end I hope to have cleared out those old inactive blogs (blogs that haven’t been logged into for 2-3 years) and freeing up those resoures for our active users. If some of the subdomains have SEO value for our sponsor then we may use the subdomain only for hosting commercial sponsor content, but the blog will clearly be marked as commercial and it will not reference or use any of the previous blog’s content. It will be the subdomain only.
There is a fine line to be walked between pleasing commercial sponsors (who want the most SEO bang for their buck, sometimes in the most obtrusive ways) and respecting bloggers. I hope this current setup is a good one: active bloggers have total freedom to blog as they see fit with NO commercial impositions, really old abandoned blogs may temporarily have commercial links added (w/notices), and hopefully soon even really old abandoned blogs won’t have any commercial links that could be confusing to visitors of those blogs.
Weblogs.us always has been and always will be a free service for our users and we are always trying to find ways to improve our service. Due to this sponsorship we will be able to afford some new dedicated Raptor hard drives for our VMs that are currently on a shared hard drive. This should greatly improve performance for all our bloggers.
I would like to thank our sponsor and our bloggers for their continued support.