a peek inside the fishbowl

28 Mar, 2011

Top ad revenue-generating blogs in Ottawa

Posted by andrea tomkins in: The business of blogging

Fair warning. I’ve rewritten this post and removed any mention of ranking because the ranking rankled the ranks. I get it. :)

Since I was going to be a co-panelist for a Professional Writer’s Association of Canada (PWAC) seminar about blog monetization I thought it might be a good idea to know who else is selling ad space in Ottawa. More specifically, I wanted to know, how many independent bloggers in Ottawa actually make money by selling ad space on their sites? **

By “advertising” and “making money” I am referring to ad sales, network ads (like BlogHer ads), and affiliate ads that add up to an income of over $20/month. [ETA: is that a fair number? I think we have to draw the line somewhere. :) ]

I put the call out on Twitter on Saturday morning, and my fellow tweeps helped me come up with a few names. A few of their suggestions were blogs I hadn’t thought of (because clearly, I can’t follow every single blog that’s based in and around Ottawa) so I thought I’d make a list.

Why bother, you ask? I’m asked about blog monetization a LOT, both online and offline, and I’d like to be able to (a) point to other blogs as an example and (b) maybe touch base with those blogs at some point too. I’m not the only one in this market who sells advertising. Maybe we can support each other and help one another out?

This list will change and grow. Right now it’s a very short list, but I hope that you will help me sort it out.

You game?

Here are some blogs that currently earn revenue in the Ottawa area.

If you would like to be added, please leave a comment below!

Edited earlier: I reformatted this list because some people weren’t keen to be part of this conversation and didn’t want to be ranked. That’s ok! I just wanted to show other people (including potential advertisers, media, etc etc) that there are other great bloggers who are earning revenue too. I’m not the only one! What’s more we need to support one another too.

If you know of a blogger who is earning a revenue from his or her blog, please let me know in the comments below. Thank you!

** I want to take a moment to point out that earning money from ad sales isn’t the bloggy holy grail. There are many other ways of profiting from your blog. Blogging has great value. Your blog can be a springboard for paid work, free swag (if that’s important to you), and can result in other great opportunities, not to mention wonderful friendships too. But I’m talkin’ about ads here, just to keep things organized. Thank you!

37 Responses to "Top ad revenue-generating blogs in Ottawa"

1 | DaniGirl

March 28th, 2011 at 10:42 am


Hi Andrea,

I’ve been thinking about this since you asked on twitter and figured I’d post my thoughts here. I’m happy to serve as an example of a blogger who is making money from ad revenue and yes, it’s more than $20 per month. :) However, I’m fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of a list that ranks bloggers by monetization success.

At first, I thought my reaction was because salary and wages are generally a taboo subject — it’s not polite dinner party chatter to ask the guy sitting next to you what his gross income was last year. But really, why is it taboo? Not really a good reason not to share.

Then I thought maybe it was because I’ve been around long enough to remember when monetizing your blog was seen as selling out. And while I have never really actively pursued monetizing my blog, I’d be hypocritical to say that I don’t enjoy the part-time income it provides. I funded my new camera entirely from blog and photography sources. So that’s not really it.

I think my concern lies more in the idea of a ranked list and what purpose it might serve. Would an advertiser or sponsor be more or less inclined to approach a top monetizer or someone who had monetized less? Not sure. Is there an educational benefit to other bloggers to know who is pulling in top bucks in the local blog community from blogging? Again, I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. Is there any real benefit to you or me in sharing this info? Hmmm, again, I don’t think so.

This is an interesting exercise, no doubt. Like I said, I’m happy to be known as a blogger who has turned her passion into a part-time income — in more ways than one!! I’m happy to chat individually with anyone who has questions about ad revenue and don’t mind sharing my rates — but I’d prefer not to be part of a city-wide revenue ranking.

Sorry for the rambly comment — now you can see why I didn’t spell all this out on Twitter! :)

2 | DaniGirl

March 28th, 2011 at 10:59 am


Sorry, you’ve really got my creaky old brain churning on this. Here’s another thought — what might be really nice to have is a list somewhere of all the Ottawa blogs that are open to advertisers. That might be beneficial to both the blogging community and the advertisers.

I think I’m worried that a potential sponsor who is not intimately familiar with the blog community might automatically assume a top revenue earner is a better blogger or has a bigger reach or any other assumptions that might easily be made by someone who is new-ish to blogging. But a little Ottawa blog guide that shows blog focus and reach and target audiences and favourite subjects for those blogs that are ad-friendly… but where to host it and how?


3 | andrea

March 28th, 2011 at 12:02 pm


It started when I began to look for other bloggers who were earning revenue from their blogs because I was looking for examples, and wanted to mention them in my talk at the PWAC seminar and let the wider community know who is out there… and how they’re doing it. I think it’s interesting. And Dani, if you prefer not to be mentioned I will remove you from this post. Just say the word.

4 | angela

March 28th, 2011 at 12:23 pm


i find this interesting:). i am a photographer who blogs. i do not have a photography business, per se, but i do make an income from my photography, both in the real world and because of being online.

as a new blogger, i pay attention to the successful blogs and often wonder how the ad thing works. i do not have ads ( other than the adsense ones ) and question often whether or not it makes a difference to me. i mean, really, who would not like some extra income doing something you love. or are doing anyways. but then there are many concerns i have around monetization and responsibility to your advertisers and the whole issue of freebies, gifts and whatnot.

you, andrea, spell it out very clearly in your ad policies, and i find that to be a terrific guideline. i don’t think every blog benefits from their ads and i am always impressed when i find a blogger who maintains their philosophical goals with good marketing and advertiser choices. does that make sense? the bloggers that are less discriminate..well, i think that is reflected in their blog and overall feel.

i like the idea of you putting out there the fact that there are bloggers who are open to advertisers and successful at it. i would hope that listing top earners would not discourage an advertiser from advertising with the blog that best suits them and developing a relationship that could benefit both blogger and advertiser as opposed to just going with the blog with the highest numbers. but that would depend more on the advertiser than the blogger, wouldn’t it?

i think the exposure of what you are suggesting is a good thing. i hope it generates interest in a wide selection of blogs and allows more writers the chance to be successful ( however they measure it ) at their craft:).

as for your list of blogs, i am happy to recognize all of them as blogs i frequent regularly…but at the same time i am sad that there were not some i am not familiar with. i hope the list grows:).

5 | andrea

March 28th, 2011 at 12:43 pm


I opened a kettle of worms, haven’t I?

Thank you for your comment Angela – I am a fan of your photography and really appreciate your insight into this community of ours.

When I’m asked about monetizing a blog I have often told people that it might not be the best thing for them. It’s not the only avenue for sure. I really want to stress that blogs have many many different kinds of value.

Blogs – whatever the topic – can help position people as experts in their field, help create digital scrapbooks of their family life, build community, educate … those are only a few examples of things are enormously valuable, and I think that in the race to make money it often gets forgotten.

Advertisers don’t always want to go with the “biggest” bloggers. I think many are now considering a lot of other variables, including how engaged the blogger is with a particular community, no matter the size.

I think we can all learn from each other here, which is one of the things I love so much about blogging. And I am more than happy to share my experience with anyone who asks.

6 | andrea

March 28th, 2011 at 1:27 pm


Again, it’s not for everyone, but a few of you might find this ranking of interest, “Make Money Blogging: Top Bloggers And How Much They Earn”.

7 | The Digerati Life

March 28th, 2011 at 1:49 pm


Thanks for posting my article here Andrea — I tracked it back here via my site tracker. Anyway, just wanted you to know that my niche has spawned a lot of professional full time bloggers. I am one of them. I used to be a software engineer but I make 3x what I used to make as a 9-to-5er now that I’m an online publisher. I run a few online ventures and do it via freelancing, blogging and other types of web projects. A big chunk does come from blogging though.

The way I look at it, blogging can be thought of as a hobby or as a business. Things changed for me when I decided to look at things as an entrepreneur and began to run my sites as true businesses. I noticed how the same principles offline also apply to running an online business.

Best of luck to all!

8 | Amy @ Muddy Boots

March 28th, 2011 at 1:56 pm


I used to have adsense ads on my blog and was accepted (or whatever the word) by BlogHer, but never got around to setting it up. I found the adsense ads just weren’t worth it. Fo the couple $$ a month, I found them too ugly and distracting to justify. Now that was almost two years ago and I do get far more traffic now, so maybe that would make a difference?

Around the time I took the ads off, I was also getting super sick of all the product hocking on many of the blogs I was reading (and have since unsubscribed to). I was tired of going through my reader and finding half a dozen posts about cereal or Clorox wipes! I decided I didn’t want to end up losing readers because of ads on my blog that I had no control over.

When you talk about ads though, Andrea, are you including sponsors? I have to admit I like the idea of that much better. There’s more control of not only the look/aesthetics, but also whether or not what is being sold/advertised is of value to your readers (ie, not having adsense put up formula ads next to my posts about nursing).

In my particular situation, I don’t think it would make sense for me to seek out sponsors seeing as 1) our chose lifestyle won’t see us settle in a given “market” for more than a year or two; and 2) I’m not at a point in my life (parenting young kids, new baby on the way, etc) that I can commit to blogging ‘x’ amount of times per week… or even to putting out worthwhile content! :)

I also hope that a ranking like this won’t steer PR people towards only the biggest blogs. For example, while Annie’s blog is pretty big, a smaller blog like Kids in the Capital or Losing it Ottawa might be a much better fit for a company wanting to reach specific segments of the Ottawa market…

9 | Laura

March 28th, 2011 at 4:14 pm


As a newbie blogger, this is so interesting! I’ve attended your information session (Ottawa Brain Drain) about blog monetization to try and understand how it worked. It is a tricky subject to discuss, so thanks for sharing…it is helpful. :)

10 | andrea

March 28th, 2011 at 5:04 pm


Thank you all for your balanced discussion so far. I have appreciated your comments – here and on Twitter. I reformatted this page to make it more inclusive. Perhaps it has less value this way, but whatever. I didn’t want people to feel bad about where they are with their blogs.

11 | Sara-Lynne

March 28th, 2011 at 5:11 pm


Hi Andrea
Thanks for this article, very interesting. I think a potential advertiser is not always looking for biggest but looking for audience. Macaroni Kid is a great resource for parents. We are hyperlocal and accept ads but we are very selective about who we work with and have turned down ads if its not the right fit for our readers or our audience. For me, it’s not about the money but looking for places to build relationships with and provide value to our readers. Cheers!

12 | andrea

March 28th, 2011 at 5:37 pm


Sara-Lynn, as per above, it’s true. Advertisers don’t always want to go with the “biggest” bloggers. I think many are now considering a lot of other variables, including how engaged the blogger is with a particular community, no matter the size.

13 | S

March 28th, 2011 at 6:47 pm


Apt 613 is a registered non-profit with NO ads ever. The contributors volunteer their time.

It does not earn any revenue.

14 | Francois

March 28th, 2011 at 9:54 pm


Hey Sam,

Actually we do get revenue, not through ads at the moment but through a partnership we developed with Ottawa Tourism towards the end of the summer.

We’ve had the advertising conversation many many times and while non of us are against advertising per se, it has to be the right fit for us and we’re still trying to figure this out.

15 | andrea

March 29th, 2011 at 8:20 am


I was talking to Mark about this last night. How would I feel if there was a list of 100 top revenue-generating blogs in Canada and I wasn’t on it? I would be happy for their success. I wouldn’t be angry, or envious. I would honestly think WOW, how cool. THEY MADE IT WORK. And then I would think, How can I learn from their success?

I don’t profess to be an expert on any of this stuff. But I have been around a long time and have tried a lot of different things and I’ve been able to figure out what works for me. That’s one of the things I really love about social media. There’s always something to learn. That’s why I feel so strongly about the Ottawa Brain Events too.

I wanted to state for the record that I still don’t see anything wrong with posting a ranking of bloggers based on factual information.

When those facts weren’t forthcoming, well, I had no list, so I pulled it.

I have had some really supportive emails and messages about this all, thank you for that. I am sorry this topic made some of you feel bad, or uncomfortable. It’s true the issue of income is a private one, but blog ads are publicly displayed, to some degree we can all look and see who’s making it work.

I think that if a blogger is going to turn his or her blog into a business by putting up ads, the conversation about money has to happen. I do what I can to share my successes and failures in this area and I freely give information to whomever asks for it. I was hoping to create a resource that would show what local bloggers are generating revenue – and not just a small circle of parenting bloggers either.

The ranking gave it a fun twist. (Ha. Fun in my books anyway.) The list was not meant to reflect some kind of popularity contest and I think some of you interpreted it that way.

I had hoped that we could learn from each other here, and that it could have lead to more advertising for the other bloggers too.

But, whatever. I rewrote the post because I was uncomfortable with making you uncomfortable. Make sense?

That is all. Thank you for hearing me out.

16 | Big Cajun Man

March 29th, 2011 at 8:54 am


Hello, making money? Not really, I attempt to offset my costs mostly.

Other known Ottawa bloggers with Advertising?


All of who(m) I have met and live in the Ottawa area. You could include Larry MacDonald on there too, but he isn’t a blogger really, he is an actual paid writer.

17 | DaniGirl

March 29th, 2011 at 9:46 am


Hi again Andrea,

I debated yesterday whether to send my comments via e-mail or in the comment box, and I had the same internal dialogue today. But heck, I started out loud, so I guess I’ll continue on.

After reading your most recent comment above, I can see how you’re feeling kind of disappointed that this didn’t work out as you’d expected and I feel bad about that. I wanted to let you know that something quite positive came out of this conversation: not one but two bloggers contacted me yesterday to ask about ads and promotion (as I’d said above that I was open to), and one replied to my reply that she was now feeling inspired to go out and approach a sponsor she’d been considering. So thanks to you and this conversation, at least one more blogger is feeling empowered. Yay! It’s a good day for all of us when someone in the community has a success story to share. :)

18 | andrea

March 29th, 2011 at 10:27 am


That’s awesome Dani. Congrats! Thank you for coming back to share the great news!

19 | Harry Nowell

March 29th, 2011 at 10:47 am


Hi Andrea,

A few years ago I recognized there was value in the web stats we were generating and decided to offer limited, targeted advertising. It’s worked well and provides extra revenue every year.

I’ve worked as a photographer (~ 20 years), run photo workshops (>10 years) and write a photo related blog three times a week that indexes well for Ottawa photo blogs.

In a market where people are often undercutting I’ve had to look for different ways to generate revenue while keeping my fees worthwhile. Advertising helps.

You say “… we need to support one another too.” So true! In 2007 we started a networking group for Working Creatives – people working (full time) in a creative field – writing, photography, design.

Thanks for what you do, Andrea.

20 | Lara

March 29th, 2011 at 2:28 pm


I find this whole conversation fascinating. Everyone comes from such different points of view!
Personally, I think that talking about the value of advertising is great. By talking about how much people make, advertisers will realize they can’t expect to get an ad for say, $10/month. Instead it’s more of a guess- both advertisers and bloggers have no idea where to start! Some ads are paid, some ads aren’t, some people charge $10, some charge $200.
I know a lot of conversations happen offline about some of this stuff, and putting things online makes things permanently public… So I do understand people’s hesitation, and like I said, VERY interesting conversation.

I hope we can all have more conversations about the topic offline where everyone feels more comfortable and that your event goes well!

21 | andrea

March 29th, 2011 at 3:14 pm


I think you raise a good point about rates Lara. But I want to clarify, it was never my intention to publish rates of individual bloggers. I wasn’t even going to group them according to income … just list them in order. But people were uncomfortable with even that.

But, whatever! No hard feelings. :)

22 | andrea

March 29th, 2011 at 3:19 pm


It looks like a lot of people are following this convo. For the second day running it’s my #1 post. I’ve also received a couple of interesting offers today. Hmm.

Readers, reveal yourselves! Are you offended? Indifferent? Stunned? :)

23 | Jennifer

March 29th, 2011 at 3:42 pm


You know my answer, Absolutly NOT offended by the ads. In fact if done right, I thnk the ads are useful and I use them to get useful information, services, activities, etc.. I trust some bloggers more then I trust newspapers to provide useful and relevant information. I know that when you write something Andrea no one has directly influenced your opinions (whether through paying you or via other means). Usually when I read the newspaper these days I wonder what they are trying to sell me!

All this to say, if newspapers can sell ads, why can’t blogs? As a reader I have no problem with it.

24 | Capital Mom

March 29th, 2011 at 6:47 pm


I have been lurking on this page the past two days, although I missed the very first version of the post.

I totally understand what you tried to do Andrea. Intellectually I can see how a ranked list of blogs would be interesting. We could see who in Ottawa was making money and who was making more then others.

I have been thinking a lot about why I was uncomfortable sharing. I can’t decide if it was the idea of the ranking or the idea of publicly talking about money. As you mentioned above, the ads are public, but the price of the ads and the information about the income we make isn’t. Even though you weren’t going to share the amounts I was still cautious.

I am tempted to pull the “I blame my parents” card. I did not grow up talking about money and I am not very comfortable talking about it. I would talk about it face to face if asked but I am uncomfortable about having the information published (even in a ranked list without amounts attached).

Despite being a blogger I am pretty private. Yes we all make our lives public when we blog, but we make public the parts of our lives that we chose. Some of us share more then others. I have come to share more then I ever thought I would, like pictures of the kids twice a year :-), but there are things I would never be okay with sharing that other bloggers are.

This post has definitly given me lots to think about. Given some time I may have worked my way around to sharing the info. Saying yes wasn’t my first reaction so I have needed some time to think about it.

25 | Rebecca

March 29th, 2011 at 9:49 pm


De-lurking ;)

This has been an interesting conversation, but it always is, even in offline context like Lara said.

Since my sites are welcoming ads, I am biased in that I think they aren’t a bad thing. I think some sites lend themselves easier to them though and at the end of the day, good quality and great content will still trump and needs to be part of the blog (it’s also how ad revenue will repeat itself, rather than be a one-time deal)

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in entering the ‘ad’ world late, it’s that taking the time to establish what you are comfortable with is extremely important.

The more we talk about the business of blogging, the easier and more fluid these conversations will become.

I’m sorry this was difficult Andrea, but your honesty on the topic will open many doors for those of us who didn’t know where to start, or weren’t sure if we should talk about this topic.

26 | angela

March 30th, 2011 at 10:45 am


and of course, yesterday i was asked by a friend/business owner how to create a blog and go about monetizing it. i had already directed her to all the blogs here a few months ago and she is intrigued bu the whole idea of business and community support intermingled. i liked her *outsider’s* understanding of it – she shed a different light on it for me.

27 | coffee with julie

March 30th, 2011 at 12:26 pm


You know what I would love and would consider extremely valuable? If all of us Ottawa bloggers who are accepting/soliciting advertisers would get together and agree on a consistent rate to charge. Or at least a minimum rate to charge. It could be like a local version of Federated Media (https://advertisers.federatedmedia.net/) I really believe that this would serve us very well in terms of earning potential and general awareness around the value of a blog ad.

28 | Annie @ PhD in Parenting

March 30th, 2011 at 2:49 pm


I dispute the #1 and #2 ranking because I’m pretty sure Andrea is making more than I do. :)

Beyond that, I’m happy to share my rates with people in one-on-one conversations or in small group settings, but I’m not really comfortable with the idea of publishing rates or of getting together to agree on a fixed rate (isn’t that illegal under the Competition Act anyway?).

I do know that I have a vastly different market than most Ottawa bloggers. My audience is not an Ottawa audience, although I do have a lot of readers from Ottawa. Around 2/3 of my readers are in the United States, so I attract a different type of advertiser than most local blogs would.

29 | Kathleen

March 31st, 2011 at 12:43 am


Such an interesting conversation. Since reading Nino Ricci’s letter to the Globe and Mail last week I’ve been thinking a lot about how writers are paid, who we are paid by and how much we are paid for our work.

Nino Ricci, one of Canada’s most celebrated contemporary writers, went 6 months without being paid for the research, writing and travel costs of an article he wrote. I didn’t realize that happened to writers as well published as him by newspapers as established as the Globe. I appreciated that he went public about writing and money — he didn’t mention numbers, but concepts.

Apparently Ricci’s letter was so widely tweeted that the G & M paid him within days of the letter going public. Although I was happy for Ricci that he finally got paid, it was frustrating to learn that there was money available, the powers that be were just not using that money to pay writers whose work they had requested and published.

Ricci didn’t mention the fee he was owed. But he was still talking money. Openly.

I think this public discussion about blog revenue — ads, sponsors, swag and such — is also highly valuable. Quality blogging takes time and effort. I agree, Andrea, that there are all kinds of reasons for blogging and all kinds of professional and personal benefits from the time invested in blogging.

I blog for a cycling magazine (www.momentumplanet.com). By being affiliated with a magazine that has North American distribution, I benefit from extensive exposure that I wouldn’t receive were I blogging privately. I also benefit from working with a great team of editors and publishers. There are well chosen cycling related ads that come with the web site. I’m interested in them, so I’m sure other readers are too.

Those ads help pay for the magazine, contribute to the honorarium I earn monthly for the blog and, I think, are generally useful for the target audience.

Thanks for a great discussion, Andrea! I’m looking forward to hearing more from other bloggers.

30 | Amy @ Muddy Boots

March 31st, 2011 at 6:16 pm


Andrea (and others) did you see this post on Babble? http://blogs.babble.com/strollerderby/2011/03/31/how-much-do-top-mommybloggers-earn-from-their-blogs-and-is-it-enough/ . I’m going to quote the bit that stood out to me the most in relation to this conversation:

“In my own case, I would absolutely love to have the opportunity to sit down with other mommybloggers and lay it all out on the table with regard to how much our personal blogs are earning via ad revenue and other income opportunities. I know I am not alone among other mombloggers in that I honestly have no idea whatsoever whether I am earning a reasonable amount relative to my blog’s traffic. I know that it sure doesn’t seem like much when I look at what other types of online publications are charging for fewer pageviews than I am getting. Increasingly, I suspect that the very thing that makes the mommyblogging community so special and wonderful – our collaborative, supportive and non-competitive approach to what we do – is also the thing that is allowing more traditional business entities to take advantage of us – both individually and as a group.

While it’s undoubtedly flattering and fun to make one of the “top mommyblogger” lists, I look forward to a day when those accolades can somehow translate into the ability for the women who receive them to be fairly compensated for the pageviews and audience that they deliver, even as we continue to support and inspire one another in the same wonderful way that we always have.”

If I knew how to make things bold here :) I’d have done it to the following: “earning a reasonable amount relative to my blog’s traffic”

I’d love to know what a reasonable advertising rate would be for a blog that’s getting 100 page views a day or 500 or several thousand. I wish it could be broken down into some sort of easy to understand chart or table or ratio… ie, how much is my blog potentially worth to advertisers based on ‘x’ amount of page views per day… is it “worth it” to monetize my blog, both for me and the advertiser?

31 | Friday bullets >> a peek inside the fishbowl

April 1st, 2011 at 9:20 am


[…] in the blogosphere about mother bloggers and what they earn from their blogs. (Remember my post here?) Interested? Grab an EXTRA extra large coffee and start by reading this, then this, then […]

32 | Lee

April 1st, 2011 at 2:05 pm


Many bloggers don’t post their rate sheet for their advertising space. What, in your opinion, would the the down-side to publishing your rates?

33 | andrea

April 2nd, 2011 at 7:52 am


Thank you all for your thoughts and insights. I’m still mulling this over.

I don’t publish my actual rates on my ad page because I want the advertiser to contact me directly. This gives me the opportunity to make a connection with them that I wouldn’t have been able to make otherwise.

34 | andrea

April 2nd, 2011 at 7:56 am


Amy –
Thank you for the link and pulling that great quote from it. I think it’s an incredibly important topic to discuss. Women have been earning less than men since the beginning of time. Maybe part of the reason for that is because of the self-created taboo of talking about money. Why does it make us feel so uncomfortable? And if we don’t talk about it, how will we know we’re getting a fair wage?

35 | Lee

April 2nd, 2011 at 10:54 am


Andrea, thanks for answering my question!

36 | Elisha

September 15th, 2012 at 3:32 am


Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet
Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!

Other then that, excellent blog!

37 | Get Ready for Elections: Canada is No Exception - Canadian Personal Finance Blog

February 1st, 2024 at 1:46 pm


[…] Fish had an interesting post about Top Ad Revenue Generating Blogs in Ottawa, where I was mentioned (shows how small the Ottawa market it, I […]


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