Funding AuPairMom: Sponsored Content Opportunities

by cv harquail on August 7, 2015

Mary PoppinsHi All-

There’s a new opportunity for publishing your insights and advice on AuPairMom:  Sponsored Content.

In a nutshell, Sponsored Content is a chance for Au Pair Agencies and other Au Pair-related businesses and business people to connect with the AuPairMom community by paying to publish posts on the blog.

I hope that Sponsored Content will be one of several ways that the businesses that benefit from everyone’s efforts here can respond with their own contributions. I’ve never offered the Agencies or businesses a chance to contribute financially before. I hope they/you take me up on this offer!

My first draft at the details of this opportunity can be found here:

Sponsored Content: Share your expertise with our readers


As you know, AuPairMom has been — for the past 7 years and 997 posts–  a volunteer effort. Some might say a ‘labor of love’. Others might say … well let’s not even mention that.

This is my first effort at finding a sustainable funding model to support the blog.  I’m hoping that the community will be okay with the idea of sponsored content and that businesses will feel excited to contribute.

Stay tuned for a few more initiatives.

And, thank you to the folks who commented on the earlier post and sent suggestions via email. I’m taking your advice… (see? Right here!)

Please email me with any questions or suggestions on this plan.  

all the best and a happy weekend to you ~ cvh



Should be working August 7, 2015 at 5:15 pm

My comment showed up in your linked draft describing how sponsored content might work. As I wrote there: This blog is invaluable, your wisdom and writing incalculably worthwhile, you deserve untold fortunes for doing it. And I would like to sponsor the removal of this post–$300 to take this post down. Not joking. has always been so REAL, so YOU, so “US”. Sponsors are advertisers and are not real, not you, not us. Give me banner ads instead, at least it wouldn’t corrupt the genuine and multi-sided feel on this blog.

Sorry for being obnoxious, it’s my PASSION showing through here (high I!).

cv harquail August 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm


I don’t want to freak you out – you or any of the other community members! I’m expecting that (if /when folks take me up on this offer) we’ll be able to find the right spot of content that helps AuPairMom readers and presents a side of the sponsor that is real. I’m not interested in posts that are (as Chris Brogan calls them) ‘all selly-sell-sell’. We get to use our editorial judgement here…

For some background, banner ads with pay-per-click rates don’t generate much money anymore. Advertisers that would be interested in the APM demographic can find bigger, non-AP-specific communities for their banner ads. Our readership at 21,000 a month is a little small for these.

Another option, sidebar ads from agencies, are something we might pursue down the road. Since the readership is largely folks who already have agencies, there isn’t much oppty to get referral fees. And, I’ve never once, in my entire life as an au pair mom, ever gotten a referral fee from any agency, not even the one I sent all my neighbors to. I’m not sure these fees actually exist ;-).

I pitched the idea of sponsored posts to two agencies already. One agency stopped responding to our emails right after we published the post on ‘How Should Au Pair Host Parents Respond to Charges Against the Au Pair Program?’.

A second agency said that they already got all the benefits they needed from AuPairMom’s existence for free, so why would they need to advertise here? These two data points made me wonder whether sponsored posts will work– but since many other niche blogs do this it seemed worth a try.

When I was talking with another blogger about options for monetizing the blog, she pointed out that I’ve never actually given anyone a chance to contribute financially, even if they wanted to. Like, there’s nothing to buy, no ad sales, etc. Since I don’t want to go the way of APCH and become a site for paid members only, we’ll be experimenting with different options until we find some that fit.

And of course, if any of these seems to mess with the overall tone and position of the blog, or makes the community feel less trusting of the blog, then we’ll change things till they work.

Also– I’m open to other suggestions… so bring them on!

Bear with me?

American Host Mom in Europe August 8, 2015 at 4:27 am

The Forum for moms I used to moderate did a voluntary “collection hat” about every two years, to cover site hosting and other costs. Some people contributed the equivalent of 2-5$ (many were impoverished, unemployed love immigrants), while others gave more like $25. It was entirely voluntary, people could post about their contribution or privately message the Admins (so there was no shaming), and normally we hit the target amount so quickly we had to ask folks to stop. Today there are even websites like GoFundMe that make the collection process really easy. Could be a great option in this case to address most of what SBW wrote.

Should be working August 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Ok, sorry for the heavy gloom, I really do trust you CV! And you deserve some compensation here. I hereby wait patiently to see what happens. :)

WarmStateMomma August 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

What about affiliate links for Amazon, Expedia, etc? I buy an absurd amount from Amazon to avoid having to take a baby and toddler to the store with me. I don’t know how much money it would generate but it’s painless on the consumer’s end. I’d use your links to support your site.

cv harquail August 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Hi WSM– That’s a good idea– I’ll give some thought to what kinds of things make sense as affiliate links. Once upon a time I had some links from parenting books I recommended (e.g., 1-2-3 Magic!) but since the blog didn’t have many visitors at the time the links got no traffic. Now it might be a different story.
I’m with you on the absurd amount of stuff I buy via amazon. I thought I was kindof crazy until I discovered that one of my GFs buys her paper towels, shampoo, and all manner of household stuff via amazon. :-)

WarmStateMomma August 8, 2015 at 8:26 am

We do that! The Amazon affiliate program allows the affiliate to take a cut of almost any purchase, unless they’ve revised it, not just the items you identify. So I can buy anything by clicking through this site and a half percent would go to you. That half percent would add up fast if the other people who come here are as bad as my family about Amazon….

I think se travel sites do this too – like Expedia – but haven’t looked into it for years.

Host Mom DMP August 10, 2015 at 3:58 pm

I don’t have any objections to sponsored content, as long as it’s clearly identified as such. But I also like the idea of a voluntary “collection hat.” And I’m not sure of the mechanics of this, but I think that Paypal also has a monthly recurring payment option. I make monthly donations to a few blogs that I follow regularly, and I certainly get (and have gotten) enough value out of APM that it would be a no-brainer to do so here as well. (I would be sad to see you move to a paid subscription model, but I think a voluntary donation system would be worth a try!)

Host Mom DMP August 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Found this, regarding a “Donate” button to include on the site, and the option of recurring donations. (Not sure what the charges are, but again, worth a try?)

German Au-Pair August 10, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Just wondeirng…have you thought about creating (or having someone create) a logo or fun shirts for HP/APs? I’m not sure how this works entirely but I know some forums have done this and the members love it. As far as I understand it you create the options and readers can buy that on sites like spreadshirt and you get some of the profit. One forum in which I’m active has everything from hoodies, to shirts, to caps, to car stickers. It’s also a tightly knit community and when they meet up, everyone has their stuff ready.
I would imagine that the readers might want to contribute to the site in a way that also gets them something material. I think a shirt with a funny slogan would be a cute gift for incoming APs, especially if the whole family has one that matches.
Here you might want options that have the APMom logo on them for the ones who like to share the blog’s existence and some that don’t who wouldn’t want their AP on this site for anonymity.
Not sure if this is a possibility but might be worth looking into.

Another thing that works to my favorite go to forum a meetings that are set up and usually have a donation box. Not sure if and how this works on a blog like this with members spread out in such a huge country but I believe some areas have more people than others. If you maybe got a little prime member corner that would allow the HP to get in touch to meet in real live or something like that? Again, not sure if this is an option for this blog but that way people could lose their anonymity in a secure place and meet up with others who think alike.

Just throwing in some ideas.

TexasHM August 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm

German AP you made me think of something. A lot of new families ask what to give AP for birthdays or Christmas or welcome gifts, maybe CV we take some of the great ideas on the site and use that as a win/win channel? I realize that’s probably not less work for you but maybe have a fulfillment arm…just thinking out loud…

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