Allow me to step in here if I may and apologize up front for any confusion.
I know new things like this can be a bit jarring, but bear with us. We're trying to do a good job, stick with our mission and keep the lights on. And we're trying to be classy at the same time...
Indeed, we are not only a business, but a growing one with a lot of readers that come to the site each day and a lot of ideas for things we want to do. There are so many creative and useful things we want to do, but all of it requires money to pay for office space, writers and more and more technology and bandwidth to meet our needs and your desires.
To do all of this we sell advertising, but we try hard to make the advertising as useful, relevant and attractive as possible. In fact, we work hard to make sure that all of our advertising suits the site.
In the past few months we've actually been decreasing the ad spots on our pages in favor of fewer better paying placements. We don't want to clutter up the site and I think you are probably familiar with websites that are more cluttered with ads than AT.
Sponsored posts are one of our newest ideas and one that we are doing only very sparingly out of respect for our readers and our advertisers. This is a special type of ad.
We generate our own theme - something we think is useful to our readers - and then ask the shop to send us relevant products for us to hone in on. We, Jill actually, then picks the pieces that she thinks work best and writes a post that she feels is as helpful to readers as it is promoting of the shop. We know it's an ad, but we'd rather do it ourselves than have someone else do it.
We will ONLY do it with shops that we feel totally comfortable promoting and we will only write it ourselves in order to make sure it fits with our style.
We are also making sure to mark it off clearly so that you know exactly what it is.
And we are only posting one sponsored post per week out of the over 400 posts that go up on the AT sites during the same time.
I really hope that this takes the edge off any disappointment that you initially felt and please give us an feedback that you have in the comments thread below. If there's any way we can do this better, we'll try it.