Subscription pop-ups are a pain in the ass, yet every single successful blogger I’ve come across uses them on their site. My assumption is because they just plain work at converting.

To me, this kind of situation is a crux of building a successful blog. Do you follow other people’s lead because it works, even if it goes against how you feel about it? Is this what new car salesmen go through on day one of their initiation?

Pop-up ads were such a despised thing a decade ago, so I don’t know how this came to be ethically accepted by those respected in the blogosphere. I feel like at one time they were all considered equally abhorrent, then they split into two species.

The pop-under, which I will dub Morlock ads, was the sneakier of the two and has been relegated to the darker sites in the porn and file sharing realms. The pop-up, which shall be named the Eloi ads, has been somewhat controlled at the browser level, but has seen a resurgence on individual websites trying to grow email lists, which came to be somewhat accepted through social conditioning.

Perhaps my aversion to this is a revealing chink in the armor as to why I’ve yet to prevail at blogging. There are just certain things I am uncomfortable with at this point in time, and subscription pop-ups are one of them. I know how I feel when they pop up, and I know how I react. I divert my eyes to purposefully not view the pitch (my own childish, personal protest) and hit the exit button as soon as I see it. I don’t want people feeling like that about my site.

In a way this reminds me of my feelings about poker. I love Texas Hold’em (mostly online, because socially I’m more Gollum-esque), but I realized early on I could never do what the professional players do. You have to want to lie and steal other people’s money to win. That might sound provocative, but when you boil it down, that’s all you’re trying to do. It’s acceptable because every person entering the game understands this and is trying to do the same thing.

I may have become involved in some less than admirable business ideas over the years, but most of that was ambition crossed with naivete’ and nothing more. What I found is that I don’t have that killer instinct to earn at all costs. I take people’s feelings into consideration maybe a bit too much at times, and that’s the kind of fresh meat the poker pros like to roll over at the table.

Unfortunately for me, building an email list seems to be one of the few things that every expert agrees on as being vital to your success. That doesn’t mean I want to plaster my site with delayed pop-ups to get them though. I’d much prefer to wait until someone opts in without intervention before I start annoying them.

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