Don't Sell Ads on Your Blog:

Just a friendly public service reminder, prompted by a brief conversation I had over the weekend: If you (1) make only a little money by selling ads on your blog (or having a tipjar), and (2) you have homeowner's insurance (or, in some instances, renter's insurance), and (3) you worry about the possible risk of defamation lawsuits, invasion of privacy lawsuits, and the like -- and the expense of defending the lawsuits even if you ultimate prevail -- consider going entirely noncommercial.

As I discussed three years ago, many homeowner's insurance policies cover you for libel, invasion of privacy, and the like, including for the costs of defending the lawsuits. But they generally expressly exempt liability that's based on your "business pursuits," which may include even those pursuits on which you make a pittance.

So check your insurance policy, and if it fits the description I give, check your ad and tip income. If it's, say, only $250/year after taxes, ask yourself: Would I spend $250/year to buy insurance against libel and invasion of privacy liability (and defense costs)? If your answer is yes, then consider giving up any business aspect to your blog, which will give you insurance coverage in exchange.