Zulie Rane’s Policy on Ads, Sponsorship, and Branded Content

Zulie Rane
7 min readJan 11, 2023
Image sourced from the Midjourney Discord server. I like this picture because it represents exactly how I feel about being inundated with branded, sponsored, and advertising content.

This blog post is mostly about everything I think is wrong about the ad-driven online creator world today, and also to announce that I’m launching a newsletter subscription called Ad-Free Zulie.

The subscription includes my content with no paywalls, no ads, no popups, no sponsors, no branding, nothing. Only value.


Why am I doing this?

“Not another newsletter subscription!” I hear the naysayers call.

Hey, I get it! But you want to know why I really believe in this?

I would like to live in a world without ads. More importantly, I would like to create content in a world without ads.

Today’s world is built to show ads to people, rather than to deliver quality content. I don’t just mean billboards and TV ads. I am talking about how online media has been altered by the inexorable pressure of digital advertisers.

You probably don’t even realize how insidious it is! At least, I didn’t until I started making money by posting stuff online. Over the course of the next few years, I learned how almost everything I post is influenced by brands and ads.

A non-exhaustive list of examples:


Did you know YouTube videos are more profitable if you make them about ad-friendly topics?

For example, when I make videos about writing, I don’t earn much money. When I make videos about money? That niche is a lot more profitable — to advertisers. Not to my viewers. This is because advertisers think that people who watch videos about money are prepared to spend more money.

Here are two videos, posted around the same time, of a similar length, and with a similar number of views:

A video about personal finance earns $24.41 per 1,000 views