For years, I've tried to eek a bite out of server costs by running ads on my website. I've tried several varieties and companies, and the past few years I've just used google ads. I've never made much money... recently it's been a couple hundred bucks a year. And for what? To get anyone to click anything I have to subject every single visitor to them. I decided it's not worth it.
I'm doing well enough at my day job that I can support this site myself. Costs are not astronomical... about $60 a month for spacefem.com and all the other sites I host (a few good-size non-profits, some hosting 'clients' who I can never remember to bill, etc). Don't ask me why it took me so long to arrive at this no-ad conclusion... I guess I felt dorky telling other people that I pay for server space to run a website for fun, so if I ran ads I could act like it was some sort of money-making venture, and people might relate. But who cares if they relate?
And let's face it, everyone is using the internet now, and fewer and fewer people are dumb enough to think we're using it for free. Facebook may not be billing your credit card but they collect tons of information on us. Google is a nice company but they're trying to expand their market share, and they are a company. Publicly traded, needing to show a profit, doing what they can. Not in it for charity. If someone ever points a finger at me and calls me stupid for paying to run a website, I feel like I can point a finger back at them and ask what they're sacrificing for the internet.
It just occurred to me that the site would feel a lot more free if it didn't have ads on it. I thought it'd be nice if I personally could surf around and not see evidence of Google's hold on the web, and I bet my members (who I love) feel the same way.
I still have a link to my cafepress store on the main page, because I think that stuff is fun and cute and I get to chose EXACTLY what I show people there. But the money I make from cafepress is mostly from the cafepress marketplace, it's not terribly related to spacefem.com. I'm linking to the store because it's interesting, not because spacefem visitors might buy cafepress stuff.
Like the rest of the site, it's all just for fun.