Journey by Mediavine: Yay or nay?

Mediavine is one of the top lusted for ad networks for lifestyle bloggers. A minimum requirement for application is 50k sessions or just below it.

They announced a sister ad network called Journey, which drastically lowers the application requirements.

Screenshot of Journey by Mediavine header on index page. Background is diverse group of people taking a selfie with a red phone; turquoise background. Journey by Mediavine logo. Text: "From creating content to building online communities, Journey by Mediavine is the first step toward a sustainable future income. Find out how far you can go." Purple button with white text: "Start Your Journey"

Journey publisher requirements

To apply to Journey by Mediavine, your site must have 10k sessions per month and have running on your site.


It’s a first-party data collector, which more or less heavily relies on people visiting your blog to log in — which requires them to create their own account…which many people don’t want to do.

Most people reading lifestyle blogs want to only read the blogs. Sometimes, they’ll subscribe. Most often, they’ll come for what they need and leave, and come back if they remember you. πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

(‘Cause not everyone wants to subscribe, either!)

Caveats & issues can help grow email lists, but you can only integrate with certain email marketing providers. I use EmailOctopus, so this isn’t yet accessible to me.

I’m also concerned about accessibility and transparency, because the signup form doesn’t display a privacy notice at the very least when the widget is clicked.

Signing up for does not guarantee acceptance into Journey by Mediavine, as you still have to apply. I’m trying it out on my sites anyways, to determine what the overall experience is like.

Third-party cookie concerns

Dropping a page into the PageSpeed Insights triggered a Best Practices problem:

 Header: "Uses third-party cookies β€” 1 cookie found". Text section: "Support for third-party cookies will be removed in a future version of Chrome. Learn more about phasing out third-party cookies.". Table: "": "grow_check_third_party_cookie_support". URL: "/iframe-login?siteId=…("

Why does check for third-party cookie support if they utilize first-party cookies? πŸ€”

Additional PageSpeed Insights issues affects my Core Web Vitals, causing my site to fail the Best Practices section when it would have otherwise passed.

Every “Best Practices” issue now is caused by

Screenshot. "Browser errors were logged to the console" and "Issues were logged in the `Issues` panel in Chrome Devtools"

My experience with Grow

Edit 19th May, 2024: I just found out that Grow Social used to be managed by Mediavine and was acquired by Nerdpress.

The old version of Grow is now Hubbub.

I find misleading from a user perspective. Publishers can add their logo, to show the partnership on the signup page, but it lacks:

  • a Privacy Policy linked
  • a linked Terms of Service/Conditions page
  • any indication of what will do with user data (again: privacy) and the relationship with the respective publishers

I deactivated the plugin because I had trust issues about that from a publisher perspective; I can only imagine what kinds of trust issues my audience may develop. πŸ‘€

First-party vs. third-party data collecting

Google is phasing third-party cookies out of Chrome.

In simple terms, a third-party cookie is a cookie saved via a site other than the one you visited, and not the site itself.

A first-party cookie is created by the site/domain you visited. It’s considered more secure than third-party, because you know for sure where it’s coming from.

Journey application requirements

Before you can apply to Journey by Mediavine, must be active on your site for a minimum of 30 days. must remain running on your site for Journey ads.

Should sites with 10k sessions display ads?

Whether a blogger slaps ads up on their site is a personal choice.

Monumetric has a minimum of 10k page views required before applying, plus a slew of ad display requirements.

So I don’t think 10k sessions, which typically amounts to more than 10k page views, is too low a barrier.

If anything, Journey by Mediavine has the potential to create a more accessible creator industry, which many neurodivergent and/or disabled content creators could benefit from!

While $100-700 per month isn’t much to people making thousands of dollars per month with their business, that could drastically alleviate some struggles among budding bloggers or bloggers who’ve been at this a while and struggle to keep at it.

I’m one of those bloggers. My blog had around 65k unique monthly views some years back, but dipped down deep because of my disabilities, chronic illnesses and/or constantly working during COVID because my job was essential.

One thing I know for certain is that I’m curious to know what Journey will look like in execution, as right now people probably won’t know for at least 60 days — since 30 days running is a prerequisite and it takes about 30 days to determine results from any ads in general.

There is also zero data about anyone being accepted into the program, since it’s only just begun.

I’ve asked around and have yet to hear of anyone having been accepted into the program to start earning any kind of money.

So far, it sounds like a gimmick to build up more first-party data — thereby productizing your audience members to sell ads on blogs already within their network, without giving you anything. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Ways to make money as a blogger BEFORE ads

Ads are NOT the only way to make money as a blogger. Rather, ads are only another way to make money blogging passively (which is a loaded term on its own).

Engage in affiliate marketing now, so your traffic growth benefits you later. There’s an affiliate program for every topic. πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

Consider making digital products, like an ebook or ecourse on a topic you know a lot about and can teach, or one-on-one services — like freelancing, virtual assistance, blog flipping, etc.

You don’t have to wait until your blog is accepted into an ad network to begin making money as a blogger. You can start implementing things now so they will pay off later.

Otherwise, you’ll be the blogger next year, wishing they’d started today.

Other ad network options

  • Ezoic: No traffic requirement, but I don’t recommend them. I remember when it first came ’round, and it’s worse.
  • Monumetric: No contract. Minimum 10k monthly page views. Must have sidebar of certain dimensions. $99 setup fee that may be taken out of your first paycheck.
    • First payment is within 30-60 days of active ads. Otherwise, they pay the 5th and 25th of each month.
  • SHE Media: Minimum 20k monthly page views + 90-day-old site. Contract is one year minimum. Preferred over Monumetric.

Things no one knows about Journey by Mediavine YET

  • Whether bloggers applying to Journey will be easily accepted or if the program will be supes cutthroat
  • How bloated Journey ads will be
  • Whether will actually help grow our lists
  • If Journey ad revenue per thousand (RPM) will be similar to Mediavine or worse

Edit 24th March, 2024: I disabled the plugin, because it slowed down my site by about 20 seconds.

Edit 19th May, 2024: I’ve left it disabled due to privacy/trust concerns.

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