I am suddenly getting a lot of ads or "sponsored by" notices between posts. Is there a way to stop those?
This site costs money to operate. To the tune of a few hundred dollars a month. Someone has to pay for it.
I created an advertising system in the hopes of covering those costs. One that I thought was not too intrusive and fit in with the existing design.
A handful of businesses have used it. As far as I know, they have been happy. I have not received any complaints. In fact, I've received praise. Some of it has been posted online here -- pointing out that the ads do work
In any case, it has been like trying to pull teeth to get more local advertisers involved. I've improved the system. I've added more ad types. I temporarily tried slashing the cost down to 0.20 CPM (20 cents for 1,000 ad views). I've given away free advertising to local businesses (still some won't use it).
After seeing no progress, I decided that was it. Until I saw more support from local businesses, it was time to move on and look for other revenue sources.
Google was more than happy to step in and take advantage of the traffic this site receives. So that's the ads you are seeing.
The silver lining is, the Google ads only appear in empty ad space. If local advertisers decide to create ads in those spots -- the Google ads will not appear.