Agreed. Nowadays everything has to be a "product"... we used to just call them websites.
I run an open source project that costs me about 40 bucks a year, but it gets over 40k hits a month. I'm not trying to monetize it, but my friend keeps insisting i'm leaving money on the table. I'm just building it to fun and to see how big I can grow it organically.
One thing to consider about side projects is the time investment for maintenance. One of my most popular projects was a collection of interviews. When I started working longer hours, there was less and less time to produce interviews.
Now when I create things, I try and consider how much maintenance it will need in the future.
I'll offer a counter-point: knowing how to monetize a project is a skill that needs to be learned like any other. The more practice you get, the better you'll be.
I don't disagree – it's something I've done many times. But thinking that every side project needs to be monetized feels really limiting.