Ms .45's mp3/bureaucratic/gaming blog.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

No more End-Times ads!

Bloggers must be delighted to hear that they'll soon get a choice over what Google ads appear on their blog. I'm sure we're all aware of our favourite alternative blogs running ads that are diametrically opposed to their actual position (my favourite being Palestine-related or pro-Arab blogs which end up with "Israel/Palestine: The End Times Are Nigh! Download Free E-Book"), and have to post plaintive messages saying "We don't have any choice, Google generates these ads by keyword, just ignore them!".

However:

For web-based publishers, the option offers a way to leverage the trust of their audience, Knietz said. For example, bloggers could recommend a particular realtor or law firm that advertises on their site.

"If they are a trusted source, they will eventually drive business to their advertisers," Knietz said.

This could end up creating ethical dilemmas, however, especially if publishers are tempted to recommend high-priced law firms who offer to pay a lot for customer leads.

Dan Gillmor, director of the Centre for Citizen Media, said "These arrangements will raise some interesting questions, such as whether site publishers run the ads likely to make them the most money, whether they believe in what the advertiser is selling or not. So there'll be important issues of transparency and disclosure, too."


There's another issue, though: Bloggers will now have to take some responsibility for the ads that appear on their site. You would have a much harder time saying "The ads aren't my fault, but click on them anyway just to generate us some money", especially when the model is now pay-per-action rather than per-click.

This raises interesting administrative issues. Would you prefer to put the extra work into carefully selecting your ads, making sure they meet your ideological standards (which don't have to be amazingly high, provided the advertiser isn't a fierce opponent of your cause), choosing advertisers where your audience are likely to actually DO SOMETHING on the clicked-through site, putting the ads in aesthetically desirable positions... or would you prefer to throw your hands up and just go "fuck it, you're getting end times ads and if some loonbars want to send off for the free 750-page book, that advertiser's cash is as good as any"?

It also raises the issue of audience reach. What will happen to blogs who have a tiny audience? (A big hello to everyone who comes here from jayisgames, Kingdom of Loathing, Abu Aardvark and The Arabist - you're pretty much alone here. Issandr, this is Jay, Jay, Issandr. Grab a beer.) Will advertisers have the choice of rejecting ads to go on blogs that they don't approve of, either ideologically or commercially?

If you're hardcore, you can reject the idea of ads entirely. Just keep in mind that, as in Soviet Russia, ads may also reject you!



1 comment:

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