Advertisers Trying To Buy Reputation (and Put Their Content in With Yours)

essay.pngI took advertising off of this blog – and most of my other sites1 – quite some time ago. I prefer the idea of public support. Additionally, I started seeing ads I had problems with. When you rant about how a particular company is a scam, and see ads by that post for the same company… it’s time to drop advertising.

But I still get, on occasion, an e-mail asking me if I want to put advertisements on my website. Sometimes I reply, if it seems interesting enough.

This pitch promised it wouldn’t be obvious. That it wouldn’t rotate. And generally be unobtrusive… and I’d get around a hundred bucks a year. That intrigued me enough that I asked for more information.2

They wanted to turn content into advertisement.

They would add only a few sentences to my existing content. In the middle of it, they’d add a link to a sponsor. No click-throughs. No referrer link (hence the flat fee). Just an additional link. (For example, let’s say that… oh, hypothetically… there were one of those advertisements on this page.)

I turned them down flat.

1. They wanted to add their sentences and have them be represented as my sentences. That compromises my reputation.

2. I have my own referral links, usually to Amazon. If you click them, I’ll get a tiny cut. But I only do that with things I actually recommend or use myself.

3. It attempts to game search engines and make the target page show up higher in Google rankings. It also shortcuts adblockers.

It’s disturbing on so many levels for me.

Know that if I have ads, it will be obvious what is ad and what is content. And if I use a referral link, it’s to something I would actually recommend and/or use myself.

That’s my pledge to you.
1 I have a few that still have some ads, but you get the point.
2 Two quick notes: My e-mails have the no-EULA agreement link, and I’m paraphrasing here.

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