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Advertising ethics and ramifications question

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  • Josh Tauberer
    A question on advertising ethics for the list- I ve been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front page of GovTrack, not just as an advertisement
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 21, 2008
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      A question on "advertising" ethics for the list-

      I've been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front page of
      GovTrack, not just as an advertisement per se but also because of the
      benefits of getting a link from a somewhat high Google PageRank site
      like GovTrack. The link would be to a site of marginal interest to most
      visitors, but it wouldn't be offensive or obtrusive. ($250 sounds like a
      lot to me, but I guess I'm no SEO expert.)

      There is first the obvious question of whether this could impact
      GovTrack on Google.

      Also, until now, I have always felt that selling links was a silly way
      to make money. Kind of gaming the system, at the expense of Google users
      who would otherwise get different (i.e. perhaps more useful or fair)
      results.

      I'm actually now turning a very modest profit on the site (thanks to the
      Google AdSense ads at the top of every page), and I don't particularly
      want to commercialize the site further, but money is money.

      Anyone have any thoughts? (Is anyone still reading this list?)

      Thanks.

      --
      - Josh Tauberer
      - GovTrack.us

      http://razor.occams.info

      "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
      falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
      Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
    • donnaK
      It could serve two purposes one to your visitors and of course secondly to you Finances. There is nothing wrong with making a few bucks doing something you
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 21, 2008
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        It could serve two purposes one to your visitors and of course secondly to you
        Finances. There is nothing wrong with making a few bucks doing something you
        Like and enjoy for a good purpose.
        Hugs
        donnaK 
        -------Original Message-------
         
        Date: 1/21/2008 5:29:24 PM
        Subject: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question
         
        A question on "advertising" ethics for the list-
         
        I've been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front page of
        GovTrack, not just as an advertisement per se but also because of the
        benefits of getting a link from a somewhat high Google PageRank site
        like GovTrack. The link would be to a site of marginal interest to most
        visitors, but it wouldn't be offensive or obtrusive. ($250 sounds like a
        lot to me, but I guess I'm no SEO expert.)
         
        There is first the obvious question of whether this could impact
        GovTrack on Google.
         
        Also, until now, I have always felt that selling links was a silly way
        to make money. Kind of gaming the system, at the expense of Google users
        who would otherwise get different (i.e. perhaps more useful or fair)
        results.
         
        I'm actually now turning a very modest profit on the site (thanks to the
        Google AdSense ads at the top of every page), and I don't particularly
        want to commercialize the site further, but money is money.
         
        Anyone have any thoughts? (Is anyone still reading this list?)
         
        Thanks.
         
        --
        - Josh Tauberer
        - GovTrack.us
         
         
        "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation!  Yields
        falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
        Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
         
         
         
         
         
        Yahoo! Groups Links
         
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      • Derek Willis
        Josh, I don t think there s any real harm in selling links, as long as such links are in keeping with the nonpartisan philosophy of the site. In other words,
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 21, 2008
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          Josh,

          I don't think there's any real harm in selling links, as long as such
          links are in keeping with the nonpartisan philosophy of the site. In
          other words, if you're ok with it, I think others would be, too.

          Derek


          On Jan 21, 2008 6:29 PM, Josh Tauberer <tauberer@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > A question on "advertising" ethics for the list-
          >
          > I've been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front page of
          > GovTrack, not just as an advertisement per se but also because of the
          > benefits of getting a link from a somewhat high Google PageRank site
          > like GovTrack. The link would be to a site of marginal interest to most
          > visitors, but it wouldn't be offensive or obtrusive. ($250 sounds like a
          > lot to me, but I guess I'm no SEO expert.)
          >
          > There is first the obvious question of whether this could impact
          > GovTrack on Google.
          >
          > Also, until now, I have always felt that selling links was a silly way
          > to make money. Kind of gaming the system, at the expense of Google users
          > who would otherwise get different (i.e. perhaps more useful or fair)
          > results.
          >
          > I'm actually now turning a very modest profit on the site (thanks to the
          > Google AdSense ads at the top of every page), and I don't particularly
          > want to commercialize the site further, but money is money.
          >
          > Anyone have any thoughts? (Is anyone still reading this list?)
          >
          > Thanks.
          >
          > --
          > - Josh Tauberer
          > - GovTrack.us
          >
          > http://razor.occams.info
          >
          > "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
          > falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
          > Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
          >
          >



          --
          --
          Derek Willis
          dwillis@...
          http://www.thescoop.org/docs/
        • Jeff Fischer
          On your comment of advertising income and what s a lot/little. If you consider how someone could potentially monetize their increased page rank and the
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 21, 2008
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            On your comment of advertising income and what's a lot/little.  If you consider how someone could potentially monetize their increased page rank and the traffic being driven to their site from yours.  I don't consider $250/mo a prime spot on your site a large amount of money at all.  Done right, I would assume they could create thousands of dollars in income based on this meager advertising cost.  I know people with much less valuable content who make 5-7k/mo in advertising.
             
            Also, as a web developer, I don't consider advertising (assuming it would be noted as such on the site) as commercializing your site.  If you didn't note it as an actual advertisement and it appeared as an endorsement, then I might construe that as commercialization.  Commercializing your site would definitely look like, integrating features into your site based on a parternship established with another company.

            As a web user, I just completely drown out the advertising noise, so I don't find them intrusive.

            In my opinion, I woulnd't pass on the opportunity, but I would raise the cost significantly.  Assuming this company has confronted you, they want the advertisement more than you want the money.  I'm also assuming they proposed the $250/mo instead of you proposing that amount.  It sounds like they're using the anchoring decision trap to set the bar for what's a reasonable price and what's not.  If you're not married to the idea, I would respond at 4-6x their proposed amount and gauge their response.
             
            Jeff

            To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
            From: donnak.sharing@...
            Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 17:37:52 -0600
            Subject: Re: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question

            It could serve two purposes one to your visitors and of course secondly to you
            Finances. There is nothing wrong with making a few bucks doing something you
            Like and enjoy for a good purpose.
            Hugs
            donnaK 
            -------Original Message----- --
             
            Date: 1/21/2008 5:29:24 PM
            Subject: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question
             
            A question on "advertising" ethics for the list-
             
            I've been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front page of
            GovTrack, not just as an advertisement per se but also because of the
            benefits of getting a link from a somewhat high Google PageRank site
            like GovTrack. The link would be to a site of marginal interest to most
            visitors, but it wouldn't be offensive or obtrusive. ($250 sounds like a
            lot to me, but I guess I'm no SEO expert.)
             
            There is first the obvious question of whether this could impact
            GovTrack on Google.
             
            Also, until now, I have always felt that selling links was a silly way
            to make money. Kind of gaming the system, at the expense of Google users
            who would otherwise get different (i.e. perhaps more useful or fair)
            results.
             
            I'm actually now turning a very modest profit on the site (thanks to the
            Google AdSense ads at the top of every page), and I don't particularly
            want to commercialize the site further, but money is money.
             
            Anyone have any thoughts? (Is anyone still reading this list?)
             
            Thanks.
             
            --
            - Josh Tauberer
            - GovTrack.us
             
             
            "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation!  Yields
            falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
            Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
             
             
             
             
             
            Yahoo! Groups Links
             
            <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
             
            <*> Your email settings:
                Individual Email | Traditional
             
            <*> To change settings online go to:
                (Yahoo! ID required)
             
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            <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             



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          • Nancy Berry
            Jeff, you said everything I was thinkin, but you said it a hundred times better. And yes, at least two of us still read this:) Nancy Berry ... From: Jeff
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 21, 2008
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              Jeff, you said everything I was thinkin, but you said it a hundred times better.
              And yes, at least two of us still read this:)
               
              Nancy Berry


              ----- Original Message ----
              From: Jeff Fischer <JeffreyMFischer@...>
              To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 6:13:40 PM
              Subject: RE: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question

              On your comment of advertising income and what's a lot/little.  If you consider how someone could potentially monetize their increased page rank and the traffic being driven to their site from yours.  I don't consider $250/mo a prime spot on your site a large amount of money at all.  Done right, I would assume they could create thousands of dollars in income based on this meager advertising cost.  I know people with much less valuable content who make 5-7k/mo in advertising.
               
              Also, as a web developer, I don't consider advertising (assuming it would be noted as such on the site) as commercializing your site.  If you didn't note it as an actual advertisement and it appeared as an endorsement, then I might construe that as commercialization.  Commercializing your site would definitely look like, integrating features into your site based on a parternship established with another company.

              As a web user, I just completely drown out the advertising noise, so I don't find them intrusive.

              In my opinion, I woulnd't pass on the opportunity, but I would raise the cost significantly.  Assuming this company has confronted you, they want the advertisement more than you want the money.  I'm also assuming they proposed the $250/mo instead of you proposing that amount.  It sounds like they're using the anchoring decision trap to set the bar for what's a reasonable price and what's not.  If you're not married to the idea, I would respond at 4-6x their proposed amount and gauge their response.
               
              Jeff

              To: govtrack@yahoogroup s.com
              From: donnak.sharing@ gmail.com
              Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 17:37:52 -0600
              Subject: Re: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question

              It could serve two purposes one to your visitors and of course secondly to you
              Finances. There is nothing wrong with making a few bucks doing something you
              Like and enjoy for a good purpose.
              Hugs
              donnaK 
              -------Original Message----- --
               
              Date: 1/21/2008 5:29:24 PM
              Subject: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question
               
              A question on "advertising" ethics for the list-
               
              I've been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front page of
              GovTrack, not just as an advertisement per se but also because of the
              benefits of getting a link from a somewhat high Google PageRank site
              like GovTrack. The link would be to a site of marginal interest to most
              visitors, but it wouldn't be offensive or obtrusive. ($250 sounds like a
              lot to me, but I guess I'm no SEO expert.)
               
              There is first the obvious question of whether this could impact
              GovTrack on Google.
               
              Also, until now, I have always felt that selling links was a silly way
              to make money. Kind of gaming the system, at the expense of Google users
              who would otherwise get different (i.e. perhaps more useful or fair)
              results.
               
              I'm actually now turning a very modest profit on the site (thanks to the
              Google AdSense ads at the top of every page), and I don't particularly
              want to commercialize the site further, but money is money.
               
              Anyone have any thoughts? (Is anyone still reading this list?)
               
              Thanks.
               
              --
              - Josh Tauberer
               
               
              "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation!  Yields
              falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
              Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
               
               
               
               
               
              Yahoo! Groups Links
               
              <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
               
              <*> Your email settings:
                  Individual Email | Traditional
               
              <*> To change settings online go to:
                  (Yahoo! ID required)
               
              <*> To change settings via email:
               
              <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
               
              <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               


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            • Francis Calub
              Josh, I think it s a great idea. $250/month is definitely not much and it will help you with your operational costs. In terms of ethics, there s really nothing
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 21, 2008
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                Josh,

                I think it's a great idea. $250/month is definitely not much and it will help you with your operational costs. In terms of ethics, there's really nothing much to say. The site is free for all of us to use. Why should anyone complain? I for one will only ignore them anyway :) However, if you wish, only allow ads that you like and you know is good for the public. Whatever your decision is, I'm sure everyone will agree with me in saying that, "We're right behind you." You've done a phenomenal job with this site and putting in ads won't damage the quality of the site (unless you start posting so many of them :)

                tc
                francis

                ----- Original Message ----
                From: Nancy Berry <oaktree1860@...>
                To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 4:56:37 PM
                Subject: Re: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question

                Jeff, you said everything I was thinkin, but you said it a hundred times better.
                And yes, at least two of us still read this:)
                 
                Nancy Berry


                ----- Original Message ----
                From: Jeff Fischer <JeffreyMFischer@...>
                To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 6:13:40 PM
                Subject: RE: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question

                On your comment of advertising income and what's a lot/little.  If you consider how someone could potentially monetize their increased page rank and the traffic being driven to their site from yours.  I don't consider $250/mo a prime spot on your site a large amount of money at all.  Done right, I would assume they could create thousands of dollars in income based on this meager advertising cost.  I know people with much less valuable content who make 5-7k/mo in advertising.
                 
                Also, as a web developer, I don't consider advertising (assuming it would be noted as such on the site) as commercializing your site.  If you didn't note it as an actual advertisement and it appeared as an endorsement, then I might construe that as commercialization.  Commercializing your site would definitely look like, integrating features into your site based on a parternship established with another company.

                As a web user, I just completely drown out the advertising noise, so I don't find them intrusive.

                In my opinion, I woulnd't pass on the opportunity, but I would raise the cost significantly.  Assuming this company has confronted you, they want the advertisement more than you want the money.  I'm also assuming they proposed the $250/mo instead of you proposing that amount.  It sounds like they're using the anchoring decision trap to set the bar for what's a reasonable price and what's not.  If you're not married to the idea, I would respond at 4-6x their proposed amount and gauge their response.
                 
                Jeff

                To: govtrack@yahoogroup s.com
                From: donnak.sharing@ gmail.com
                Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 17:37:52 -0600
                Subject: Re: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question

                It could serve two purposes one to your visitors and of course secondly to you
                Finances. There is nothing wrong with making a few bucks doing something you
                Like and enjoy for a good purpose.
                Hugs
                donnaK 
                -------Original Message----- --
                 
                Date: 1/21/2008 5:29:24 PM
                Subject: [govtrack] Advertising ethics and ramifications question
                 
                A question on "advertising" ethics for the list-
                 
                I've been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front page of
                GovTrack, not just as an advertisement per se but also because of the
                benefits of getting a link from a somewhat high Google PageRank site
                like GovTrack. The link would be to a site of marginal interest to most
                visitors, but it wouldn't be offensive or obtrusive. ($250 sounds like a
                lot to me, but I guess I'm no SEO expert.)
                 
                There is first the obvious question of whether this could impact
                GovTrack on Google.
                 
                Also, until now, I have always felt that selling links was a silly way
                to make money. Kind of gaming the system, at the expense of Google users
                who would otherwise get different (i.e. perhaps more useful or fair)
                results.
                 
                I'm actually now turning a very modest profit on the site (thanks to the
                Google AdSense ads at the top of every page), and I don't particularly
                want to commercialize the site further, but money is money.
                 
                Anyone have any thoughts? (Is anyone still reading this list?)
                 
                Thanks.
                 
                --
                - Josh Tauberer
                 
                 
                "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation!  Yields
                falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                Yahoo! Groups Links
                 
                <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
                 
                <*> Your email settings:
                    Individual Email | Traditional
                 
                <*> To change settings online go to:
                    (Yahoo! ID required)
                 
                <*> To change settings via email:
                 
                <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                 
                <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                 



                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 


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              • Josh Tauberer
                Thanks for everyone s comments! ... Actually it started at $150. I said I didn t really have time to deal with business things, and lo and behold he upped the
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 22, 2008
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                  Thanks for everyone's comments!

                  Jeff Fischer wrote:
                  > I'm also assuming
                  > they proposed the $250/mo instead of you proposing that amount.

                  Actually it started at $150. I said I didn't really have time to deal
                  with business things, and lo and behold he upped the offer and I started
                  listening.

                  --
                  - Josh Tauberer
                  - GovTrack.us

                  http://razor.occams.info

                  "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                  falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                  Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                • tyhartwig
                  I don t see any reason why not. I do have some considerations though. If at all possible you should shop around for companies that you can justify being
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 23, 2008
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                    I don't see any reason why not. I do have some considerations
                    though. If at all possible you should shop around for companies that
                    you can justify being sponsored by. I don't think a fox news
                    sponsorship or a moveon.org would be in line with your govtrack
                    philosophy ... although if you did them both side by side ;).
                    My second consideration would be, if they are mainly looking for page
                    rank, you can limit the size of the link to something very small and
                    still get around the same money. Personally, I hope you get enough
                    revenue to expand the site and hire staff! Maybe some paralegal to
                    complete the bills that ammend other bills "strike sec a216 etc",
                    some folks to educate about the basics of legislation, or some
                    advertisement for govtrack! Which brings me to another thought ...
                    do you have a link banner?

                    --- In govtrack@yahoogroups.com, Josh Tauberer <tauberer@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > A question on "advertising" ethics for the list-
                    >
                    > I've been offered $250 a month to add a link+image on the front
                    page of
                    > GovTrack, not just as an advertisement per se but also because of
                    the
                    > benefits of getting a link from a somewhat high Google PageRank site
                    > like GovTrack. The link would be to a site of marginal interest to
                    most
                    > visitors, but it wouldn't be offensive or obtrusive. ($250 sounds
                    like a
                    > lot to me, but I guess I'm no SEO expert.)
                    >
                    > There is first the obvious question of whether this could impact
                    > GovTrack on Google.
                    >
                    > Also, until now, I have always felt that selling links was a silly
                    way
                    > to make money. Kind of gaming the system, at the expense of Google
                    users
                    > who would otherwise get different (i.e. perhaps more useful or
                    fair)
                    > results.
                    >
                    > I'm actually now turning a very modest profit on the site (thanks
                    to the
                    > Google AdSense ads at the top of every page), and I don't
                    particularly
                    > want to commercialize the site further, but money is money.
                    >
                    > Anyone have any thoughts? (Is anyone still reading this list?)
                    >
                    > Thanks.
                    >
                    > --
                    > - Josh Tauberer
                    > - GovTrack.us
                    >
                    > http://razor.occams.info
                    >
                    > "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                    > falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                    > Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                    >
                  • Josh Tauberer
                    All, I ve continued to read all of your responses very carefully --- it s all been very helpful. ... Heh, I like that side by side idea. No, actually, I
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 26, 2008
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                      All,

                      I've continued to read all of your responses very carefully --- it's all
                      been very helpful.

                      tyhartwig wrote:
                      > If at all possible you should shop around for companies that
                      > you can justify being sponsored by. I don't think a fox news
                      > sponsorship or a moveon.org would be in line with your govtrack
                      > philosophy ... although if you did them both side by side ;).

                      Heh, I like that side by side idea.

                      No, actually, I definitely don't have time to shop around for money in
                      the first place. The ad that will go online is pretty neutral, and
                      seemingly respectable.

                      > Personally, I hope you get enough
                      > revenue to expand the site and hire staff!

                      Now that would be something!

                      > Maybe some paralegal to
                      > complete the bills that ammend other bills "strike sec a216 etc",

                      You'd think this would be something the government would do, right? As
                      I've read, Congress has cut lots of funding for actually figuring out
                      what the law *is* (which is, by looking carefully at how each new thing
                      amends old things, etc.)

                      > do you have a link banner?

                      Well, I can make one:
                      http://www.govtrack.us/media/linklogo.png

                      --
                      - Josh Tauberer
                      - GovTrack.us

                      http://razor.occams.info

                      "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                      falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                      Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
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