A Question For You

November 12, 2007, 12:45 pm; posted by
Filed under Articles, Featured, Steve  | 3 Comments

I’m not yet ready to throw myself onto the sword that will be a wholesale attack on libertarianism, so I’ll take a brief detour and ask you all about something I’ve noticed lately.

One of the most interesting, yet disturbing, things about our advertising program, run through the monolithic soul-destroying Google corporation, is how the ads are chosen — a combination of our own content and advertisers’ desires.

For instance, if you look around the front page of our site right now, you might see dating site advertisements for observant Catholics and respectful Muslims. The Mormon/Muslim clash, as I mentioned in the comments, has attracted several religion-specific ads, for temple garments and Muslim Girl magazine, which I might order and have shipped to Job in the near future. These things are harmless and humorous — and if they interest you in any way, I urge you to click on them!

But I’m concerned that the religious and political content of our site attracts a certain class of advertiser, whose desire is not so much to peddle goods to a discreet group of people as it is to proselytize the world. And this is fine — we do pretty much the same thing — but given the size and placement of our ads on the page, I feel uncomfortable giving what amounts to our editorial approval to ads like “What is Real Faith?,” “How Can I Be Saved?,” “Seven Questions Your Pastor Doesn’t Want You to Ask,” and similar alluring titles.

I’ve checked a few (but not by clicking on them; our policies allow YOU to click on them, but NOT me), and some of these ads are doctrinally sound and backed by legitimate organizations, like Campus Crusade for Christ. But others lead to long, blundering screeds that cross the border of heresy and paranoia and make doctrinal arguments to which we would never attach our name.

You’re smart, and you can understand the difference between the content we publish and the advertisements interspersed within it. But I have this feeling that our responsibility extends to anything that appears on the site, which necessarily includes inadvertent (and paid) links to false teaching and nonsense.

What should we do?


3 Comments to “A Question For You”

  1. Chase on November 12th, 2007 4:47 pm

    I have noticed this also with Google’s tendency to rule the blogging ad world. It makes me want to start finding new ways to earn a possible penny here and there but at the same time I wonder if such ads are always going to be popping up.

    Second note: Blue Heron are the most amazing birds ever.


  2. Steve on November 12th, 2007 5:33 pm

    Yeah, we have a rare blue heron nesting area about a mile from my house, so that’s why they came to mind…

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