I’m noticing something interesting lately and I’m not bringing it up to point fingers or start arguments, but only because it’s interesting and perhaps even discussion-worthy.
As most of you know, my decision to partner with a well known content site led to a bit of an uproar, especially among journalists who don’t agree with said site’s model and payment structure. It created many heated web discussions and debates, but the reaction wasn’t unexpected.
I wonder if many of the same journalists and freelance writing bloggers realize they’re also profiting from this content site and others?
I thought about this a lot yesterday while reading a blog post at the Society of Professional Journalists entitled “The Dilemma of Demand Studios.” The journalists who are members of SPJ don’t exactly agree with SPJ displaying advertising from Demand Studios. The blog post made it clear that while they’re happy to accept Demand Studios’ money, they don’t necessarily dig their payment structure. I’m not going to get into detail regarding the blog post because it’s not relevant, but I noted one comment with interest – that SPJ has partnered with the citizen journalism site, Helium.com Helium is known to pay on a residual basis, meaning many of their writers are paid less than the Demand Studios writers. In fact, SPJ encouraged journalists to use Helium as “a vital stepping stone for our members to establish and build their digital credibility.” Is there a double standard? I see plenty of journalists displaying their anger towards SPJ and even MediaBistro for accepting advertising dollars from Demand Studios, but I never saw any anger regarding the Helium partnership.
I also find it interesting that many freelance writing bloggers, who are quite vocal on their blogs and in forums about the evils of content sites, are profiting from these sites with the advertising they choose to display. For example, Indeed ads. If you look at my “Job Search” page, you’ll note the Indeed search engine. Chances are, if you type in “freelance writer” you’ll come up with a variety of ads for Demand Studios, Suite 101, Examiner, Helium and others. Every time a job searcher clicks one of those links, I earn a bit of change. I’m not the only one. Many writing bloggers also profit using the same method.
Ditto Adsense. Adsense links don’t always indicated what is behind the click. Instead they use phrases such as “freelance writers wanted.” Click on some of those ads and you’ll also find they lead to content sites. I’m not going say this is hypocrisy because I’m positive it’s inadvertent, but I wonder if these bloggers realize they’re profiting from the same sites they denounce? In addition to earning money, they are also sending those sites traffic and, may even be contributing to new sign ups.
There are ways to adjust your Adsense so they don’t show ads from selected companies. I don’t know if there’s a way to adjust Indeed ads. Again, I’m not sure if these bloggers realize they’re profiting from the same places they are so vocally against. However, it’s a good lesson to check what you’re advertising as you may be unpleasantly surprised.
Have you ever checked your ads to see what exactly it is they’re linking out to? You might be surprised.