'Ads are the new online tip jar'

"I never click on ads."

It's almost a badge of honor to say that. The subtext is, "I'm too smart/busy to waste my time doing that," or perhaps, "I don't want someone to sell my attention."

But the real effect is that you're starving great content.

I can say this because there are no ads here but,

If you like what you're reading, click an ad to say thanks.

Pretty simple, but not an accepted online protocol, at least not yet.

If every time you read a blog post or bit of online content you enjoyed you clicked on an ad to say thanks, the economics of the web would change immediately. You don't have to buy anything (though it's fine if you do). You just have to honor the writer by giving them a click.

You still get what you pay for, even if you pay with attention.

Read comments and more at Seth Godin.


  1. Hey, Kelly--

    Thanks for the reminder. I was reading an article the other day that was saying print media subscriptions are continuing to nosedive, much faster than originally anticipated, due to the soft economy. The Sacramento and Fresno Bees, The San Diego Union and The Chicago Tribune were all shrinking their staff significantly. A lot of readership is going online, but the ad revenue hasn't caught up and this has left newspapers in a bind--having a hard time shifting to a new technology while the old system is becoming unsustainable.

    But a democratic republic needs good sources of information presented by intelligent, articulate journalists. We can't afford to lose our local and national news sources, and even though an Internet newspaper doesn't have paper and ink costs, the most significant cost of any business is personnel (and e-media has other costs associated with web maintenance and design). If journalists aren't paid for their time to research and write articles, we won't get the same quality access to info. So, I believe it is vital for us, as citizens, to figure out how we can support good journalism online. A simple click on an ad seems like a good and very easy start to me.

    A question: Do you think some people don't click on ads because they're worried about getting spam? And if so, do advertisers address this concern, do you know?

  2. Well said, Celeste. So how do I do it? "Ads by Google"? Can I satisfy the request by just leaving this comment?

  3. Clicking on "Ads by Google" usually does the trick. Same with clicking on display (picture)ads that show up on some websites. Clicking usually takes you to the advertiser's homepage. I do this quite often, and have never noticed any increase in spam from it.

  4. Thanks, Terry! And thanks, Steve!