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Are you offended by sleazy ads and unrelated links online?

Please don’t blame the writer.

Most online publishers and news communities earn their keep by displaying paid advertisements on their site pages. OK, we get that. And that’s why you’re able to read posts like this for free, without paying for a subscription.

And that’s a big plus.

But those ads! Sometimes they fit the content nicely. They may even prove interesting and appropriate to the reader. But sometimes … well, you know … 

Often, the ads that appear are automatically selected, based upon key words in the copy on a particular article or post.

OK, that makes sense too.

Writers appreciate advertisers, because we usually earn a percentage of the proceeds from the leads generated by those ads. However, bloggers, columnists, and web writers don’t usually have the opportunity to select the advertisements that accompany our content. In some instances (such as for blogs or websites we actually own and operate), writers may hand-pick certain ads or specify certain key words for advertising content. Plenty of bloggers and site hosts sell ad space, perhaps reserving the right to refuse unacceptable commercial content.

That’s not the case for writers whose work appears on news or other publisher-owned websites. Frequently, we don’t see the ads until they are already up.

Here’s the tricky part.

Lately, lots of these sites are displaying ads and photo/story links that seem to have little to do with the stories with which they appear. Some are even raunchy.

A writer might put up a piece about cartoon lunchboxes for kindergartners or preschool birthday party themes, only to find graphic links showing up on the page to promote an actresses’ recent shall-we-say wardrobe malfunction or tips for spicing up a tired relationship.

Seriously, people?

Another may publish a post about an upcoming political election and be surprised to see ads for belly fat reduction on the published page. (Wait. That might just fit. Did someone mention pork barrels?)

In any case, readers may be relieved to know their favorite writers are not selecting, or even previewing, the ads and supplemental links that tend to show up with their online work.

So if a teaser ad, urging you to click and see what some misbehaving starlet wore (or didn’t wear) for Halloween or New Year’s Eve or Mardi Gras or Valentine’s Day or last Tuesday, shows up on this page, don’t blame me. And if you see those seemingly miraculous weight loss programs offered alongside any of my online columns, please know I didn’t choose or approve them.

Who knew professional writers would have to issue such disclaimers for their publishers?

Adapted from public domain photo

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