Clicking ads is not saying thank you

I like reading Seth Godin’s blog. It’s generally interesting, and he talks about marketing in a very general sense that applies to more than just “professional” marketers. It probably even applies to you. But today I think he is absolutely wrong. He says that you should click on ads to say thank you for good content. Let’s list the reasons why this is not what you should do. First, you’re tipping with someone else’s money. If you want to give the author 10 cents for a good blog post, great. I’m sure he or she will appreciate it. But when you click on an ad (And we’re assuming no interest in buying, if you’re actually looking to buy it’s different), you’re giving the author someone else’s 10 cents. Sure, that person left piles of dimes out, but they left them with the understanding that you’d take one and give it to the blogger only if you really wanted to look at what was being advertised. Second, you are actually putting the blog author’s account at risk – ad sellers take click fraud very seriously, and if tons of people click an ad then immediately leave the advertiser’s site, the ad seller is going to get suspicious. Third, you are under absolutely no obligation to support the business model chosen by the blogger. If the ad doesn’t speak to you, ignore it. If they can’t make a living without your ad click, then perhaps they need to rethink the business they’re in. There is a demand for quality content, and it is definitely possible to be compensated for creating it, even without advertising. If you see an ad for something that interests you, and you think you’d like to know more about the product or service, by all means click the ad. That’s what it’s there for. But if you have no intention of learning more about what’s being advertised, and you certainly aren’t going to buy anything, then just skip the ad. By the way, note that I did not say that clicking an ad with no intention to buy is stealing. It’s not. As I mentioned, the advertiser has put the pile of dimes out there for you to take and give to your favorite blogger. And yes, you have no obligation to support the business model of the advertiser any more than that of the blogger. But if we want to talk about honoring the writer, then we need to talk about honoring the advertiser, too. Edit to add: He’s posted again, clarifying his position, because apparently I’m not the only one who disagreed. I still don’t entirely agree, but the second post is much better than the first.

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