Should You Click an Ad to “Support” a Blog?

Interesting discussion happening in the Comments field at TechSoapbox. It was prompted by a post on Seth Godin’s blog that reads, in part:

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.

Ahmed of Techsoapbox takes issue with Seth’s approach, calling it “cheating”. Seth doesn’t post comments on his blog, but Ahmed does — and it’s producing an often-thoughtful, sometimes-heated conversation.

For the record, I lean toward Ahmed’s side, but not strongly. The pay-per-click model only works for the advertiser if the clicks come from genuine prospects. If the advertiser has to pay for a bunch of extra clicks from folks who aren’t truly interested, the advertising will ultimately cease.

On the other hand, some of the “support clicks” could come from people who might need the product or service, but who would otherwise not have paid attention to the ad. So the support clicks might create a positive ROI after all.

The results of Seth’s approach will ultimately depend on how relevant the ad, and the offer, is to the lives of the readers. Which sounds a whole lot like every other form of advertising.

What do you think? Feel free to weigh in in the comments section below.


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5 thoughts on “Should You Click an Ad to “Support” a Blog?

  1. I can appreciate the sentiment of showing support by supporting the advertisers of a given BLOG or website, but in the case of PPC Ads, especially when the author and advertisers are so loosely connected, this is not really support.

    Economically speaking, it is a waist of resources and inflates the real interest in a product or service by simply having too many clicks then it should normally get.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tim. I’ll admit to being of two minds on this one.

    I agree with you that a bunch of clicks from people who don’t have any interest is just a waste of the advertiser’s money.

    But the purpose of advertising is to gain a prospect’s attention long enough to make a pitch. The “support click”, dishonest though it may be on the surface, grants the sponsor a few precious seconds of attention. Presumably the clicker will at least glance at the landing page before closing it. If the landing page is compelling, the clicker might keep reading — and a sale might result.

    If that happens often enough, everybody wins.

    Would it really happen often enough? Beats me. But in a world in which we’re all struggling to make people pay attention, the concept has some appeal.

  3. You make some great points for both sides of this arguement. As the advertising model stands currently I would side with Tim. I have advertising on which does come out being closely related, but for many blogs in particular, the relationship between the ads and content is loose at best. IF advertising is relevant to the readers of the blog, they would be interested in the product itself and not just in supporting the blog.