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ex machina

on being bought ( part II)

both matt haughey and elwyn jenkins noticed my entry on being bought and their responses lead me to believe that i probably hit the publish button a little too soon. in my defense, i was getting ready to get head out of town for marathon, slapped together a brief post and hit publish.

to clarify, in my original post , when i wrote, "'s not hard to draw conclusion that the difference that could make the difference is rooted in the fact that one author is making enough money to buy a loaded aeron chair every month and one is making "$85..." - the specific "difference" i was contemplating was related to each author's emphasis on the importance [ or lack thereof ] of the unsavory adsense terms and conditions . my chain of reasoning went something like this - matt doesn't appear to think the terms of service issues are a big deal, but elwyn does. matt makes more adsense money on pvrblog than elwyn does on microdoc news . therefore - and i'll rephrase and slightly moderate my original comments; from my perspective, it's disconcerting to think that the difference in attitudes towards the terms of service issues could be partially explained by the fact that one author is making enough money to buy a loaded aeron chair every month and one is making "$85".

if elwyn was making 10 times more money and matt 10 times less, would their respective stances on the adsense terms of service be exactly the same? what about 20 times more money? 50 times? 100?

i find matt's response even more confusing. he thinks i've missed the point entirely:

"...I think both authors are missing a vital point in what I wrote last week.

The bottom line for all this discussion is simple: google ads aren't designed for typical blogs .

Maybe I made the mistake of calling my article "blogging for dollars" since it's not exactly blogging in the classic sense. I don't post about the cheese sandwich I ate earlier, I don't post about politics, and the site isn't a mirror reflection of me. I'm not the least bit worried about Google's terms of service because I'm not blogging my thoughts on advertising systems at the site. It's totally focused on gadget freakdom and not at all a personal site.

People worried about carrying Google ads on their personal site and wondering if they would be silenced over it should worry more about how pointless of an endeavor the ads will be."

the appropriateness and effectiveness of adsense ads is a completely separate issue from that raised by the terms and conditions under which you are willing to dispay the ads. whether or not the ads are displayed on a "personal" or a "topical" blog is irrelevant and matt's rationale that he's, "...not the least bit worried about Google's terms of service because I'm not blogging my thoughts on advertising systems at the site..." is the most perplexing to me. oddly, it's almost as if he's saying that it's o.k. to accept the terms of service since he can always blog his thoughts somewhere else without suffering the [monetary] repurcussions.

to be clear, i don't think the problem is that advertising per se will "kill blogging". indeed, i applied for and was accepted to the adsense program . i recognized that the adsense ads didn't make sense on ex machina which is a "personal blog", but it could work well on the {bio,medical} informatics section. you can't get more "topical" than a blog that's devoted to the bioinformatics. interestingly, since i have a "topical" blog and a "personal" blog under one roof, what would happen if i only put the ads on the informatics site and criticize to my heart's content on the personal site? again, the issue is not with advertising or making a buck, but rather the terms and conditions under which we accept to that buck, regardless of the "topic specificness" of the blog that is generating the buck.

when i wrote the original post, i was wondering on a very personal level whether my decisions would be influenced by money. i've already stated my intentions to not run adsense ads until the terms are changed. but this is easy because i haven't made a dime on {bio,medical} informatics . would my answer be different if i could pay my hosting fees? definately not. would it be different if i could buy a new aeron chair every month? probably not. would it be different if i could pay my mortgage every month with adsense benjamins? i'd like to think not. would it be different if i could pay for an office and employees and a private jet? i'd like to think not, but it's gets a little more difficult to say it without pausing for long, reflective thoughts.

i can hear many of you groaning and telling me to get off my damn soapbox. it's only a few bucks and they're only saying that i can't talk about terms and conditions, right? but what if google decided to impose a few more conditions on particularly popular sites? what if they decided that pvrblog or {bio,medical} informatics could only stay in the adsense program if we refrained from posting negative posts of products from their most lucrative advertisers? what if they tried to prevent you or i from stating that they had put us under the new conditions? ridiculous? a few weeks ago, i would have said it was preposterous to say that google would impose any restrictions on what you can and can't publish on your blog, topical or not.

as i said before the issue is not with making a buck, but rather the terms and conditions under which we accept the buck. as elwyn points out in his response

"Newspapers have long had this problem to solve . . . and the newspapers who have solved it best are the prestigious papers that people really listen to and take notice. Those that are frequently bought by their advertisers are not taken seriously for very long."
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10/13/2003 09:34:00 PM 0 comments


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