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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

About the Blogads on Beldarblog

My blogging expenses through TypePad are minimal, but last fall I decided to start accepting Blogads and to put up a Tip Jar link to defray them, and over the long term I've about broken even. That's fine with me, for as I've repeatedly written, I post mostly to scratch my own itch rather than as a commercial venture or even to please anyone else in particular. (Thus I feel relatively unentangled and guilt-free when I decide to take several weeks or even months off from blogging, as I did in most of January.)

The Blogads service allows bloggers to reject ads for any reason or no reason at all, but as I posted when I started accepting them, my acceptance does not imply any endorsement of the products or positions being advertised, and I've made very little effort to investigate any of the advertisers. There's some threshold somewhere that I wouldn't cross — and running an ad for al Qaeda or Holocaust deniers or offshore sexual enhancement drug vendors would all be well beyond that threshold, for example, wherever it is.

An ad that I accepted today threw up a red flag because it reads, "See the ad [Fox News Network] won't run." Now, I did follow the link from the Blogad, but I haven't thoroughly explored the linked website or watched whatever videos or read whatever manifestos it might provide, and I have absolutely no idea about the validity of any views it may express. I will comment that there's no First Amendment right for anyone to force Fox — or BeldarBlog or The New York Times or the National Enquirer — to accept an advertisement. And any media outlet, whether "old media" or new, is and should be free (within very broad limits) to set their own thresholds as to what advertisements it chooses to accept or reject.

Potential conflicts of interest and the power of advertising dollars (and other financial ties) to influence bloggers is another kettle of fish — one that's been much debated in the blogosphere recently, and on which I will likely comment further in my promised review of Hugh Hewitt's latest book. To the extent that accepting Blogads creates any potential for conflict of interest or advertiser influence over what I write, at least it's essentially self-disclosing; in other words, you the reader can presume someone's paying me at the (in my case comparatively trivial) rates you can also investigate by following the "Want your Blogad here?" links below the ads in my sidebar. Perhaps if the John Kerry campaign or one of George Soros' political action committees had started buying ads last fall while I was writing about the SwiftVets, you'd have had cause to wonder; but at least you'd also have had a basis for deciding for yourself whether my judgments and opinions had been affected or compromised.

The Internet, including blogs like this one, is a part of the international marketplace of ideas and products. And I'm a free-market enthusiast. But remember, please: Caveat emptor — buyer beware — and please don't assume that by accepting any ad, I've endorsed (or even closely vetted) the ideas or products being advertised.

Posted by Beldar at 06:15 PM in Weblogs | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to About the Blogads on Beldarblog and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) David Morrison made the following comment | Feb 4, 2005 7:34:09 PM | Permalink

I'm a customer of Matt Furey, whose blogad for "The Ultimate Fitness Program" appears on Beldarblog. Anyone interested in physical conditioning should spend some time visiting his site. Good stuff.

(2) Robin Roberts made the following comment | Feb 6, 2005 3:02:38 PM | Permalink

The ad is a pretty misleading piece of propaganda on tort reform. If you go watch it, Beldar, I suspect you'll find it infuriating.

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