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Feb 01 2013

The Problem with Resisting Propaganda

…is that people get far too good at it.

Okay, so that’s a good thing for you. I know that. It’s even a good thing for me, in part. I’ve trained myself well enough that I hardly ever look at ads, much less get curious enough to click through. That saves me from a rather remarkable amount of nonsense.

What it doesn’t do is pay the bills of the sites I visit regularly.

And here’s the point where the people who are really good at resisting propaganda have already figured out what I’m saying next. Yes, I’m drawing your attention to the donation and subscription buttons over in the sidebar. What I’m not doing is telling you to give me a raise, not per se.

Money I make from writing here goes to organizations that do the ground-level work in the secular movement: Minnesota Atheists, American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Woman. It also goes to support conferences where people can gather as nonbelievers and feel less alone. Skepticon is the one that comes to mind, but there were others this year. I just haven’t gathered all my receipts from the last year to figure out which ones. So if I get paid more, those organizations and conferences benefit. I don’t.

I get very little of my income from writing, however, and that isn’t true for everyone. For these people, both those already blogging here and those we approach to join us, the fact that our audience is very resistant to ads makes a difference. Their audiences are no less appreciative (see the response to Greta’s request for income to tide her through the aftermath of her surgery or Avicenna’s replacement for his dead computer), but the income stream is less automatic. FtB has an incredibly low return on page views.

So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t see ads or who does nothing but scoff at them, and you have it to spare, consider clicking on those buttons. I blog because not writing is not an option, and I would do it for free, but not everyone can. If you like what you get at this site, even if you never go anywhere but my blog (Hi, Mom!), consider directly supporting the network as a whole.

Because y’all seem to be too smart to do it through ads.

Update: Please don’t suggest clicking on ads to things you don’t want to see to support us. It can actually cause us to lose our ad service if it looks like we’re trying to game the system. It’s fine if you don’t have the means to support us directly. We’re here for you too.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Simon

    Perhaps FTB has more visits/user as compared to other comparable networks, which thereby affects the value of each pageview?

  2. 2
    abbeycadabra

    Don’t most ad affiliate programs have rules against asking for clicks, as this artificially inflates their clickthrough rate without increasing ‘conversions’ (wasting – I mean spending – money) on the client side?

  3. 3
    Stephanie Zvan

    I’m sure they do. That’s not what this post asks for. It asks for donations.

  4. 4
    carlie

    I know Ed’s been working hard on it and it’s a difficult thing to do, but the ads really are not at all related to the kinds of interests people here have, and often run completely counter to them (I can’t count the number of religious ads i’ve seen). I would have thought by now that there must be ad agencies somewhere that understand how to cater to a geeky kind of demographic, at least. I would click the hell out of American Science and Surplus ads, and teefury ads, and thinkgeek ads, etc.

  5. 5
    PatrickG

    Considering that the most prevalent ad I’ve seen is for Liberty University, I’m going to have to agree with carlie and say that the ads are not at ALL related to the interests of people here.

    Though it always tickles me to see Jerry Falwell’s zombie child advertising at FTB.

  6. 6
    ryangerber

    I’ve been a subscriber for a couple months now, but can you tell us how the money gets split? Is it by pageviews?

  7. 7
    sisu

    FYI, the mobile version of the site doesn’t show ads (which, yay for getting rid of the popups, especially on the mobile!) or the sidebar. So, no donation/subscription buttons. I’m not sure if there’d be a way to add either of those elements to the mobile, but I suspect I’m not the only one who does more reading on the mobile version of the site than on the full version. Just a thought.

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