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Monetising your content and whether it's ethical

We're all used to seeing ads on TV but why do we get so annoyed when we see them online? We turn the page of a newspaper and see a massive advert, yet an interstitial advert is completely unacceptable for many people. We walk around constantly being exposed to brand and yet we are unhappy to see a small advert on a website. So, is it right to monetise content and should you as a consumer accept it?

Every website online costs money to run - from the $8 fee for the domain to getting your website hosted which can run into tens of thousands of dollars for some of the bigger website - it all adds up. If content providers are posting content on their website, is it not right that they get paid for it? After all you wouldn't expect to see a TV channel without adverts or a free newspaper without adverts - someone needs to pay for the content writers to earn.

There are threee main ways of monetising a website:

  1. Text Ads/banner ads - these can either be product placement, blog posts, paid links or a service like Google Adsense, they are used so often that many people are now ad blind and many don't even notice them. 
  2. Video ads/ interactive ads - these can be the same adverts as shown on TV which have higher clickthrough rates. Interactive adverts can take over a whole page moving elements around and are usually amusing - Apple is very good at these adverts - click the following links to see videos of interactive adverts on The New York Times and on Yahoo Games!
  3. Sponsorships - these are where one company or a series of companies sponsors a website - all the adverts on the website will be for those particular companies.
The message: if you don't want adverts contact the website to see if they will take donations for a ad-free version of the website - either you pay for the content or the advertisers will.

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