A quote from Philippe Gully on sites and advertising. November 12, 2001 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Philippe Gully: A site owing its survival only to its advertisers cannot speak freely: the advertisers could refuse to be associated to a statement or a point of view that is not his.
posted by gleemax to General Weblog-Related at 5:13 PM (5 comments total)

Whether people make sites for money or feedback or their own self-development or simply to experiment in Photoshop -- the main thing is that people do it for some kind of profit. What kind of profit this is really doesn't concern me. Gully here, however, seems to think profit in the form of Money(tm) has some kind of magic evil attatched to it. It doesn't.

And to address the quote posted by gleemax directly: A site owing its survival only to its advertisers can indeed speak freely. Whether anyone will find it worthwhile to continue speaking freely, however, without their only form of profit continuing to come in, I doubt.
posted by frednorman at 5:31 PM on November 12, 2001

interestingly (or not, if you're less charitable), Gully turns the whole journalism model on its head. In print publishing, independent journalists' salaries are all paid by advertising dollars. Of course you can show that they aren't all that independent, but that is the model, for what it's worth. On the other hand, print publications that are funded by revenue from a product are inevitably marketing materials -- brochures and pamphlets and catalogs that all strive to entice potential customers to buy the products or services in question. These are far from independent, and are all more or less unreliable as sources of unbiased information.

Certainly advertising doesn't necessarily preclude independence. In fact it's lack of advertising that is the greatest threat. If content is in fact valuable and known to be so, it will generate an audience, which in turn will generate demand from advertisers for the opportunity to reach that audience. If there are too few advertisers, however, a struggling publication will be dependent on them. It is only when there are sufficiently many advertisers that the content provider is truly independent -- he or she can then focus solely on the content, and if a given advertiser is turned off, there will be another to fill its place.
posted by mattpfeff at 6:16 PM on November 12, 2001

A site owing its survival only to its advertisers cannot speak freely: the advertisers could refuse to be associated to a statement or a point of view that is not his.

Wrong. And for more reasons than that. The news media has survived for years on advertising revenue. When an account walks, they find a new advertiser to fill the spot. Who needs Coke when you've got Pepsi? Reebok when you've got Nike? At what gain or loss of profit? That's up to the integrity of the news organization. Besides, what other model is there that acutally works?

How many readers make the effort to put pen to paper to suggest an idea to a magazine?

Quite a few actually. I can't think of a magazine, from Wired to Good Housekeeping to TVGuide that would even know what to write if it wasn't for using reader input to keep an eye on what trends affect the very people that they advertisers purchase space for.

posted by eyeballkid at 6:22 PM on November 12, 2001

that advertisers purchase space for.

damn... long day.

posted by eyeballkid at 6:23 PM on November 12, 2001

(By the way, I probably wouldn't have posted this had I seen the ID post on the front page. I check MeTa before Mefi, nowadays. D'oh.)
posted by gleemax at 12:47 AM on November 13, 2001

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