In The Disciplined Marketer, I found links to two confusing posts on Seth's Blog. In the first one, Ads are the new online tip jar, Seth suggests to blog readers, "If you like what you're reading, click an ad to say thanks."
By doing this Seth believes "the economics of the web would change immediately." Right -- but wouldn't the immediate impact be negative? Readers, in their attempt to "honor the writer," would punish advertisers by making them pay for more false positives.
Seth adds, "I can say this because there are no ads here..." Huh? This claim sat inches from a "Widget Menu" with images of 11 Godin books linked to Amazon.com and other online retailers.
He opened the post with "'I never click on ads.' It's almost a badge of honor to say that." Like most direct marketers, Seth has no doubt heard consumers say they never respond to direct response. When pressed, people add remarks like, "Well actually, I have bought magazine subscriptions. And clothing. And sex aids." What counts is what people actually do, not what they say they do.
In a follow-up post Seth attempts to clarify things: "My point was that if everyone started clicking, clickthrough rates would go up. For a while, there'd be an imbalance, and sites would make too much and advertisers would pay too much. But then, advertisers would use the landing pages to start converting..." So, make advertisers pay for lots of worthless clicks and they'll finally become more efficient. Why not just taze 'em every time they goof? Might be less painful.
OK. Let's talk about how to really support bloggers and other content providers. First, contribute to conversations by commenting on posts when you have something to say. (Since Seth Godin is one of the few bloggers who doesn't accept comments, I wouldn't expect him to mention that.) Next, share blogs you like with your buddies. If your friendly neighborhood blogger is part of a business that offers products or services you need, buy from that business.
And yes, if a blogger that enriches your life has an online tip jar, contribute to it. Tonight in Denver at the Democratic National Convention, some political bloggers are present only because readers subsidized the cost. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.
What say you?