Recently I read this post from Seth Godin and, unlike usual, I disagreed. Here's the crux of his argument,
If every time you read a blog post or bit of online content you enjoyed you clicked on an ad to say thanks, the economics of the web would change immediately. You don't have to buy anything (though it's fine if you do). You just have to honor the writer by giving them a click.It's not often that I disagree with Seth and I'm hesitant to do so because his insight has inspired me and helped me develop my own thoughts on marketing and advertising, but alas I must.
To me the suggestion that banner ads are the new online tip jar only reinforces the fact that online advertising (and perhaps all of advertising) is very broken and in need of innovation. And, by treating ads as online tip jars, we are complying with the broken model, costing advertisers money, which in turn will theoretically drive up the cost of their product. Not good.
Instead, we should do two things:
- Create more innovative advertising solutions, perhaps like the one Avenue A and Pluck recently unveiled, called Adlife. Adlife allows people to comment within the ad on the ad itself or the product as well as rate the ad and product and upload pictures or videos.
- Create an actual online tip jar that is as easy as clicking on an ad, and allows people to show their support for the content they read for free.