There is not yet (October 2009) a consensus on whether advertising should be ruled out altogether, and this is one of the issues under discussion regarding the Ekopedia-Appropedia partnership.
The board of the Appropedia Foundation is in agreement that unfiltered advertising such as Google's Adsense is not suitable for Appropedia, as it's too easy to have inappropriate ads displayed which are not compatible with the values of the Appropedia community.
Advertising would be very attractive to have a revenue stream, but:
- it would be unacceptable to have unsuitable ads (promoting unnecessary consumption or products and services that clash with the values of community members)
- some people have a feeling that it's inappropriate for Appropedia to have ads at all. Being objective in all the knowledge shared by Appropedia is arguably inconsistent with allowing one service to promote itself through payment. For this reason, ideally we would like to have no advertising, but some of us feel that in practice, the benefits of carefully selected advertising may outweigh this objection. The ads would be clearly distinct from actual Appropedia content.
This page is an attempt to describe how advertising will work if we do ever decide to have it, and collect resources on how to do it well.
How to display ethical advertisements[edit source]
Obviously "ethical" is a matter of degree, but we can at least be clear on some points. We don't want advertisements that:
- encourage unsustainable behavior.
- are deceptive
- promote exploitation (though defining exploitation may be a can of worms)
- promote greenwashing to any significant degree, presenting something as a green alternative when it is not significantly greener.
Green ad networks, and sites with green ads:
- GreenAdvertizing.com - Green Advertising Network (announced in June 2009 that they're launching soon.)
- Don’t Destroy Your Green Message With a Chevy Ad!, La Marguerite blog, discusses the difficulty of finding a green ad network.
- network(s) mentioned on the above blog...
- Lohas Journal has green ads?
Other relevant sites:
- Ad Bard Network - for FLOSS-related sites. (Appropedia may or may not be eligible, but it's interesting.) "The ad network for ethical computing -- AD BARD. The Ad Bard Network is the only advertising network designed specifically for reaching the developers, architects, users and influencers in the free software community, allowing advertisers to directly communicate with the key customers in this exciting new area."
Other ways of filtering:
- Independently assessing each application is inefficient. (This is one reason that Google Adsense is so effective - it is automated.) So, assessment can work by having some way of sharing this work with others, or piggybacking on the work already done by those who assess such things.
- Green America, formerly Coop America, have a fairly rigorous application process for whether you're actually green.
How to make a positive user experience[edit source]
- The ads should be interesting and make only minimal use of flash.
- A button allows users to turn off ads; and/or ads turned off for all logged-in users.