— Giles Wilson (@gillis) March 9, 2014
A reader writes:
I’m sure you have well-thought-out opinions on this, but I’m not sure why you are so committed to not having advertising on your site. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t miss it … but I don’t begrudge it either. No more complicated than I don’t care that Tiffany’s has a longstanding corner ad in the NYT, or the luxury jewelry/car ads in between. Are readers really put off by ads? I’ll agree that you don’t want some sort of advertising control of content, but can that be a concern? Just don’t make them annoying Internet pop-up ads requiring people to “close/X” them away. But do use “banner ads” all you want.
The truth is: we’re not opposed to ads in principle and never have been. And my long-standing stance against sponsored content is not about ads, but dishonest ones. So why don’t we have them? It’s partly a function of being a tiny little company with no publisher. But it also comes from a sense that readers are prepared to pay for the site in part because it has such a high signal-to-noise ratio. As the rest of the web becomes insanely cluttered and distracting, we hope the Dish will become even more distinctive with our white space, and simple design. What we are actively considering, however, is serving ads for non-subscribers. That would give us another revenue stream, while still retaining an ad-free site for committed subscribers. Another is even less averse to ads:
I just re-upped for my second year and did so again at the basic $19.99 level and want to explain why. The Dish and TPM are my two favorite political (and sundry) sites – multiple refreshes every day. I would gladly pay more than $20 per year; I’d pay $100 or more every year. But I don’t agree with your no-ads policy. I don’t even understand it. What is wrong with putting Google Ads (or equivalent) on the top or right side of the page, get the income you’d get, and whatever the shortfall is, ask your readers to cover? What’s the harm? The ads are clearly labeled as such (check), and the advertisers are not trying to influence your content (check). Further – Google Ads are actually often helpful – Google (for better or worse) knows our interests well, and the ads they serve up to me on various websites are often quite useful alerting me that favorite website is having a sale on XYZ. And there is no reason for you not to pay yourself a salary, Andrew.
Another, on the other hand, isn’t a fan of ad networks like Google Ads:
I resubscribed for $250 a year. I will renew hubby’s as well; it’s a toss-up which of us is on the site more of the day. I thought of my renewal in a couple of ways: First, as a donation, similar to how I’d support any cause I believe in and/or benefit from (without the tax deduction, but who cares.) And I really appreciate no ads. That can not be understated.
This morning I was scrolling through my local paper, The Brattleboro Reformer (which you pulled and posted a great mistake headline from last year) and was once again confronted by an absolutely disgusting photo of toe nail fungus. There is no way to get the ad not to show up. Perhaps this is your best advertisement for folks to willingly renew. So they are not confronted with this photo in exchange for reading some news??
Thanks for all you do, and for steering clear of Google Ads.
Several more readers weigh in:
As my re-up date approached, I remained somewhat ambivalent. Then, the other day, I went to the newly reconfigured and utterly awful New York Times page.