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Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, December 5th, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: blogs - Tags:

What would you guys think about us taking on advertising?

A few months ago, I saw Public Address’s advertising rates card and it turns out there’s a fair, but not by any means huge, amount of money in advertising for a blog of our size. Now, we wouldn’t want that money for its own sake – we didn’t start this to make money and, frankly, the amount we’re talking about would barely cover Irish’s whiskey bill. But, we’ve been thinking that there are useful things we could do with a bit of cash. For starters, we could take the burden of funding the server, which has gone from $10 a month to about $170, off Lynn. We could chuck the rest in a fund for leftwing projects – provide some money or materials for a protest here, print off some flyers there, maybe a third party campaign next election, that kind of thing.

Now, we are really concious that we, the writers, are only half the reason this blog has worked. The other half is you, dear reader (and, especially, you commentators). This forum as much yours as it is ours. So, we wouldn’t want to go and do this without talking to youse about it first.

I know some people object to ads and will not like us taking them on principle, and I understand that position. But I think of the useful things we could do with that money and, to me, that is the clincher. I wouldn’t object to the Greens or Labour having a billboard on their buildings either, because the money is going to a good cause.

Anyway, let us know what you think. And if you’ve any other ideas for a brighter future for The Standard in 2009, let us know.

[Someone asked in comments whether the original version of The Standard ran ads. The answer is ‘yes’. Click for a larger version. Ah the good old days. a_y_b]

46 comments on “Ad-men”

  1. Duncan 1

    A good idea, you guys have to pay for it somehow. Maybe keep the advertising ethical though.

  2. ianmac 2

    Often wondered about that. I try and avoid advertising and auctions and garage sales as they are bad for my health. But I say go for advertising revenue. I will try not to look. Actually thos big blinking ones at the sides can be a pain.

  3. Strathen 3

    I don’t mind. My adblocker is pretty advanced so I don’t see most of them.

    Isn’t this a right wing ideal though? Are the righties actually beginning to take you over to the darkside? 😉

  4. You might as well, there is nothing wrong with it, at least we will know what advertisers support the left.

    Why not just do the google ad thing for a start. Ive earned 79 USA cents in nine months!!

  5. I believe both Public Address and Scoop are willing to buy advertising space, so put that on your list too 🙂

  6. cha 6

    If The Standard needs the the resources to maintain a credible on-line presence then go for it.

    . ianmac, if you’re using Firefox try Flashblock 1.5.7,gets rid of the flash adds and leaves a click to play icon on your screen.

  7. vto 7

    go for it. no reason not to.

    who would advertise on here? WINZ or the Business Roundtable?

  8. principessa 8

    Sounds good. The only thing that concerns me is having an ad above your own banner which DPF has. I think the header/banner should be prominent on your blog- not a flashing ad. I’d keep them to the sides.

  9. Lew 9

    Chris S: PA and KB both have ads provided by Scoop.I know a few of the people there, and they’re good people, worth supporting and provide awesome service.

    I value the neutrality of advertising-free sites, but the overall decision isn’t mine and I understand the value to be had here. The main thing I would say is that you (the collective `you’ of Standardistas) need to be very clear about an advertising policy: that is, you either vet ads and explicitly endorse the products/groups/etc which advertise with you, or you defer it to a third party such as Scoop and don’t imply any endorsement.


  10. QoT 10

    Ads in of themselves don’t worry me. It’s when my Livejournal friendslist is constantly topped by a GoogleAds banner screaming “WHY IS YOUR STOMACH FAT???” that I start wanting to stab things.

  11. TomS 11

    The left has to have the presence and, above all, the resources to be able to take on and defeat the likes of Farrar and Slater in the battle for the hearts and minds of the blog space. Resources can come from donating time but ultimately if you want to be as quick off the mark as the other side you’ll need money. Get the advertisers on board and use that money to go after the right with bigger, better and even punchier information and posts… Hell, you might even be able to afford a cocktail party for the press gallery and that sort of thing…

  12. Francois 12

    Go for it. Just make sure you get the right ads. The Labour adds on kiwiblog spring to mind as badly matched adds.

  13. Not having a sudden funding crisis are you Steve?

  14. ghostwhowalks 14

    All the better to drive a stake into the Herald and their like.

    Did the original version of The Standard have advertising , even classifieds ?

  15. Greg 15

    Whats this? The Standard embracing capitalism?

    [lprent: All sorts of things are embraced by people on the standard.
    In my case I’m feeling deprived as she is on a remote island]

  16. Mike 16

    But according to kiwiblog and Paul Henry you guys are funded by the Labour Party, so why would you need advertising?

    [lprent: We aren’t.
    BTW: who in the hell is paul henry? google search…
    Oh – another idiot failed would be MP.
    Oh – on TV – explains why I don’t know about him – low info content on public TV

  17. Janet 17


    Yes to your question.

    I’ve no problem with ethical ads. The way Public Address does it seems OK.
    Especially if it adds to The Standard’s viability and sustainability (and I know LP, that TS is just software or whatever, but I see The Standard as an essential part of our media, a reliable information source, and a lifeline).

  18. lprent 18

    bb: Nope. There is no particular reason to do it at the present moment. It is a case of be prepared. As you know – we have been continuously surprised at the growth in the site, and always running from behind in keeping it up. Well now we’re planning on moving from the prototype that it started as in August last year to a more permanent basis (and start winding it for the next election).

    However the site has grown from nothing to the one of the biggest blogs in NZ. It has gone to the point when my daily backups are have to stretched out from being nothing to being significant. From not stretching the CPU to the point when I’m wanting a second CPU. I’ve virtually exhausted the software ways of making a little go far – so now its back to hardware.

    We basically dropped from the election peak to 3-4 weeks prior to the election. After the summer breaks, I think that we’ll continue our steady rise in readership. Eventually we’ll probably overtake KB

    The next step is likely to be more expensive than giving up smoking. It is better to get a funding stream that is related to the blog rather than my addictions.

  19. Whero 19

    Go for your life – my only request would be that you only run ads for New Zealand companies – even then, though, it actually won’t impact on me as I run an ad blocker.

    For those interested, http://www.guidescope.com has a simple, free and very effective ad blocker – it speeds up my internet experience and means that I don’t have to pay to see ads which suck up my bandwidth.

  20. sux2bu 20

    Money a bit tight now you’re out of the ninth floor ? Who would have seen that coming.

    [lprent: Read the about and the policy. You can read can’t you? In there you’ll even find an invoice showing who pays for the site.

    I’d ban you, but you’re too pathetic (and probably that generally describes everything about you)]

  21. all_your_base 21

    ghostwhowalks – yes the original had advertising.

  22. sux2bu 22

    That was supremely intelligent of you to provide links to http://www.about.com and a random advertising page. And thanks for the ad hominem, it’s as good as admitting you have no argument…

    [lprent: about and policy. Annoying editor.
    Ok – justify why you think that the 9th floor paid for it? Show some proof, and people may think that you’re more then a moronic fuckwit]

  23. insider 23

    take the effing money you eejits!

  24. r0b 24

    Yes, go for it, though as others have commented, ethical advertising would be nice.

    And if you’ve any other ideas for a brighter future for The Standard in 2009, let us know.

    Keep doing what you do! Keep some fun stuff and humour in the mix, it would be easy to become too negative in the years ahead. Recruit another active author or two to spread the load (not that I’m complaining about the current authors – great!).

    And continue to build a community in the real world – initiatives like drinking liberally and the campaign hub are fantastic. How about a pdf “print edition” based on The Standard Week that people can print off and distribute – again, trying to extend the reach and build the community in the real world – turn The Standard into an underground newspaper printed & distributed by your readers. Then we’ll be needing a lapel pin and a secret handshake…

  25. Santi 25

    I can almost see an ad like this coming: “Have a great holiday. Come to Cuba!”

  26. Jum 26

    If it’s the difference between you guys carrying on and having to stop, go for it. This blog is the only way I form an objective picture of the daily politics.

  27. lprent 27

    Jum: It is the difference between figuring out how to ration user access sometime next year or being able to continue to grow.

  28. r0b 28

    Ahh and PS – Lynn needs an understudy! Someone else needs to have access to and understand the technical workings of the blog, so that the pressure isn’t always on Lynn.

  29. lprent 29

    That is very techy at the level I’m doing it. Ummm I can think of a number a people who could do it. I’ll ask two of them tonight.

  30. Draco T Bastard 30

    Throw in the advertising. Like all things it needs resources to operate.

  31. you’ve gotten ads already — those party placemats 🙂

    no prob for me so long as irritating intertext’s and inline’s are avoided wherever possible. Side col verticals would be least distracting, too. No banners. If you must do horiz stickem in the footer. No way would you want the standard with its unfurled flag to lose style and function.. Oh yeah, How I hate flashing luminous paint-type display..

  32. ak 32

    Abso-freakin-lutely – what r0b said and more: get yourselves out there, be ambitious for The Standard! Like it or not, you’ve become a vital and indispensable part of NZ politics, and I for one would be happy to pay for your excellent writing and analysis (not to mention Lynn’s superb management)

    How about a Friends of The Standard register and/or a donations/subscription facility so that us old rich pricks and prickesses can chip in? Maybe more collaboration and guest posts from the likes of Hager, Trotter and Campbell – cartoons, video clips, paid investigative reporters of repute – heck, aim not to rival the Herald but to bury it!

    [Tane: Yeah, we thought about that but didn’t like the idea of being accountable to anyone… :)]

  33. Mr Magoo 33

    I thought you already were and I had just ignored it like I do every other piece of advertising. 🙂

    But seriously, why are you not already doing it?? You have costs to cover.

    As long as articles that may have a conflict of interest are disclaimered in the first line, which is standard practice among reputable places, then how can there be a problem?

  34. Rex Widerstrom 34

    I’ll keep it short and sweet — Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business.

    – C Montgomery Burns 😀

    Bearing that sage advice in mind, by all means go for it. But I must disagree with ak. I don’t want to hear from the likes of Trotter and I can read Campbell elsewhere. I come here to read IrishBill and Tane, AYB and lprent and even, yes, Steve Pierson et al, all of whom manage to produce more cogent and better researched arguments than Trotter on his best day. And you guys have something fresh to say which in turn sets commenters off in different directions, making this a pot pourri (or soup, if you’d prefer) of debate rather than a dull drone of complete agreement punctuated by an occasional wild outburst of abuse, which is all Trotter’s tired claptrap can usually motivate.

  35. Quoth the Raven 35

    I don’t care either way. I never take notice of them anyway.

    I can almost see an ad like this coming: “Have a great holiday. Come to Cuba!’

    Why not? It’s a beautiful country.

  36. dave 36

    why not – if there is a funding shortfall, the money has to come from somewhere

  37. If The Standard runs ads they won’t be of any concern to me (I’ve got a good Firefox plugin which deals to them) however if it’s money you need have you considered opening a Paypal account and accepting donations? I know I would throw in a tenner for the valuable service you provide to the New Zealand political landscape.

    If you do place ads on The Standard you may want to consider situations that could put you at risk with your advertisers. We all know the classic example of the blog that focused exclusively on posting filth (in my opinion), and subsequently lost it’s NZ advertisers. While nobody would ever try to place The Standard at such low levels the question on my mind is whether you would not post something that you knew would put you at odds with your advertisers.

  38. mike 38

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh…..the slippery slope I see. Take an advert and sooner or later youll piss them off with some comment and then comes the real crunch………..

    You either soften your attitude on the particular subject that upset them – or lose the advert. Commercial reality.
    And youll only be getting a pretty limited group of potential customers (welfare addicts, ex government MP’s, counsellors, etc) and they have a habbit of NEVER forgetting -so you might be geting into dangerous waters.

    However if your previous sources are drying up……………………

  39. You guys should run, there is nothing wrong with that? Or maybe do what the democratic underground (the DU) does, and have a donation drive.

  40. Murray 40

    All the lefties that comment here could donate their tax cuts to keep the site going. That is, assuming you actually work and pay taxes.

  41. lprent 41

    mike et al:

    Nope – I’m still paying for it as I always have done for when it needs to be paid for. But it does cost to run the site currently ~160+GST per month. But I have no more room to optimize the site and when it hits election week levels again (probably about May looking at last years profile), it will start running slow as.

    This is the first real chance that we’ve had to look ahead since we launched the prototype site last august. This is a long-term project. Hell – the original intent was to get this thing viable before the next election. It kind of took off on us.

    What we’re looking at is the probable growth curves. At this point we have done 2066 published posts and over 69k comments (after the spam and banned are removed – they’d have at least been doubled it before we got them under control and out of the database).

    This is in 14 months, while our second favourite (and my favourite) party was in government – which is a bit limiting for a blog. I’d expect that with a nice fat juicy target for comment like the NACT government that this partizan’s blog will grow even faster. As it is the comments and posts are steadily increasing (and we still get complaints about lack of posts). Our average page views have been increasing by over 5% per month and haven’t fallen back far since the election spike.

    You have to remember that the next step on the server side will probably double the money costs which starts to hurt my budget a bit. Essentially I can’t justify that easily – the last cost double I justified by giving up smoking.

    I and probably the others would also like some more space for other web projects. This seems like a logical next step. The alternatives are to set up voluntary payments or look for sponsors. Advertising looks like the simplest, least intrusive, and least likely to cause editorial issues.

    Whatever we do, then it will be done with the same level of discrimination that the style police (a_y_b) allow me to get away with – been known to edit my css because it hurts the eyes (Mac people are SO fussy).


    BTW: Rex – I just came back from having a beer with the guy at Galbraiths…. I’m (usually) nice about people who buy me a beer.

  42. lprent 42

    Akismet has protected your site from 82,720 spam comments already, but there’s nothing in your spam queue at the moment.”

    Yep there is a lot of real crap in the net.. Don’t see much of anymore because of Akismet. Gone are the days of 50 or so in the comments queue in the morning. I’d like to help pay them as well.

  43. Rex Widerstrom 43

    Lynn you shameless class traitor, you. Accepting the filthy coin of the capitalist oppressor again?! Off to the re-education camp with you, m’boy.

  44. ak 44

    Tane: Yeah, we thought about that but didn’t like the idea of being accountable to anyone… 🙂

    Don’t flinch now brothers and sisters: you’ve set The Standard, assume the position and shoulder arms! Spare a thought for the bones you stand on who enjoyed the following wee ditty and be accountable only to them. And let the rest of us contribute (Lynn, you kicked nicotine for the cause – I’m in awe…greater love hath no man than this…..)

    The people’s flag is deepest red,
    It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
    And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
    Their hearts blood dyed its every fold.

    Then raise the scarlet standard high. (chorus)
    Within its shade we’ll live and die,
    Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
    We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

    It waved above our infant might,
    When all ahead seemed dark as night;
    It witnessed many a deed and vow,
    We must not change its colour now.

    It well recalls the triumphs past,
    It gives the hope of peace at last;
    The banner bright, the symbol plain,
    Of human right and human gain.

  45. Logie97 45

    Brilliant as long as the advertisers cannot dictate editorial content – and if you can make enough extra how about developing a left-wing radio station to counter the crap that parades as balance at the moment. Am sick of hearing the likes of Smith, Holmes, Williams, Russell, Jackson, Tamehere, and even Jim Mora’s panel generally has right to extreme right wingers.

  46. lprent 46

    ak: Actually not quite. But I’m getting close again.

    I was clean for a couple of months. However I relapsed during the campaign. I’d neglected to get rid of the linkage between smoking and programming at home. So when I started to seriously do some work on campaigning tools during the weekends and evenings, I found I couldn’t code there and I had to get the code out in time for the campaigning. So I gave up fro the blog and relapsed for the election campaign – see what politics does to you.

    At present I’m back down to a couple of rollies per day and about to shift back on to the patches. The target date for clean is the 23rd of December. That is when my namesake will get back from her sinking island and seriously start to get into harassment.

    But I used to smoke a pack every other day, and a lot more when the code got difficult when I  was programming at home. The savings are quite extensive, (and dropped into a new addiction – blogging).

    BTW: QuitLine are awesome

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