I’ve been seen a few disclaimers on advertising in the Catholic blogosphere. I feel a combination of amusement and sympathy. The latter because I write for pay and I also write a blog, but I’ve mostly managed to avoid the combination of the two. But I do confess that between 3 and 4 percent of my annual income is courtesy of publishing organs (largely print) who do sell advertising space. Thanks to these organs, via these vendors, I am able to take my family out to an occasional dinner, or pay for my daughter’s new shoes, or buy a big bag of cat food with that check that arrives (sometimes rather conveniently) a few days before payday.
But the amusement comes with a few disclaimers I’ve found:
The ads in this column are not endorsed by the author. If you don’t like them, ignore them like you ignore commercials. (Mark Shea)
Ads that appear on this site are not selected or endorsed by the author. (Deacon Greg)
With all the recent chatter about remote, too-close-for-comfort, formal, informal, business casual, and other forms of cooperation with evil, I wonder about the morality of all this. I just wonder slightly–just enough to poke. Is enough for a good Catholic to disavow a hypothetical ad, like they disavow the latest Catholic College’s commencement speaker who happens to live down the street from somebody who voted for a pro-choice candidate for dogcatcher? Or is there some justice in getting a few laughs from some hypothetical pajama blogger who posts on the evils of Islam three times a day, and some ad generator decides to throw up a Vacation Mecca panel on the sidebar?
And let’s be honest: Catholic blogs have a long way to go before they start looking like a soccer player’s uniform or a NASCAR auto.
I also wonder about the methods behind ad placement. Suppose I go surfing sports sites for two hours, then I drop in at Patheos. Will Mark’s right-hand column be selling me baseball gloves and basketball jerseys? Amazon still seems all excited about the Christmas stash I ordered for my wife and the young miss. Next month I’m sure they’ll still be trying to sell me The Vampire Chronicles, Book XIV or Kindle 5.01.01.01.
I’m more amused at ways in which people try to make money off the internet. I’m sure the best business to be in is as a provider. My internet/tv bill takes a huge hike whenever we move. I remember paying for ninety hours of internet in 1996. My wife got upset because it blocked incoming calls. Now we get the tv/pc interconnection going all the time, and everybody’s taking calls. What an age we live in! No more days of surfing online without telemarketer interruption.
With my luck, I’ll probably get some ad offer next month, and when I look at the stack of medical bills, I’ll cave. But for now, I’m slightly happier, and slightly poorer to live in an ad-free zone. Unless of course y’all are surfing places where you’re not s’posed to be. I’m not disclaiming those ads–that’s just desserts.