I love Seth Godin. Seth is brilliant. Seth is my marketing hero. I’ve got all his books. I buy them as soon as I can, without regard to the content or the title.
Sorry. I’m a Godin addict.
And I’m Hoping that one day he’ll come out with a movie so I can be first in line at the theater. Or a TV Show, so I can Tivo it every day. Maybe a live “marketing concert”? I’ll be there!
But today…today, Seth has got it all wrong.
Seth says that “Ads are the new online tip jar” and that you should click on them to say THANKS for the great content.
I couldn’t disagree more strongly, and here’s why.
Ads are usually sold based on a few different pricing models. The first is CPM or “Cost Per Thousand” impressions, commonly used for banner ads. What the advertiser is paying for is to have people see his ad, and nothing more. He doesn’t pay for clicks, but tries to optimize his ad to get as many clicks as possible.
Does the publisher earn money each time someone clicks a CPM ad? No. But the advertiser will be lead to believe that there is good amount of traffic coming from that ad, and may be mislead into buying more ad impression because of it.
Another common way to sell ads is “per click”. Google Adwords is a Pay Per Click advertising system, and its “Adsense” advertising network puts those Adwords ads on millions of websites. Each time someone clicks, the advertiser is charged for the click, and Google collects the money. Then, Google shares some of that revenue with the publisher.
There are other advertising models, too.
So what’s the problem with treating ads as an online tip jar?
It’s because the tip you are leaving is being paid by someone else!
You, the reader, are tipping with the ADVERTISER’s wallet, and that’s not right.
If you want to leave tip, do it. But use your own cash. Here are five ways to show your appreciation and leave an online tip.
1) On my website, and on thousands of others, there’s a link at the bottom of every post, and in the sidebar that literally says “Buy me a cup of coffee”. It’s a link to pay $2 (or more) via Paypal, quite literally as a “tip”. If you want to say Thanks for the article (including this one), just click that link.
Bingo. Tip left. Appreciation received.
2) Show your appreciation by sending traffic to the page and website you like. You can do that by using tools such as Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Twitter, your own blog, and all the other Web2 sites you post to.
Look below just about any blog post on any blog. You’ll see links to the social bookmarketing and media sites there, just as there are on this page, below.
I’m showing a little love to Seth here (despite the fact that I disagree STRONGLY with his opinion) by linking to Seth’s blog, and telling YOU about it. He’ll get traffic. And you know what…SOME of that traffic might be perfectly targeted to the ads on his site, and Seth might get some clicks on his ads.
What’s the difference? The difference is that the clicks he gets will be legitimate — from people who honestly are interested in what the ad says.
3) Along those same lines, another way you can leave a tip is simply by leaving a meaningful comment. You can appreciate someone’s blog post — whether you agree or disagree with it — by leaving a MEANINGFUL comment that continues the conversation going on at that site.
Why is that a TIP?
Because search engines like new content. If Google sees your blog post today, and comes back tomorrow to find more content there, then Google knows it’s a site that is RELEVANT to the topic on that page, and will rank it higher as a result.
4) If the website is selling something — Seth has all of his books for sale on his site — buy what he’s selling. If you like what he’s got on his blog, chances are VERY high that you’ll also like what is in his products.
See the links on the right side of my blog, under the “Resources” header? Those are my products. After reading this, you might think I’m a fairly smart guy. And if you do, I’m thinking you might want to learn more from me. That’s what those links are for.
See how that works?
Here’s the last one…
5) Do you want to show even more appreciation to the author for a post or site? Then buy an ad of your own on that site. Yes, it can be expensive if you’re buying hundreds of thousands of impressions. But you can start small — with Adsense maybe — and hope that someone will click your ad indiscriminantly, as Seth suggests.
Then you can feel fulfilled.
Okay, do you get the idea? Do you see the difference? Tip with your own money.
Seth is brilliant, but Seth is wrong on this one.
Now…What did you think about what I just said? Oh, you like it? Then how about buying me a cup of coffee??
To Your Success,
p.s. Thanks to Jeff Walker for letting me know about Seth’s post.