Allen Stern just wrote a post in response to a post that Seth Godin wrote. Both of these men are exploring ways to compensate content creators, such as bloggers. They both are recommending that users click on the ads that bloggers display. Godin calls this a form of tipping. As you can assume there are quite a few that aren’t very happy about this.
Apparently Seth Godin has never worked for real tips, and might have never really appreciated any tips that he might have given. Why you ask? Real tips display gratitude based on transference of wealth. Click ads does not transfer any wealth from the person making the “tip” to the content creator.
To better understand this point lets pretend that I am at my favorite Italian restaurant “Gianotti’s”. If I have enjoyed my meal (which I always do) and if I have enjoyed the service then I enjoy leaving a tip for the server. This transference of wealth from my wallet to the server is genuine display of gratitude, because I am giving MY money for a service that I appreciate.
However, following the teachings of Godin and Stern, I should reach over to the guy sitting at the table beside me, take his wallet out and steal a few bucks from him and use it to tip my server.
If you have ever worked for tips you know that this is not only wrong for the obvious reason but it also looks disingenuous because you obviously haven’t valued their work enough to tip them with your own money, instead in the case of internet ads, you have made a simple click that require no extra effort or expense.
But there is a much deeper dangerous side to this practice that we as internet marketers should be concerned with. Click fraud devalues ad cost. If you really want to help the blogger then you will only click on the ads that you find useful and relevant. Why? Because the very basis for PPC is relevancy and if advertisers see a rise in CTR with out a rise in conversions then they will drop PPC ads like a bad habit FAST! Nobody likes wasting money on marketing!
So the question that Stern asked is still left unanswered. “How do you compensate content creators?” Here’s an idea: If content creators feel their content is valuable enough to receive compensation then why not add a PayPal Donate button to their side bar. This way visitors can actually give a real tip. Or if you would rather you could always give the content creator a bit more publicity by mentioning their post in your blog or telling folks about it There are numerous ways to compensate content creators with out cheating advertisers at the same time.