Jerame Davis

NOM ads on LGBT sites: A pheNOMenal waste of money

Filed By Jerame Davis | May 05, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Site News, The Movement
Tags: marriage, NOM, strategy

There has been some discussion lately of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and their latest online advertising campaign. Their anti-marriage equality ads are popping up on LGBT websites across the web. NOM_ad.jpgMany of these sites are banning these ads as a knee-jerk reaction because they disagree with the message.

I think this is a mistake.

NOM is spending tons of money putting these ads all over the Internet. Every 1,000 times these ads are seen, it costs them a little money. Every time one of the ads gets clicked, it costs them considerably more money. Either way, the website that presents the ad gets paid and NOM's coffers shrink.

So doesn't it make deliciously ironic sense to take the money they're using against us to fund the very sites that debunk NOM and their bullshit?

It's time we started thinking strategically.

Every penny they spend putting ads on LGBT websites is utterly wasted money, so why not oblige them to waste their money?

I think our readers are smart enough to know we don't support the message of all of our advertising. The ads are there to pay the bills - not to promote an agenda - that's what our writing is for!

When you watch television - particularly news stations - do you think the commercials to "make a man's certain body part larger" are endorsed by Anderson Cooper? (OK, so that's probably a bad example - Anderson could be a size queen, but we just don't know!)

Seriously. Ad revenues are down. Way down. Here at Bilerico, our ad revenues have been cut in half over the past 6 months. In times like these, it just doesn't make sense to turn away any revenue.

Instead of complaining about ads you think are offensive or out of character, consider clicking the ad instead of sending an email to complain. You're helping out the websites you like and hurting the people you don't like by taking money away from them.

So don't be surprised when you see ads you don't like on this site and others. We're not the only site taking this stance with regard to objectionable advertising. We'll continue our policy of blocking blatantly offensive or annoying ads, but we're not going to block ads just because we disagree with the message.

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you think we should ban the ads? Should we take tainted money or should we shun it to our detriment? I'm curious to see where projectors fall on this issue.

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I wasn't sure how the $$ stream worked with web ads. If I click and don't buy you still get paid? I appreciate what y'all do so I'll be a clicking fool from now on as long as I don't have to contribute to NOM.

The ads are a bit incongruous and a tad annoying, but I rarely pay attention to them. The Nation magazine makes a point of accepting ads from people they don't agree with. If it's good enough for the Nation, it's good enough for Bilerico.

Dyssonance answered this below, but I thought I'd pop in. Folks who use Google ads get paid two ways: 1) Per impression (how many times the ad is shown) and 2) Per click.

Affiliate programs are the ones where you have to buy something. The ad on our site for Otter clothing, for example, is an affiliate ad. We get paid a percentage of sales on that one and not per impression or click.

I'm game to click away, but will NOM use the click count to claim a high level of agreement with their point of view?

NOM' claims are irrelevant -- they will use a low count to ensure it.

Bilerico gets the money and *all* ads like that (google ads, basically) generate money for the hosting site 2 ways: pay per impression (per time it shows up on a page) and pay per click. Bilerico gets more money per click.

And Bil -- I was serious. You promise to donate the money from my clicks (or a specific portion of it) to trans affirming organizations, and I'll do so.

Otherwise, its *still* not worth my time to actually click on an ad (and I think I can count the number of times I have *anywhere* on one hand).

If an ad appeals to me, I mark the url, and go back to when I feel like it.

Dyss -

I don't know that Google will give us a breakdown of how much the ad made for us. I know it's only being shown to folks from certain states (I never see it for example... Someone sent in the screenshot!)

Since it's such a small segment of our audience, only gets shown in rotation with other ads, etc - I'd imagine our take of the NOM cash would probably be under $10 (and more like $5). Since I just agreed to pay for a membership to the local trans org for a friend, does that count to make up for the $5? :)

Ya earned 5 clicks with that one, Bil :D

Money for Bilerico from NOM!? Where do I click?!

(no, seriously, where do i click? there is no active link in the article...)

John Shields John Shields | May 6, 2009 8:46 AM

As a regular contributor to Bilerico DC, I have to admit I was utterly shocked when I saw a NOM ad - and it was on one of my articles - on the site. I didn't go ballistic, but it was close as the article was about how stupid and bigoted NOM is.

After reading Jerame's article and thinking about it, he is absolutely correct. Everyone should at the very least click on the advert.

My only question is will they be able to follow the "virtual paper trail" and cease advertising on Bilerico? If so, maybe just a click through, then dump the link and either go to their site independently and write an email or go back to what you were doing.

In either case, you're helping out our community in the process. I think a click-thru at least will be productive - these people are stupid and will probably only look at the metrics and continue advertising on LGBTQ sites.

I like the idea of clicking on it.

I particularly like the idea of LGBT being such great clickers that NOM sees how good the response is on LGBT sites that they give up targeting non-LGBT sites. Then their message only goes out to those that don't care about them.


I think there's a difference between organizations who are advertising to spread a message and merchants who are advertising to make money -- were it me, I wouldn't want to direct business to someone who used their profits to take away my rights, but I wouldn't mind taking money from someone who would never convince anyone on my site that homosexuality is a sin.

Though I do worry about some kid somewhere Googling "gay" for the first time -- by having such a strong political bent, does Bilerico implicitly make a commitment to its readers that they can trust its advertising content to only give money to people who aren't our enemies and not blindside us with arguments that our lives and identities are wrong? They're not easy questions.

That said, given the current economic situation, I think I'd rather have Bilerico with ads I find off-putting than no Bilerico at all. But will that policy last once things get less precarious?

I just want to be clear:

Advertising agreements do not allow us to encourage our readers to click on our ads. We are NOT encouraging anyone to click on ads on our site. That is your personal decision. This post was to point out the reasons why NOM is stupid for allowing their ads to display on LGBT-friendly sites and how that benefits LGBT causes.

How you use the information is your decision - we just want you to have all the information available so you can use it how you see fit.

Dallas Dingman | May 7, 2009 3:23 AM

I like the idea of getting the money from NOM but what scares me is if some sexually confused person gets led astray by these people just by clicking the link. They will stop at nothing to try and shame or degrade people into hating their feelings.

lacy panties | May 10, 2009 12:11 PM

Every penny they spend putting ads on LGBT websites is utterly wasted money, so why not oblige them to waste their money?

That might be true if you assume that all LGBT people (or readers of LGBT websites) support same sex marriage. Since that assumption is demonstrably not true, your conclusion isn't true either.

Your rhetoric does, however, contribute to the silencing of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender voices that oppose marriage. Please try harder in the future to acknowledge the spectrum of opinion in our community regarding this issue, rather than perpetuating the myth that monolithic support for marriage accurately defines LGBT attitudes.

So - because you don't support marriage for same-sex couples (and I assume you're a member of the LGBT community, though I probably shouldn't) you WOULD support an organization that brazenly and openly supports discrimination against LGBT people?

That's just kinda silly, honestly. No matter what your feeling is on marriage equality, if you are supporting NOM, you are actively working against your own self-interests.

As for your suggestion that I work harder to acknowledge the spectrum of LGBT opinion on the matter - I do. Indeed, I am one of the most outspoken about how marriage has taken over the LGBT movement and how it hurts those of us in the more conservative parts of the country.

Perhaps next time, you should try to paint with a smaller brush and realize the truth of what was said in the post. Even if you don't support marriage, you shouldn't support NOM because they're not just about marriage, they're about discrimination, persecution, and fomenting lies and deception.

My conclusion is still accurate. The likelihood of a crappy NOM ad swaying anyone who reads LGBT sites into their column is pretty much zero. Just because something is possible doesn't mean it is likely - that's the law of large numbers in action.

But hey - if you want to support those who actively and blatantly wish to do LGBT people harm, that's your prerogative. My guess is that you'd be the 1-in-a-million who seeks to do themselves or their friends harm for no good reason.