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Re: Ads in online journals, was: Re: CBC and Liblicense list

Co-incidentally, let me report briefly on a recent development.  A large
aggregator of diverse information/news sources has just made an offer to a
group of consortia that involves keeping the price of the aggregated
resource at a lower (rather than far higher) level by including
advertising.  The advertising will be aimed (as is the product use) at
students, generally undergraduates.  The advertising will be
"click-through" so that the user of the database can look at sites of
interest to him or her.  The advertising will not include alcohol, drugs,
firearms, and other controversial products and the aggregator is willing
to work with a librarian advisory group to make sure that the advertising
chosen is not problematic or offensive. 

When this offer was presented, we were all delighted at the possibility
of price stabilization.  We were variously concerned, however, about such
advertising for reasons such as:

o Implied endorsement by the institution of the product being advertised.
o Tying up limited resources (such as library workstations) for longer
times, while students head for the Reebok, Coca Cola, United Airlines
Vacations, and Ferrari sites.

If/when this advertising is implemented, it will be a first for our own
licensed electronic information resources -- ones for which we pay
substantial sums of money.

I would be interested in hearing of readers' reactions to this
development, which I am sure only presages much more of the same.

Ann Okerson
Yale University Library


> I too have never understood this position of some of the publishers.
> Clearly, a great many companies do think such ads work, as a startlingly
> large amount of money seems to be being invested in the infrastructure and
> production of them! As a user, yes, I will read them only if interested,
> but isn't that the idea?  If I were an advertiser, I imagine I would be
> very aware of the electronic medium's potential for measuring actual
> readership-- not just of the publication but the ad itself.  This is not
> possible in print, though I know it is attempted with survey techniques. 
> We are presumably seeing another instance of the maladaptive conservatism
> of the publishing industry. If they remain conservative to the point of
> fossilization, we will all lose the benefits we might get from their
> further evolution.
> David Goodman 
> Biology Librarian, Princeton University Library 
> phone: 609-258-3235            fax: 609-258-2627

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