A note on advertising.
As youâve no doubt noticed, TPM is now accepting advertising. (We've already run three ads and have two more pending.) And quickly after we started doing so we got inquiries from presidential campaigns wanting to advertise.
This raises a number of issues. And Iâve given the matter some thought. So let me share with you what Iâve come up with.
First, all these advertisements are paid advertisements. Within certain subjective bounds of appropriateness and taste, the ad space on the site is open to whomever wants to purchase it. I donât want to put too fine a point on it because I greatly appreciate those who choose to advertise and, as a general matter, I encourage readers to visit the sites to support that support. But ads appearing on this site come with no implied endorsement from TPM. I would happily run ads from a conservative candidate or a conservative organization. Please see these ads as no different from ones you might see on the websites of the Times or the Post.
Now, having said all this, political campaigns are a bit different. Itâs no secret that I prefer Democratic candidates over Republican ones. And if you read the site over time youâll see that I prefer some Democrats over others. Indeed, I do and will continue to write about the different presidential campaigns, telling you how I think theyâre doing, which I think have better chances of getting the nomination and potentially winning the general election next November.
Will accepting campaign ads compromise my judgment or independence, or perceptions of either?
Needless to say, other media outlets accept all sorts of campaign advertising while theyâre also covering those campaigns. And people think little of it. But letâs be frank: blogs are different. Iâm the business side and the editorial side in one person. So itâs a little different from a TV station where one group of people runs the news and another group sells the ads.
So what to do? I asked two of the people who I respect most in this profession. And they told me that they didnât think it was a problem. Both said the same thing: the only problem would be if all the advertising came from one campaign. Other than that, they thought it was a good idea and that I should do it.
Iâve mulled this a lot. And hereâs what Iâve come up with. Iâm going to accept the ads. (The first one is now running on the site now.) And here are the rules Iâm following â¦
First, only one ad from a given campaign at a time (Some readers weren't clear on what this previous sentence meant. Let me clarify: three different campaigns can advertise at once, but a single campaign can't run three ads simultaneously, or two for that matter.) I donât have any reason to think at the moment that any of the campaigns want to buy all the TPM ad space. But I just think itâs a good guideline to set up in advance. Second, a company called Blogads is handling the ads for TPM. And Iâve asked the person who handles selling the ads not to discuss with me whatever discussions heâs having with particular campaigns. I know heâs having discussions with several of the campaigns. But I donât know any more than that. And Iâve asked him to keep it that way.
So thatâs what Iâve decided. Blogs are a new medium. The answers to these questions arenât always clear-cut. I invite your input.