Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Yahoo to donate $3 million in free banner advertising for Tolerance.org.
April 12, 2001 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Yahoo to donate $3 million in free banner advertising for Tolerance.org. This ranks up there as one of the coolest things Yahoo has ever done: whenever people search for hate-filled words, they'll get a banner ad reminding them of the effects of discrimination and intolerance. A single banner ad won't change the world, but it certainly can't hurt to spread information about tolerance (via rc3.org)
posted by mathowie (15 comments total)

 
Tolerance.org fucking rocks. Don't miss the fascinating Images in Action section.
posted by sudama at 9:43 PM on April 12, 2001


Meanwhile, Boeing buys time on the search term peace, Focus on the Family buys gay, and thus was born the cognitive dissonance genre of advertising.
posted by dhartung at 10:29 PM on April 12, 2001


So, uh, how much money were they making before selling ads linked to rude epithets? Was the KKK a big fan of recruitment banners? Was Barnes & Noble offering discounted copies of The Turner Diaries to disgruntled anti-Semites?

I'm not saying this is not a good idea, just that we shouldn't think Yahoo has graciously decided to forgo $3 million in badly-needed revenue just to help make a better world. All they're giving is a few hours of computer time to plug the banners into the right slots. Slots that would otherwise never have sold in a million years. This is a PR move by a company that the European press has been excoriating as "Pro-Nazi" for that total non-issue of people selling Nazi memorabilia online.
posted by aaron at 11:06 PM on April 12, 2001



Uhhhh, tolerence.org aside, isn't the whole reason that much of the net economy is in the dumper is because it was based on the banner advertising which no one f*cking looked at, much less clicked on??!! What makes anyone think that white supremacists will be different?

Perhaps this is starting too late. Should they have invested that $3 million into the U.S. educational system instead?
posted by fooljay at 12:08 AM on April 13, 2001


Next will be some thoughtful reminders for people shopping on Yahoo!'s new store.

Other than that this makes sense. What else are they going to serve up for hate-filled keywords? It's not like there are alot of businesses dying to have traffic directed to their site from people looking for info about dirty jews. Good PR though. And it is better than nothing.
posted by redleaf at 1:41 AM on April 13, 2001


Look, ad rates are falling. That $3 million worth of banner ad inventory won't be worth as much tomorrow and will likely drop further over the weeks and months to come. By donating the space now, they get a writeoff plus a PR victory that may come in hand the next time someone tries to censor them.
posted by Falconen at 2:01 AM on April 13, 2001


What a cynical crowd. Did anyone check out the tolerance site?
posted by sudama at 3:00 AM on April 13, 2001


No, of course not. Banner ads don't work.
posted by aaron at 12:03 PM on April 13, 2001


"we shouldn't think Yahoo has graciously decided to forgo $3 million"

I don't think anybody's trying to say that. Even the article itself says that $3m is the "estimated value," as in "this is how much it would have cost had we not donated it."

Can you think of a better way to express how much ad space was donated?

"All they're giving is a few hours of computer time to plug the banners into the right slots."

A few hours that they would have been paid $3 million for.

Just because it has monetary worth doesn't mean they're giving away that money. When I fix a neighbor's computer, say, and it takes me two hours, I could easily say that was $150 worth of work. If I don't charge him for it, that doesn't make my time worth less, nor does it mean I paid him $150.
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:23 PM on April 13, 2001


Actually, having worked for a while in internet advertising, I can say that banner ads do work a lot better on the very young, the uneducated, and the poor. So, really, this might have a chance of getting clicked on by those white supremecists.
posted by Doug at 12:40 PM on April 13, 2001


A few hours that they would have been paid $3 million for.

Not for those search terms. Thus the value is $0.

Can you think of a better way to express how much ad space was donated?

Yes. Tell us how many searches are run for those terms in a given month, for example. Put it in real-life quantity terms; don't even attempt to put a monetary value on it.

And yes, I do believe the average person reading the story now thinks Yahoo made a $3 million donation.
posted by aaron at 12:46 PM on April 13, 2001



"Not for those search terms."

Excuse me? Isn't that the basis for this estimate in the first place? It doesn't matter if anyone was actually lining up to buy those search terms and that much ad space. What matters is that if someone did actually buy them, it would have cost $3m. Once again, let's look at the original article: "...an estimated value of US$3 million..."

Also see the analogy at the end of my post. Things can have a monetary worth even if no money changes hands.

"And yes, I do believe the average person reading the story now thinks Yahoo made a $3 million donation."

Even given the wording "...an estimated value..."? I think most people understand what that means. Maybe someone who only read the headline on the Metafilter post would come away with that assumption, but the "estimated value" line is the only time Yahoo's money is even mentioned in the real article. Including the headline.
posted by CrayDrygu at 1:14 PM on April 13, 2001


Also see the analogy at the end of my post. Things can have a monetary worth even if no money changes hands.

Yes, but what's important is whether there's any real possibility that money ever would change hands for it. Sure, you can place a monetary value on anything you want. I can put a lock of my hair on eBay and set the reserve at $3 million. But nobody's going to bid, because my lock of hair doesn't actually have that value, no matter what I might claim. An object only has the value that somebody is willing to pay for it.

You're probably right that the average person knows the difference between actual value and estimated value. But I still believe that most people will think that Yahoo generously gave away ad space for which the company otherwise really would have gotten $3 million, when they're really just saying, "Sure, come on in and put up your PSAs. Nobody was ever going to buy these spots anyway." And I have seen other news reports that made much of the $3 million figure.

Of course, it might be Morris Dees that's flaunting the dollar figure in his usual lust for attention, rather than Yahoo, but the result is the same. Whether or not the ad space has value isn't a big deal, of course; I'm just speaking about it in purely economic terms.
posted by aaron at 1:56 PM on April 13, 2001



I just searched for klu klux klan and got plenty of nasty links...
posted by a_green_man at 2:02 AM on April 14, 2001


nasty links and you don't even have to search for 'ku klux klan'.
posted by Sean Meade at 10:05 AM on April 16, 2001


« Older Pundit scoreboard...  |  Jason's incredible day... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments