I’ve become pretty cynical about digital advertising. You know, “if it’s free then you’re the product,” or “it’s only a matter of time before they ruin it with ads,” that kind of thing.
I’ve also grown to distrust a lot of products. At times I feel like they’re out to deceive me, and I often wish they’d just be up front about their intentions. I understand that companies have to make money, but I want to be a part of that conversation rather than having it dictated to me without my input.
So, in the spirit of transparency, I want to share our beliefs, intentions and promises as we move into this second stage of life at Offline—the stage where we start making money. I want you to read them. I want you to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. I want your support to keep doing it.
We believe that
- Advertising is both inherently necessary and inherently good when done right. There is a fundamental need in markets for great businesses to reach great customers. This will never change.
- We encounter tons of local businesses with incredible owners that are trying to grow and reach new customers. In many cases it is a live-or-die need. We believe that our community would want to know about these businesses and would want us to offer these businesses the exposure they need to survive and thrive.
- To create advertising that’s just as awesome as our regular content that you already know and love. Payment from an advertiser is simply to ensure that content reaches more people.
- To never accept payment from people who want to “buy their way” onto Offline. Offline will stay curated—that will never change. Instead of allowing random people to grab the mic, we’re simply allowing great people to turn up the volume.
- To prioritize the trust of our community above everything else and to only work with advertising partners that we fundamentally believe in. If you think one of our partners doesn’t belong, please drop us a line and let us know.
It has always been our goal to create a thriving and profitable business without sacrificing our integrity so that we can continue to serve our members and the local economy. If you have strong feelings about this topic, I invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a comment into the article. I’m happy to discuss this decision or any other that we make here at Offline!
Cheers to the adventurous life,
David & the Offline Team
Q: What ad products are you offering? A: This is an evolving answer. We are always testing and will continue to test different revenue products. You’ll probably see a few here and there and we’ll know more by early 2016.
Q: How will I know if something is an advertisement A: All paid reach will be labeled. We’re still working out the exact wording and placement. We want to make sure we emphasize that a.) we would never allow someone that doesn’t fit within our standards to buy their way onto Offline b.) all of our advertising partners are handpicked companies that we are simply allowing to pay for more exposure.
Q: Who will create the ads? A: As of now, we’ll be developing them in-house. We believe that we have a lot of value to add to local businesses because of our expertise at creating high quality content. We have a deep respect for the entrepreneurs that are running local businesses and we want to them to focus on what they do best and leave the heavy lifting to us.