Online Tip Jar (from Seth Godin)

01 Sep 2008

Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to make a comment under his blog posts or send him a personal message at member nickname, "Rich," here at StartupNation.

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As you know, everything we offer at StartupNation – all 175,000 pages of content – is completely free. If there’s any question left as to how we run this business and make a buck, let it be known that it’s through advertising and sponsorship.

That’s why I was particularly intrigued by Seth Godin’s recent blog entry that argues that clicking on online ads at a website you’re enjoying is like throwing some change in the proprietor’s tip jar.

Seth’s blog is filled with his quick hitting, sharp shooting commentaries and observations. He’s one of those people who seems to capture things that many times people already know but didn’t really fully appreciate until Seth put it in a nutshell for them. His packaging and catchy language actually make ideas gel and become “-isms”. Like the phrase, “permission marketing,” which he coined.

So this time around, he’s arguing that if you come across a piece of content or conversation at a website that you think has real value, then return the favor by clicking on an ad on that page. It means a few more pennies to the site, which are always appreciated, and who knows, you may get exposed to an interesting offer.

The bottom line is that if you want great content free of charge, the advertisers are going to have to be the way that things are bankrolled. And if you click on their ads, you’re actually fostering the opportunity for more high value content to be created and offered to you for free.

“Clicking on ads at good sites is like throwing a tip in their tip jar.” Way to capture the concept once again, Seth.