This sort of clickfraud is like using someone elses bottle opener to open the bottle vs buying your own bottle opener.
Clicking on adverts, you're using advertisers money to reward the website, instead of using your own.
Clearly it's not a good thing to advocate, but you can sort of see why some people may decide to do it.
A better suggestion IMHO would be for websites to use pay per lead/sale affiliate links, and just ask that if people were already going to buy something, that they use the websites links, thus giving the website a commission. That way no one is defrauded.
But putting money into a system is certainly a lot of work for lots of people.
We've got the metrics and acronyms down. But will we continue to deny the importance of emotional connection between a site's audience and its creator?
Blogs are an interesting one-to-many-to-many dynamic where a content creator feeds an audience, each member of which feeds their social news services or friends.
Tipjoy could do a lot better to harness this relationship, and we have lots of plans, but Ads are so far removed from the relationship that I agree with Paul's analogy.
The issue here is that you need to make a marketing push into non profits. That hasn't been where we've focused our resources.
But mainly, I disagree with him on the form of tipping.
My form of tipping is to give a thumbs up on Stumbleupon, or even on Digg or Reddit. If it's not on Stumbleupon, even better, I submit it!
For ad-supported content, I think eyeballs is a fine currency. I tip with something that, in a way, belongs to me: a very tiny slice of my online "reputation" on social bookmarking services, exchanged for a chance for the author to get more eyeballs, which might click on ads they're genuinely interested in.
In Seth's scenario, I'm tipping with someone else's (the advertiser's) money. That doesn't feel right to me.
The only people who are hurt are the legitimate publishers. When you click an ad you aren't interested in, you effectively lower the CPC for all publishers. This helps the site you're on, but hurts all the rest who show ads of the same category.
The gist of the clarification is 'click and pay attention to the pitch on the landing page to say thanks, which over time will change click-ads to work more like TV, which would be healthy for the ad environment'. (Um... yuck!)
The original formulation sounded authentic, albeit essentially advocating click fraud. The second sounds like backtracking, but has within it the core of an idea in the TipJoy mold:
What if some contextual ads were explicitly of the form, "we'll tip the author X if you watch our Y second pitch", and their TOS allowed sites to encourage clickers?
Then you wouldn't be undermining the value of traditional cost-per-click ads, you'd be adding another variant to the attention-market that works like what Godin wants. It'd be a little like an interstitial (or TV ad), but appear only after you enjoy the content. (An 'afterstitial'?)
Does Google AdSense allow you to pick sites you want your ad to appear on?
(1) Overall advertising industry spend would remain constant. CPC would go down. Distribution of advertising revenue may shift slightly towards sites with more "savvy" users.
(2) If, miraculously, distribution shifted significantly, advertisers would view this as damage and work to route around it.
For blogs and content site, let them have a donate button which says on the face to show gratitude than promoting click fraud this way.
In the ideal case,
- If you have a decent site (read business not arbitrage or lead gen sites), you must be making more money from serving the customer yourself than letting him/her navigate away from your site.
- Ads are meant to only complete the user experience. Like say I am searching for a "black leather high heel sandal" and the site doesn't have the content relevant, their last attempt to serve the customer should be to show relevant ads as someone out there might serve me.
- Ads are about monetizing a visit.
All adnetworks are aggressively behind click fraud for the very same reason.
However its a bad bad world! :) So to survive most are forced to shed away virtues and values.