Petition Against Paid Content

I’ve taken a long hiatus from posting on BB. Some may have noticed, some may have cared, others neither. The reason for my absence is complicated, but one of the primary reasons has been the editorial policy here at BB which I have felt favored commerce over content, cash over conscience. I’m returning now with a specific request; eliminate paid content aka fake news and clickbait from boingboing. In my opinion it has no place in this great site, no value to the civic dialogue. So let’s call on BB editors to disavow it and stand up for a more honest journalistic code of conduct. Who’s with me? Anyone? Bueller?


What do you offer as an alternative revenue source to entice them into abandoning the ones they have currently chosen?


What would you consider to be fake news here?

I’d love to see the native advertising go away - or at least be better disclosed, but it’s also fun to post snarky comments there.


The obvious ads (Pay as little as you want as long as it’s over $15 for the 95% off lifetime vape subscription with a free professional course on VPN administration!) are obvious. The affiliate links are perfectly fine IMO. The partner posts are normally pretty on-point and relevant. And clickbait is really a matter of opinion.

So, like, point out an example. Cause I don’t get what you mean here.


Also there’s no ad revenue directly through the BBS. When compared to other places there’s really little to complain about here IMO.

As far as fake news, yeah Cory posts sensationalized and sometimes frustratingly inaccurate things, but I’ve not seen anything blatantly or intentionally misleading content here so I’d love to see examples.


They should do what they want and people should feel free to make fun of it if they feel like it.

I think that’s the extent of any input we should have in the situation.


If you don’t like it, I remember there being an initiative a few months back for a bunch of us to split off and start our own blog/community. Maybe you’d want to join in on that!



I believe I was the one who started that initiative, or at least started that thread. But it was never intended to be a movement against BB it was supposed to be its own thing.

My problem with the ads on BB is that they are like all those around today - fake headlines, ads disguised as news, clickbait. They are beneath the standard of BB and its readership. We are the readers and as such, make suggestions about things - this is not a “love it or leave it” situation. Nor is it a situation where I need to worry about the personal fortunes of Mark or Xeni - they can worry about their own bank accounts and come up with a different revenue solution.

[quote=“waetherman, post:8, topic:93836”]
My problem with the ads on BB is that they are like all those around today - fake headlines, ads disguised as news, clickbait.[/quote]

The fact is that clickbait headlines win because they drive traffic. I mean, as much as people claim to hate them, they seem to really work! It really is One Weird Trick that gets you clicks. When you’re running a business and have web hosting bills to pay or servers to maintain, you have to do what you know works. Cory has written about the unhealthy relationship between ads and Internet content, and you have to compete with everyone else’s ad contracts at the same time. If Mental Floss is doing Amazon Affiliate links, and paid content (or at least what seems to be thinly veiled paid content) I have a hard time seeing how BB is supposed to keep up.

There will eventually be some kind of crash and singularity with the online ad market, but in the meantime, to put it presidentially, the staff have to put food on their families. Saying “you can find some other revenue source” is a lot easier than actually finding it. No revenue, no BoingBoing.

It’s a love it or lose it, situation. Now, if you want to talk about something like paying membership dues… I’m increasingly down with that. My local paper does it because they can’t have a free online version with their limited circulation or they’d go out of business and it seems to work. But that’s going to call for more people being down with that than just me. And I know some regulars here can’t afford it, and we’re going to have to set up a scholarship program.

All of that being said, I’m going to agree with you in a way: BB does have to figure something out before they turn into the online equivalent of one of those magazines which consist 90% of ads. But that’s more about balance than categorical avoidance of current online ad-based strategies.


Allow me to introduce you to ublock origin.


My biggest problem is how the lines between different forms of content are blurred. What I would like to see is the following:

Right at the top of every post indicate in clear, standardized and non-weaselly words whether it was compensated (in any form) and if it contains affiliate links or similar.

In addition to that mark affiliate links individually.

Clearly indicate which humans were involved in writing the text of the post.


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