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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Choices in business

A couple of weeks ago, a client requested me to post an ad on our network of websites and we discussed reasonable compensation and terms. I didn't actually look at the ad -- my mistake! -- because I assumed it would be a standard banner ad and I knew the advertiser to be of good integrity.

To facilitate the advertiser's request, we need to facilitate some site reprogramming. Unfortunately, our offshore programmer initially reported he would need a few days extra because of illness; he now reports he will require up to a week to determine if he can even do the job. I had a Plan B ready -- we can hard wire the ad on the sites through a manual process using another service provider.

Then, just before instructing the service provider to start work, I actually looked at the ad for the first time. It is one of those flash ads that (without any reader prompting or action) spreads outside its borders and over other material on the site). Ouch! I know this type of ad can be very effective in attracting attention to the advertiser's own message, but what about everyone else on the site (including the editorial content). If anything, you are going to want to see this once, and no more -- and even then the message is way overpowering. I give the advertiser credit in coming up with the proposal -- it would, if accepted by me, be undoubtedly good marketing for his business, but the cash I receive from him would harm the interests of the overall sites.

We will hopefully come up with a compromise solution, but there are lessons to be learned here.

  • Check things at the outset -- if I had actually reviewed the ad I could have communicated my concerns with the client right away and not provided the terrible service to him I am in this case;
  • Consider others in engaging in any relationship or marketing. Of course your consideration should put your interests first -- I really don't have any trouble with the proposal itself -- it is my decision to decline because of its overpowering nature. I am declining because I know it will cost business greater than the ad is worth;
  • Don't be afraid to risk and try stuff -- the proposed ad is really effective from the advertiser's point of view; he did nothing wrong in proposing it to me.

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