"Curtis L. Olson" said:

> I don't want to get caught up parsing nuances here.  Commercial vs. 
> non-commercial is a continuum, but I'm not sure there is any "ethics" 
> attached to that.

To some, nuances matter and to some commerial vs. non-commercial is in fact an
ethic issue.  Especially when it comes to advertising.  That said I should add
the disclaimer that I make a living in commerce.

> I might be more concerned with "tacky" vs. 
> "non-tacky".  I don't know if having a more commercial appearance is an 
> ethical issue ... it maybe an issue relating to what appearance we want 
> to convey, but to me it's not an ethical issue in and of itself.

Now _that_ is a nuance of meaning.  It seems that ethics are mostly about
trust (relationships) and self esteem (doing the right thing) **, but
appearances are meaningful (note that I will not be posting photos of my
office).  Just for giggles I typed "Ethical Appearance" into Google and this
was the first link: 

** ok so I'm an athiest.

>  From our perspective, we don't care about the effectiveness of adds, 
> that's not our problem. ;-)

There's an ethical perspective for ya. :-)
> We don't have complete control over the content that get's advertised, 
> but we do have some control.  We can filter out specific sites we don't 
> want, and we can filter out some broadbased categories, such as "adult" 
> adds or "death/chaos/war" adds.

It's pretty much automatic and changes minute by minute.  Ads that we are not
proud of will show up from time to time.
> The idea of google adds is not to display any random viagra or 
> low-rate-mortage advertisement, but target the adds based on the 
> specific content of the page using advance google search technology 
> (probably TM.)  

I understand the content placement methods.  It isn't unique to Google either.
 Those snake oil examples were just illustrations of the fact that Google
doesn't control the ads completely.  They will remove ads from people doing
bad things, but that happens after the ads start to run, not before.

> I'm told there are several choices for how much space we give google, 
> supposedly we can do graphics or text only adds, even single vs. 
> multiple adds.  I imagine that the rate of return is proportional to how 
> much space we give them, but they don't really say.
> Clearly we can make this more or less obnoxious depending on what size / 
> qty. adds we enable.  Can we make it suitably non-obnoxious is the big 
> question for me.

You won't do anything tacky or obnoxious, no doubt of that from here :-)

> Do these sorts of "donation" links actually work?  I'd be tempted to 
> point the donations link to tsunami relief or other charities, but then 
> I'd risk being political in my choice of organizations.  With google, 
> they get to take the heat. :-)

Hehe...maybe we should do a donate to Google, Inc link? ;-)  There are so many
people doing these paypal donation links that it can't be too difficult.  It
might end up being nothing but maybe it'll help some.  I'm willing to bet that
folks on the lists would step up and send a paypal donation if a specific
requirement came up.  Some time ago I saw one site that actually kept a
running total of donations, expenses, and anticipated needs.  Maybe that
wouldn't help, but it looked pretty cool.  

Sort of a little off topic: Something that would be really cool (at least in
the US) is to have a registered non-profit that just collected donations (like
United Way) and then uses those funds to make grants to individual projects
like flightgear.  I'm not sure of the legalities, but perhaps such an
organization could accept tax deductable gifts from individuals that are
directed to specific projects by the donor.  Maybe there is already something
like this?  FSF supports official "gnu" projects, and allows a limited number
of directed donations, but only at their discretion.



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