I've replaced the Google ads on this site with an ad for my company. I'm interested if that negatively impacts the site in any way.

In default mode, Ning runs Google ads, for which they get revenue. Alternatively, Ning lets you pay $20/month and either run your own Google ads, put something else in the space, or leave the ad space blank. Unfortunately, if you leave the space blank, you can't use it for anything else... It just becomes dead space.

The K12 Computers ad is smaller than the Google ads would be, but does it change the feeling of the site? Do the Google ads seem less obtrusive? Does having my company's ad compromise the feeling of community or objectivity of the site in any way?

My participation in this community, and setting up the site, have been labors of love. Does anyone have a bad feeling about my using the ad space in this way?

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In my aggregator I don't see them at all :)
I'll take that as a no, then--that unseen ads don't bother you. :)
Steve ...

No bad feelings from me ....... hope it can monitize the site for you in some (small) way ... everyone has to eat so I understand ... go for it.
Yes, I went ahead and paid the $20. I could then redirect the Google ad revenue to me, leave the ad space empty, or put our own ad in. I tried the Google ads for a while, but it was very low revenue ($1/day?), and sometimes I just didn't like the ads that showed up. We can have no ads, but the space on that right side cannot be used for something else... so I thought I'd try an ad for our business. My current thinking is that I'll rotate some public-service type ads for my other projects (SupportBlogging.com, K12OpenSource.com, EdTechLive interviews, etc.) with the computer ads.
I would prefer to see Google Ads that directed the revenue to you that you could then put back to the Ning site, sort of keeps it separate from your various other ventures (livekiosk, k12computers, etc).

Are you saying that the generic Google ads, from your perspective, are better, because the site is not tied to any particular company? Not sure I know what you mean by this: "that you could then put back to the Ning site."
I would rather see no ads at all. I understand that isn't always possible but I find ads (even ones placed to the side) intrusive at times.
It's not the end of the world and it would not stop me from being part of the conversation. If you can replace ads with ones that help you and your company, then that is more palatable to me than allowing Google to determine which products are bouncing into my eyeballs.
But overall, I wish this were an ad-free place.
I've asked Ning if they would consider an ad-free deal for educational sites like Wikispaces gives, but they said they aren't planning on doing that.
I have to say, I thought it was a Dell ad. And I didn't really think about it much past that. Just figured you were experimenting with different things for the ad area. It's better than the "portable classroom" and other random Google ads that kept coming up.

I have no problem with you getting some reward/recognition for running the network. It's the content and conversation that counts.
Given all of the positive things that you are doing and the amount of work you have put into this project, I don't have any issue with the ads. In fact, now that I know it is for your company, I'm actually going to check it out!
There's an old concept that a worker deserves his wages and no one should take them from him. You set up the group and are one of the biggest contributors. If there is a slight amount of money to be made either from Google ads or directing business to a company, why shouldn't the group admin make it? It seems reasonable to me.
The ads don't promote anything illegal or immoral. They are yours to use. Do what you will with the ads.
So, I feel comfortable on an intellectual level placing the ads... but my concern would be that if the ads in any way reduce the willingness of people to join the network and participate, then my first priority would go to building the resource for educators, and I'd ditch the ad.



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