Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman

Should you turn on “sensitive” ad categories for your website’s display ads?


What’s a sensitive ad category?

They’re the fun topics that also happen to pay well.

I’m talking about:

  • gambling
  • consumer loans
  • alcohol
  • weight loss
  • dating
  • drugs and supplements
  • get rich quick


You get the drift.

These are the categories that are insanely profitable online.

Which means advertisers are willing to pay more.

However, not every publisher wants to bombard visitors with such ads.

Suppose you publish a website about getting sober, it’s probably not the best idea to turn on ads selling booze and oxycontin.

The question I opine about today is “should you turn on these ad categories on your site?

Short answer: Yes, absolutely.

I bet you’re thinking to yourself, “Jon, you’re just in it for the money and don’t care what gets shown.”

That’s a good guess and I admit the additional revenue is great.

But I like to think my reasoning for turning on ALL sensitive ad categories is more evolved than merely a money grab.

I’m a believer in personal choice.

Folks are adults.

Who am I to censure what ads are shown to them?

Besides, the ad networks have filters in place to prevent obscene ads from showing.

IMO, if the ads pass AdThrive scrutiny, I’m good with them.

Here’s another perspective on ads and aggressiveness.

In Canada, the government subsidizes the CBC to the tune of over $1 billion per year. The CBC has a TV channel, radio station and website.

It’s a bit of a government mouthpiece.

The other online publications get squat.

They have to go up against an outfit that has a huge financial advantage.

While I don’t mind the CBC, I sure wouldn’t want Canada to offer only one news source.

I read several other Canadian publications. One of them is the Nationalpost.com.

I read it daily.

Like many publications with both print and online versions, it struggles.

Over the last year or so, the online version has ramped up its ad aggressiveness considerably.

They posted notices on the site saying it’s doing so in an effort to be profitable.

I totally understand. I welcome the ads. I want it profitable because I don’t want it to disappear.

If it shows me nasty toenail fungus ads just before dinner, so be it. I’m good with that because I want it to make money.

Apparently, the new ad strategy is working. It’s making more money. I’m happy about that.

Yes, the user experience is tarnished a bit, but I’d rather that than no user experience at all due to disappearing.

If you haven’t turned on the “sensitive” ad categories for fear of reprisal, fear not. Perhaps turn them on and see what happens.

That’s my two cents’ worth.


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