WHY ADVERTISING AT ALL?
Pulpit & Pen utilizes much more bandwidth and server space than a typical “blog,” with hundreds of thousands of readers each week and many millions over the course of a year. We rely upon ever-changing technology upgrades, software upgrades, and storage upgrades. We have a compensation program for our contributors, host a podcast, and have other needs. At this point in the growth of Pulpit & Pen to a premier alternative Christian and Conservative news site, advertising meets our needs. Our desire is to utilize it as ethically as possible. Someone with a simple Squarespace or WordPress blog may not recognize the expense of a major operation with tens of thousands of articles and videos like Pulpit & Pen, but we assure you it is rigorous.
Advertising in the online world is a difficult thing logistically, especially when it necessitates taking into consideration every viewer’s individual browsing. Thanks for your patience as we continue to address this issue. Also, thank you to those who support Pulpit & Pen on Patreon, so we have to rely less and less on advertising revenue to meet our needs. We hope the day comes when it is not needed at all.
HOW ADVERTISING WORKS
Pulpit & Pen utilizes advertising to maintain a sufficient operating budget to continue offering important news and insights to Christian believers. After searching for the best and most trust-worthy advertising venues, we have chosen to utilize an advertising service based in France. Similar to Google Adsense, the advertisements you see on Pulpit & Pen are chosen by a combination of keywords (used on the blog that advertisers believe will make consumers have interest in their product) and your browser search history or Internet usage (the things you search for on Google, the sites you’ve visited, etc).
To put it another way, the advertisements you see on Pulpit & Pen are the types of advertisements you would see anywhere on the Internet from your browser, including Facebook or other kinds of social media, other news sites, or other websites. They are not unique to Pulpit & Pen or chosen by Pulpit & Pen. If you search for watches, you may see an advertisement for watches. If you browse travel sites, you may see an ad for a travel company, etc.
Pulpit & Pen has communicated extensively with our advertising company to ensure the strictest possible filters are employed to ensure wholesome advertising. We do not allow dating websites, medical websites (because these include contraception ads, erectile dysfunction ads, breast augmentation ads, and so forth). We do not allow advertising with foul language or that are “adult” in nature. Our pre-prescribed filters are set at the highest level.
IF THERE IS A PROBLEM
However, sometimes advertisers do not properly label the type of ads or the content of their ads correctly. For example, an ad for a “gay cruise” once snuck through the ad filter, and was made available because the content of our post used the term, “LGBT,” and when we inquired of our ad company, we were told that it was not a “dating site,” but a travel site, which was not blacklisted by our ad filters. For this reason, we try to avoid such keywords and use terms like “sodomy” or the “LGBTQXYZLMNOP” to circumvent their algorithms. Figuring out which words do and do not attract certain advertisers is not always an easy task.
Likewise, there are sometimes completely innocuous advertisements for – as an example – an electronics company, that has for some reason included a picture of a woman with cleavage. Or, if we have an article about Roman Catholicism, an ad may appear that sells rosaries or if we do a post about Mormonism there might be an ad for the LDS (what a horrible use of their money!). This is because robots and algorithms, and not human beings, are approving individual ads.
In the event that something like this occurs, when brought to our attention (remember, we don’t see the same advertisements you do, because they’re chosen – in part – by your own unique browser history), we immediately contact the advertising company and blacklist that specific advertisement from that specific company and it will never appear on the site again. We have a web-manager whose job it is to communicate with the ad company to do this job.
Should you see an ad that is unwholesome, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a screenshot or description of the specific ad in question, and we will blacklist it immediately.
Over time, with more and more ads blacklisted, fewer and fewer such ads are likely to appear. However, newer ads are always created and may need to occasionally be blocked. But this requires your help (again, because we don’t see the ads you do).
In the meantime, Pulpit & Pen is experimenting with other advertising options that include companies that only deal specifically with “family-friendly” ads. Our current problem is that most of these are designed for Roman Catholic websites, which also present a problem.
We are also working on an option for an ad-free experience.
I woke up this morning with a text from a friend that had a screenshot of an unwholesome ad (for a topic not approved by our Christian faith) on the site. I contacted our web-admin immediately and asked that he remove all ads until the issue was amended. He then contacted our ad company, who assured us they would tighten their filters even more stringently. Until we are sure of that, we are currently using an exclusively-Christian service in the interim called Christian Ad Service. I sincerely apologize for that experience, and we are trying harder than ever to ensure wholesomeness in an unwholesome world.
We are posting this as an article, and also as a page in the menu of the website for future reference.
Grace & Peace,
Pulpit & Pen Publisher, JD Hall