We all have to make a living, but when the way we chose do it infringes on someone else's rights, there's a problem -- like the problem this site recently ran into with what we've dubbed parasite advertising (not to be confused with parasitic advertising, which is something different.
You might recall seeing this paragraph at the top of some pages:
From the beginning we wanted this site to be ad free. In fact, we regularly refuse offers to put advertising on the CyberCollege / InternetCampus sites.
There are many reasons we've not wanted to go the ad route. For one thing keeping advertisers happy -- or at least not stepping on their toes -- tends to shape decisions on content.
Magazines have run into this in making decisions on what will and will not end up being printed. Stories critical of companies that advertise, even when thire products represent health hazards, are either not covered or downplayed.
One of my students was fired from a TV station after doing a documentary on the pollution of a river -- after it came out that the company of a major station advertiser was responsible for the pollution.
Some advertisers want pre-approval on decisions about articles they think will detract from their goals. We give some disturbing examples in the Mass Media section of this site.
It simply comes down to not wanting to bite and hand that feeds you.
Even if you feel you as an editor or "decision maker" are above this kind of influence, your board of directors, with a sharp eye focused on the bottom line, probably won't be.
When your professional success and future come down to how the bottom line looks, you can feel a lot of pressure to do whatever it takes to hang onto and enhance profits.
The ploy to attach advertising to non-commercial sites like this one without the approval of the operators shows how desperate things have gotten. (Although in a way it's flattering to be seen as worth the effort.)
The parasite code that has been attached to key files is complex with those responsible hidden. The code is also linked to outside sources. This imposed code slows down page loading and can even stall it completely.
You may have noticed that a bit of a rebellion has come about on another advertising issue -- Internet advertising. We have letters on this site complaining about that. See Shooting Themselves In the Foot.
By beefing up virus and malware software and not downloading software programs with hidden "extras" included, this problem can be controlled.
Although avoiding the Internet Explorer browser and using Firefox also seems to fix the problem, in designing web pages we have to try out pages on all of the major browsers. That's how we discovered the parasite ad problem
Many people probably assume that the site is being paid for these ads and is even endorsing them. Nothing is farther from the truth.