Tell Me What to Tell Congress

I'm in Washington D.C. as part of the Long Tail Fly-In, a group of around 60 small web publishers assembled by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). As a publisher who uses context-based advertising on the Drudge Retort and other sites, I was invited to meet with members of Congress to talk about why this form of advertising is important to online media.

I attended this event last year and met aides for Reps. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), Michael Castle (R-Del.), Bill Young (D-Fl.), Charlie Melancon (D-La.) and Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). I also elbowed Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) hard in the schnozz in one of the tiny elevators in the Rayburn building, but I don't think he knew I was with the IAB -- so no harm, no foul.

This year the odds are pretty good I'll be talking to a member of Congress, since 18 members of the House or Senate have scheduled time with us.

That's where you come in. I'd like to hear from people who are running full- or part-time businesses that are fueled by Google AdSense and other third-party ad services that provide contextual ads. I'd like to know how you started the business and whether it will be viable if new privacy laws make it impossible for ads to be targeted to users using cookies and other web technology.

I wouldn't be able to run the Retort or my other sites without AdSense, one of two ad brokers I'm currently using on the site. I tried a half-dozen other ad providers before Google got into that business, and none of them generated enough revenue to be able to afford server hosting, much less any of my time.

If you're running an online site with these kinds of ads, I'd like to hear from you so I can crib your stories tomorrow on Capitol Hill.


Not really an ad comment, but you might also mention that the PROTECT-IP (nee COICA) act currently under consideration in the Senate is a draconian attack on free speech at the behest of Hollywood and traditional media.

Support the progressive caucus budget.

Hmm ... my story is not quite what you'd want. I used to run some Google AdSense ads on my blog. Then Google cut me off for some suitability reason, and I haven't been inclined to try doing the Kafkaesque journey through their levels of service people. So perhaps having a site depend on the whim of a single company is not such a great idea.

Oh, you could also tell Congress that extreme income and wealth inequality undermines the very foundations of democratic society, and threatens to turn a country into a plutocratic oligarchy (aka "banana republic"). But I doubt it would do any good.

I'd really love to hear what you talked to Congress about in the end. I am a little late to the conversation, but am very interested to see where they/you are at. Google AdSense has become a Godsend in trying to get enough revenue just to run a site these days. It really is head and shoulders above others and I've had great success with it.

Rogers, how'd it go? This sounds right up my alley and how I make most of my money these days so I'm curious what you talked about and what kind of feedback you got.

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