That’s right. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. We have no display-type advertising on Free Press. It’s because the story and you are the most important thing for us.
This will be a donor and sponsorship news organization. That means we won’t get the quick bucks of display ads, but we will slowly build financial backing from you and sponsors who want to support our approach to Oklahoma City news.
When I was first conceiving Free Press, I asked friends on several social media platforms what they found the most irritating on sites they went to for news.
The top annoyances were the intrusive display ads and pop-up ads.
I am a big news consumer and so that’s what I suspected. I give up on sites where there are big display ads that take over the whole screen on mobile and have a microscopic “x” to exit out.
If you come to Free Press the news about Oklahoma City should be the primary thing that you get, not some big bold advice about how to get rich with real estate.
But on a deeper level, there’s a messaging problem if we depend on advertising in an all-digital news organization.
Display ads are far more intrusive on a website than they are in print.
Print ads are there for me to see and read if they catch my interest. But that’s the difference. I am choosing to stop reading the content and focus on the ad.
Web advertising hijacks the reader’s focus and demands that they stop reading and do something else. No! You cannot have this screen back until you find out how to improve your sex life! Or, you can just try to find that tiny “x” to keep reading.
And one big political ad buy not only hijack’s the reader’s attention, but the perceived identity of the whole site.
By the time the reader sees the giant banner ad on the home page and then is interrupted with the same political ad message as they read down every story, the identity of the site itself is in jeopardy if it ever was that clear in the first place.
So, Free Press is staying out of that game from the start. But it means we need your donations and sponsors who want to support our kind of street-level, independent news.
More about that in the next post.