I have a paid account, so it surprised me to see someone mention a banner ad that offended them so badly they were leaving LJ . . . and even when I followed the link, I never did see that ad.
But the ad caused a furor, and lots of people started saying they were leaving LJ over it.
Okay . . . first, LJ’s staff is taking care of having this ad and a couple of others removed from LJ rotation.
The way those banner ads work, as I understand it, is they’re contracted out. A company can arrange to not have particular categories of ads display on their site, so I assume that is what LJ is going to do now. But if you jump up and scream, “LJ did this to me on purpose!” you are jumping the gun. It was more than likely just the way the DoubleClick ads work–your journal for some reason fit the target audience for their product, or so they imagined. (They do want to sell things, after all, not irritate people. Tough as that may be to believe.) They will be (I assume) monitoring this stuff in the future to keep particular categories of political ads away, if they’re smart.
But the hysteria has already hit. People are beating their chests and rending their garments. But it’s not necessary! Unlike some other businesses, LJ actually was paying attention. Staff member Marta is responding in a thread about it.
I’ve never seen the ad. I tried, but never did, even when I had links to it! But I also don’t agree with those who are choosing to get all offended about it–after all, I’ll wager they don’t stop watching (for example) Comedy Central after seeing an ad for something they think is scary-bad, or a rah-rah from some local city council candidate who holds ridiculously prejudiced views, or whatever. They don’t stop watching CNN or FoxNews just because there’s a promo spot from someone they don’t support. My feeling is that this is like Amazonfail, where people get all excited because there’s finally something they can take offense to and make their voices heard (which I suppose is something) even though the BUSINESS has not been given a chance to fix the situation, but I also think that the appropriate response is to contact customer service or other staff first, to give people a chance to fix things. My elderly mother was getting “male enlargement” and even weirder stuff in text messages on her cell phone, and was hysterical (she IS almost eighty, after all–until she was 14, she says, she never knew there COULD be a prez other than FDR), but I didn’t throw the phone away or tell Cingular to stuff it–I called Cingular and turned off text messaging (she never used it.).
I am pleased to see that LJ (in the person of Marta) is going to try to find the source of this particular ad and eliminate it and others like it BECAUSE that is good customer service for those who have asked–not because I believe in stifling the voices of the opposition.
Whoa! Here I am, leaping into the air and shouting “Pull!” again! For I have just said something that will anger those who are offended by the ad. However, a moment’s thought will show that to say those people can’t advertise and should be exterminated and so forth is pretty much the same thing as THEM saying the same about us, saying that YOU/WE should disappear, is it not? (After all . . . to say they can’t advertise AT ALL is trying to stifle their voice, isn’t it? So they’re kind of right? To guarantee they cannot be heard at all would mean that OUR voices are then not protected either, right? Um.) We must tolerate the dissenting and even the wicked voices if ours are to be protected.
That’s part of the arrangement for this country. We don’t suppress dissidents. It may be tougher to stomach when the dissidents are suddenly those people you believe have been oppressing others (and for whom the flippity has recently flopped, the majority now being against them, apparently), but you MUST grin and just shake your head indulgently and bear it. For if we silence them and ban them and raise all kinds of heck over it, then they can do the same to us and we can’t say a word about it.
(I’m not saying that a completely outrageous thing such as a “kill all the Xs” would pass the test. But as described, this ad is not that kind of thing. It is a political statement/appeal. It simply says that a group is trying to silence another group. And the reaction is kind of, um, proving their point. Unfortunately.)
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to listen to the program on which someone is preaching against your beliefs. You can flip the channel. You can protest to the station. But you can’t say that NO ONE should hear that person talking or make a rule that they must be kept off A, B, and C channels. Because then they could say that NO ONE should hear YOU talking. This is what I’m getting at. I am not taking sides in the controversy addressed by that upsetting banner ad.
Of course, if people wish to go to another provider for ANY reason or for no reason at all, that is their privilege! I have no problem with that, either. It’s all part of the free market and freedom of choice!