As another commenter noted, Government isn’t in “business” to make money. It’s economics 101, no literally, I had to take that this year and it was one of the topics.
I think The Wall Street Journal is being short sighted in it’s suggestion. For companies with the means to advertise, a link or mini ad on the screen gives an “impression” and often that impression isn’t just that there’s an ad on the page, but that the government agency’s page where that ad appears endorses or recommends the particular service of product.
Take for instance HUD. Who’d advertise there? Mortgage brokers, lenders, banks, credit unions, etc… And HUD wouldn’t be able to control who those advertisers are once an ad is placed. Would they be sorting ads to remove anyone who might be on the prohibited list? Would they remove ads to lenders under investigation? What about USDA or VA? They also make home loans. Would a farmer or soldier know that the ads are just that, an ad, or would they perceive a connection between the lender and the agency? What about the Mine Safety Administration? Who’d be the ads? Coal industries? Perhaps coal mines looking to hire, perhaps even unsafe mines?
With Zappos at TSA, I don’t have an issue. They aren’t selling a TSA service and couldn’t be construed as a potential conflict. It’s merchandise and TSA doesn’t sell anything.
Most of our agency sites are specific to the constituents served. Allowing advertisements that will connect the dots for our audience puts advertisers at an unfair advantage.
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