There’s a problem in the Edublogging world. After years of providing free and ad-free blogs to educators and students, Edublogs late last year changed their policy. Their free blogs now have advertisement via Google Adsense. I recognize that Edublogs needs to pay their bills, but the way Google Adsense works creates a real problem. It searches the posts in a blog for particular text and then attempts at finding an “appropriate” ad. Note the ad for “legal ivory carvings” in this screen shot of my Edublog post on Aniakchak’s art. As an archaeologist I have an ethical problem with the sale of ivory carvings, especially since the demand for these carvings has resulted in the destruction of archaeological sites (not to mention the problems with elephant ivory). I can’t ignore these ads when they’re associated with my writing.
My problems are minor compared to what K-12 teachers are experiencing – where their blogs are read by their students and have ads for adult dating services or male enhancement (just think of the ads this post will generate!). A number of educators are abandoning Edublogs because of this ad problem. I should note that Edublogs offers an upgrade option that is ad-free ($40 per year – which is reasonable). Apparently there is also an option with Google Adsense that allows bloggers to block adult content advertisement, but this option wouldn’t probably work for archaeologists trying to block unethical trade in antiquities and ivory. Life can be complicated.