Friday, 26 June 2015

Monetising the blog

Should we change the blog? #MSBlog #MSResearch 

"Last week I was contacted by a healthcare services company asking me if we had ever considered allowing sponsored posts on our blog. They proposed us using a format similar to Google's for sponsored search links. They are representing a client who is interested in using our blog to disseminate information. Their proposal was for us to identify sponsored posts with a disclaimer and with a different colour to allow the reader to know that the posts were sponsored and by whom."

"We have always wanted our blog to be organic and free of commercial bias. On the other hand we could do with resource to support the blog. In particular, we want to employ a blog administrator to help curate the site and to expand our guest blogging programme; simply inviting guest posters and collating all their information, i.e. their mugshots, biographical sketches and disclosures, takes time and needs resource."

"We have said no, but I wanted to test your opinion on whether or not we should consider changing our model to allow the blog to evolve. Any ideas and suggestions would be much appreciated."

38 comments:

  1. NO!
    ("Please note that all comments are moderated and any personal or marketing-related submissions will not be shown.")

    Don't mess science with advertisments.
    Are you scientists trying to educate "people with MS and their families", or
    are you grocery clerks, avon lady, etc.?

    Keep it clean&simple. I know it's hard to write an informed post and it takes precious time.
    There will be invited posts, and I am sure the authors will be willing to submit their infos.
    And if they don't, too bad! That just means they're not good for blogs&patient talk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you, the blog needs to stand apart from pharma etc, it's part of its USP for me. I think pwMS would lose trust if there were sponsored posts etc.
      Perhaps a benefactor might be interested in contributing to employing a blog administrator though?

      Delete
    2. I agree MD2 I would lose trust if there were sponsored posts.

      Delete
  2. I'd concentrate on curing the disease if I were you but what do I know

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  3. You could, but it very rarely brings in big bucks at the expense of annoying your core readership. Personally I've no big objections as I ignore ads or block them. So the first question is this on a click through payment basis or just display. There are other ways of generating money dependent on the status of the blog ownership, but writing this on my iPhone so happy to discuss when I finally meet with you. But it does seem my email in response to your one has gone into the ether!

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    Replies
    1. This isn't about ads more sponsored posts. I guess if it's made perfectly clear that these posts were sponsored then it's less of a problem but for me I think it would be sad if we diluted the blog's purity.

      Delete
    2. A sponsored post is still an ad! And still depends on the reader's perception. There are other ways depending on the blog's legal status or what it can be changed to.

      Delete
  4. Our blog now has quite a wide readership; we get an average of ~8,000 views per day and we reach a wide international audience. I suspect this makes the blog attractive for knowledge dissemination. As we are not the only show in town it would be nice to open our platform up to other people with similar aims to us. I am sure you would all like to read posts from new people. To take this on we need a blog or site administrator. Similarly, to improve the curation of the site we need an administrator.

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    1. The amount of time you and the rest of the contributors must put into the daily production of this material has to be a distraction from the rest of your work. It is easy to see why you would be considering ways to ease the burden of this blog while still being able to focus on and control its content.

      Delete
  5. I agree that it is proper to stay distanced from pharma. How about you have a similar system to Wikipedia, 38Degrees etc. Set up a voluntary contribution portal. I would be happy to contribute to it to support this blog. I know not everyone has spare money, but some of us must have.

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    Replies
    1. I too would be happy to contribute to support this blog.

      Delete
  6. You Europeans think that you're above such things as money and look down on those who invite monetization opportunities. Your socialist mind-sets are destroying you and you need to welcome moneymaking agendas.

    Make some cash for this blog and make some money for yourselves too in the process. You guys deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're certainly not in it for the money. If that's socialist, then guilty as charged.
      We've had a few charges over the years that we're too close to pharma and having sponsorship on the blog would do nothing to allay these charges.

      Delete
    2. We can live very well with our socialism thanks.

      Just look at health care and education systems in Scandinavia or Germany - I wish for the older days when it's been even more socialist i.e. equal.

      Would trade it for anything else - and I've know many systems in my lifetime.

      Delete
    3. "Anonymous": rather a sweeping generalisation of the whole of Europe there, most of which is not remotely socialist. This is not about making or not making money, it's about something completely different!

      Delete
    4. Rosie, et al - just take Anon 1207's socialism comments with a healthy grain of salt. We sane Americans have to listen to this rabid capitalist nonsense all the time on the other side of the pond. People like this worship the almighty dollar so fervently that they very quickly learn to justify anything in its pursuit. Stick to the high ground, and skip the sponsorships.

      Delete
  7. I've been a visitor/participant to this blog since 2012.

    Keep this blog independent from sponsors - the present format is best: it's competent, it's objective and it's patient friendly!

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  8. That's all good but it's the sponsorship thing that would ruin it, the deal is we know you guys shluldnt be biased
    Look at how many things you read saying conflicted interest because of pharma work LR money

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have only been reading this site for a few days but this is by far the best MS site. There is hope here and focus on NEDA rather than creeping doom.

    I would like to see an expanded site that is funded under strict guidelines. I think an admin would help, but blending that one admin with volunteers could provide 24 hr coverage.

    Also I saw a document on an anti JC virus drug (ikT-001Pro) last night, any comment? I know that this is a long way from a product.

    Aidan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Food and Drug Administration granted Orphan Drug Designation to company developing IkT-001Pro (imatinib), to treat progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). If left untreated, JC virus can destroy motor neurons and cognitive ability, eventually leading to death. Multiple sclerosis patients are particularly prone to PML due to their lowered immunity from their disease and use of certain drugs.

      This is a formulation of imatinib (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imatinib) apparently differetn from gleevec

      Delete
  10. I voted no simply because I am selfish. I value the independent views you seem to express on this site. I come to this site for exactly that reason, and I worry the acceptance of sponsors money may cloud/bias positions taken in future posts. It need not be deliberate bias to have an impact.

    Still, I say this an ocean away with no financial or time stake in your decision. I can certainly understand the rational to allow sponsorship. I would just caution against having it turn out like the U.S. MS societies where pharma reps sit on the boards of directors.

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  11. Don't sacrifice your autonomy. An impassioned speech from Prof. G. at an American Academy of Neurology convention would do more for the American audience than Google can.

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  12. pretty sure this blog will become monetised. you can already see the inklings at work- crowd funding, prof g putting out feelers for e-private practice.

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  13. No, no, no, no, no. It will change everything. I don't monetize my blog, only sponsored posts every once in a great while if it's applicable to the disability audience. Just say no...

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  14. If it means the blog will have more content from guest posts then yes. Unfortunately, the blog is still needed as MS remains an enigma and neurodegeneration meds are lacking. Until effective drugs/repair therapies are available then keep the blog up and running. If that means sponsorship so be it. Recently, the Myelin Repair Foundation announced it is closing down after 11 years due to lack of funding. They hoped to deliver a compound to aid remyelination by 2019. Oh well, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry". Keep up the good work.

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  15. I would be OK with it as long as the sponsored blogs would include other rap stars. You wouldn't know it by looking at them, but they seem to have strong opinions about this disease and how it is being treated.

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  16. I don't see why not. Individuals are smart enough to think for themselves. It's always good to hear viewpoints from the other side of what you may believe.

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  17. If somebody wants to disseminate knowledge, they should provide good quality research results to the blog and declare their involvement, if any. Anything else (along the lines of "our medication is the best") cannot really be termed "knowledge". I suppose sponsoring could be ok if there was a clear contract that it is totally independent of anything published in the blog. But then again, those readers quick to suspect conspiracies might not consider that enough. Could national ms societies help with some finances? Or something like a big private foundation (one of those that also finances international vaccination campaigns etc.?). Or national research funding agencies - often, they also finance "dissemination of research results". Readers of the blog being able to make voluntary donations might be a good thing ... I am sure many would contribute; I would. Not with huge amounts, but if you reminded me once a year, I'd make my contribution :-)

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  18. I value this blog tremendously. It is a critical resource for me. Apart from donating to other MS related charities, I'd be willing to donate to ensure the viability of this site since Dr. G said additional "resource" is needed. Perhaps a donate button can be added, and those who wish to help can do so.

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  19. No, please try to avoid this. I personally come to this blog as I believe it to be mainly driven by the purist quest for knowledge, scientific development and medical advancement, with the welfare of people with MS at its heart. I come here to read something about MS which I can feel confident to be the genuine, evidence-based opinion of a professional, a scientist. I do not come here to read something that someone would like to convince me of because there is money in it for them somewhere.

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  20. I personally wouldn't begrudge you guys a jot if you sold out. It's a capitalist world after all, and I'm sure you all have families to feed.

    However, I sincerely hope you do not.

    Simply because there's a beautiful simplicity to being "independent". The second you start offering content from the highest bidder, you lose your morale high ground, and point of difference.

    In my view, independent unbiased advice and paid for content do not make good bedfellows.

    Personally,, id rather forego a curator and guest posts than the legitimacy of the blog.

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  21. What about donations of time, instead of money? If people with the applicable skill set can be identified, they may be able to donate time assisting with site administration?

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  22. I get enough of that shit from the NMSS, thanks. Stick to hard science and science-based opinions.

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  23. Sadly it takes resources to sustain efforts such as this. In the UK would you be permitted to apply to the pharmaceutical companies for unrestricted grant money to operate this site? A good example of this would be the multiple Sclerosis discovery forum - http://www.msdiscovery.org/ - operated by the Accelerated Cure Project. Pharma money funds the operate but there are no ads or sponsored posts. There is a simple acknowledgement to the sponsor. Good luck with this ver tough decision.

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    Replies
    1. When I was in Boston I met a reporter from MSDF who was loosing their job because funding wasn't being maintained at the same level, so I guess you can be at the mercy of the pharma fad.....They lose interest and they pull away from the next cycle of funding and them all you have built up can tumble in a very short time if the cash flow is restricted

      Delete

Please note that all comments are moderated and any personal or marketing-related submissions will not be shown.