Will Ad-Blocking Kill Digital Journalism?

Until recently, ad blocking software was prevalent on computers, but not on smartphones and tablets. But with the recent updates to Apple’s iOS 9, mobile users are now able to install apps that prevent mobile ads from cluttering their news stories while browsing the web. While this may elicit excitement among individuals, publishers are not as pleased. It signals a much more difficult time approaching, where efforts must be focused on promoting ads in spite of ad blocking software limiting user views.

Ad-Blocking on iOS Makes Waves

The internet is financed through digital advertising profit. When the internet first became a news platform, publishers began to fret about the future of journalism. After all, most of the revenue they accrued was a result of print ads placed in newspapers and magazines. Now? The same panic is happening again, albeit a slightly different fear. Instead of moving content to another platform to which advertisers and publishers must adjust, tech companies are leveraging the technology itself to limit the profits publishers can gain. Sure, it might be inconvenient to have to skip over ads while you read an article, but the lack of advertisements could make the entire article disappear, or so publishers may fear.

How Will Ad-Blocking Affect Mobile Advertisement Profits?

If profits are going to tank, it will be because publishers did not take action soon enough to prevent a decrease in advertisement viewership. The first course that is most likely to take place is that advertisers will quickly embark on a mission to block ad-blockers themselves. At the very least, they may place an impassioned plea on their website, asking viewers to remove ad-blocking software just for them, because they like viewing their content so much.

As the blocking of ad-blocking progresses, the tech world will respond with even better ad-blocking, and so the competition will go. What is the future of digital advertising on mobile platforms? For the publishing industry’s sake, many hope it isn’t over altogether. At the same time, things may get sticky when it comes to tech companies controlling the flow of advertising. For example, this opens the doors for specific advertisers to pay ad-blocking software companies to allow their ads to pop up while blocking others. There may be a level of deception added to the industry as well. This threatens the democracy and freedom of the internet and potentially may create the need for lawmaking intervention.

Another important note – ad-blocking does not only affect publishers. It also affects the mobile app developers that offer their products on the iOS store for free, gaining all profits from advertisements within apps. Will Apple continue to endorse and allow an ad-blocking software that stunts their own profits to flourish? Perhaps mobile ad-blocking will be eliminated altogether for this reason.

Ultimately, publishers are going to have to come up with creative solutions to replace lost revenue, whether that means altering their advertising methods once again or partnering with the tech companies and social media networks to make advertising work for them once again. Digital advertisement will sustain online journalism, one way or the other, the only question that remains is which way – and publishers are now looking for that answer.

Direct Sales, the Pros and Cons

We’ve all been invited to parties.  The kind where the hostess tells you not to feel pressure to buy anything, but just come over for some snacks and a glass of wine.  You get there and are overwhelmed with the display of whatever’s for sale: jewelry, makeup, purses, face creams.  You end up buying some things you probably could live without.

Women and men have been involved in direct sales for decades, making money on the side for themselves or their families.  But is getting involved in a direct sales company a good idea or just a way to feed those folks at the very top of the chain?

Direct sales certainly have some great points.  There is a wide variety of products available, so you can choose something that interests you to sell (which is a good starting point for any sales job!).  Furthermore, you can expect some of these “selling points”:

Flexibility- Since you are technically your own boss, you can decide when you work and when you don’t.  The flexibility is a hit with stay at home moms who want to earn some extra money, but also have the responsibilities of running a household, as well as with anyone else who is already employed full-time but would just like a little something extra to do on the side.

Weekly paydays- Most companies offer perks like weekly paydays, giving the slogan “TGIF” a whole new angle.  Instead of waiting around for a check to come through in the mail, you usually have your own online account, complete with debit card, which is automatically loaded each week.  Want cash?  All you have to do is link your checking account to your direct sales account, transfer funds, and then take the cash out of your regular account. Or, if you don’t mind paying some service fees at your ATM, you can simply get cash out.

Discounts- Some people sign on for direct sales just to access the discounts.  Many products are 50% off or even more, giving an added incentive to people to buy their own inventory so they can sell.  However, some folks sign up without the slightest intention of selling and just want to buy the products.

Tax deduction- Because being involved in direct sales is considered along the same lines of operating your own business, you can access tax deductions such as home office, inventory, or the costs of other products such as business cards, banners, or flyers.  If you give a party and the party is focused on the selling of your products, those costs are tax deductible.  Even your start up-costs, including the fee to join, are tax deductible.  Keep all your receipts and good records too in case you need to justify your spending to an IRS representative.

So while there are some pretty fantastic points to going into direct sales, you need to be aware of the other side as well.

Most, if not all, direct sales companies have “starter kits” you have to purchase in order to start selling.  There are often different levels at different price points and they offer kits with differing amounts of product to get you started.  It’s up to you whether you want to spend a little or a lot—just keep in mind this is tax deductible!

When you go into direct sales, it’s important you have a good base to start selling to.  Think about your friends.  Would they be interested in buying the product you’re selling?  Do you have a lot of contacts?  Do you live in an area with a lot of disposable income?  If not, going into direct sales may not be the wisest choice.

The goal in a sales job is to make a profit, so you need to be able to sell enough to pay back not only your starter fee, but any other money you’ve had to shell out—for products, parties, gas, or other expenses. Once you’ve paid yourself back for those things, that’s when you’ll really be making a profit.

Finally, it’s easy to go crazy and buy a bunch of things for yourself under the guise of using it for parties.  Be careful.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there who spent lots of money, only to find themselves unable to unload the product and then having to sell it at a loss—or worse yet—give it away.  Pace yourself at first, build a base of loyal customers who you know you can count on to keep you in the black over time, and don’t get reeled in by great discounts or specials.

If done right, direct sales can be a great enhancement to your income or even a fun hobby that adds a little something into your pocket, but make sure you’re looking at all the angles before you commit to taking on sales—it’s definitely not for everyone.

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