General Question

kneck's avatar

If my friends just started a new website, and I want to help them out, is it unethical to click on the weblinked ads if I'm minimally interested in what they're selling?

Asked by kneck (52points) July 15th, 2007

No need to mention specific websites at this point. Purely hypothetical. But who knows, maybe clicking on that ad might get me interested in something. Right?

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18 Answers

Tank8131's avatar

I don't see why not.

glial's avatar

Well, it is a good way to get banned from your ad provider. I wouldn't risk it. ...and yes, I know this from experience....

Tank8131's avatar

But he's not the one who owns the site. To the ad provider you're just another number. I wouldn't, of course, do this in excess.

glial's avatar

Having friends "help me out" it what got me what you like, but I wouldn't risk it over pennies...

thetmle's avatar

If you really want to be sneaky use a proxy like anonymouse

leftspin's avatar

He didn't ask if he'd get into trouble, he asked if it was unethical. If you have interest in the ad, even a little, I don't think it's unethical.

nemezide's avatar

Well, I'd say it's unethical to get your friend banned. Better post their link on relevant sites and discussions and encourage others to visit. Also write comments, start discussions etc. Growing traffic helps.

rosedog's avatar

Yes, it's unethical. A good hint is that you had to ask the question in the first place. One system of morality follows the golden rule - you should be comfortable having your actions be done universally. Would you be comfortable if everyone behaved as you propose? That's tantamount to proposing a large scale transfer of wealth from companies advertising to our buddies with websites. And while I may have a very high opinion of my buddy, it would be fairly presumptuous for me to make that call.

Tank8131's avatar

Okay...I'm sorry if I come off being rude, but it's hardly unethical. Chances are by clicking that ad your friend is only going to get a couple cents. I'm sure these companies did a lot of "unethical" things to get where they are today and their advertisements are probably a sham anyways.

nemezide's avatar

If other (unethical) people are doing it, that doesn't make it ethical.

Tank8131's avatar

That's not what I meant. I don't see anything wrong with it especially if he even said he had at least a small amount of interest in the ad. That's the whole point of get your interest.

Seriously guys (and girls), unethical is cloning humans...NOT clicking on an ad or two to get your buddy a couple cents.

glial's avatar

Hmmm... is cloning humans unethical or immoral? That's another question I suppose.

Getting you friend banned from his ad program is unethical, whether your intentions where good or not. What if his site became popular, like digg popular, and you get him banned over the pennies you are going to "help" him get now.

Help him out by promoting his site, not by clicking his ads.

Evan's avatar

1st) if I was to have advertising on my site, and then told all of my friends to go check it out, and then to maybe click on an add or two when they go there.. that's not going to get me banned. What'll get me banned is if my friends continue to go back to the site and click on those ads repeatedly. But having lots of friends (of whom our questioner may well be just one) go to a site and click on ads will not get the site owner instantaneously banned.

2nd) The question really does deal more with whether or not one should feel unethical about clicking on the website, despite a minimal to non-existent interest. I say no. For it to be unethical, I think it would have to be something that the ad posters would disapprove of inherently. But ad posters usually aren't really concerned if the person is initially interested in the ad - that part comes after they get to the site that the ad is linking to. Hence why so many ads have NOTHING to do with what they're selling. Example: 'CLICK ME NOW FOR FREE iPHONE!!!" - goes to site for purchasing magazine subscriptions. Or "DO YOU THINK YOU'RE COOL?" goes to site about sunglasses. More than anything many ad-posters simply want people to go to their site - and I don't think many would disapprove of a new site owner cajoling all of his or her friends into clicking on the links.

conclusion: ad poster wouldn't object, therefore non unethical.

Perchik's avatar

Despite the fact that ads are usually misleading and obnoxious like that, they still have very tough rules when it comes to them giving you money.

It's pretty clear to me that what you're asking about is shady.

I want to point out that ethical suggests not only following the rules, for the right reasons.

In your case you're talking about click on ads to help your friend out. The ad is meant to be clicked by people who are actually interested in the product, that's why the pay you when people click.
Therefore, unless you are genuinely interested in the product, (or are scammed into it by some fake flash game) then you should avoid clicking the ad.

rosedog's avatar

Evan - you ignore at least two facts: advertisers pay per click, and the object being advertised is clear in many ads.

Evan's avatar

rose - i wasn't so much ignoring the fact, as much as i think it's irrelevant. :)

but either way.. i think that most of what people are saying is perhaps right - technically, what questioner suggests might be somewhat unethical.. based mostly on the fact that perchik is correct about the "right reasons" being important as well.

i'm going to argue though, on a different note, that in this case i don't think it really matters. i mean, if you click on his ad a few times, the advertisers might be happy that there's some activity, but it's not going to make much difference either to them, or to your friend: THEY'LL only keep advertising with him if they see sales resulting from his traffic.. and HE'LL only get in trouble if you go way overboard with the clicking.

what's funny about that is that even though i think it's for different reasons.. glial is basically right. not worth your time.

Tank8131's avatar

Evan, thank you.

gilial, Unethical and immoral are almost (and I said almost) the same. And you further proved my point that in the end it really isn't worth his time because all his friend is going to get is a couple cents.

gooch's avatar

click it

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