For 11 years On Line Opinion has been my passion. It’s been my passion because I’m a child of the Enlightenment and I was raised to believe that not only do people have a right to an opinion, but they have a responsibility to continually test and examine that opinion in the light of what others think and believe.
From an honest examination and testing of what one believes arises most human progress as well as respect for the dignity and humanity of others. Someone who continually questions will be open to difference and novelty. They will be capable of moving forward, and they will be less inclined to believe in their own infallibility and superiority.
On Line Opinion is an open platform for ideas. We have a larger audience than any other Australian opinion site outside the mainstream media because we offer diversity and quality, and because we treat our readers with respect, promoting equality as a core value.
A number of years ago Emunah Hauser, a US writer who contributed a piece to us in 2004 when she was studying law at the University of Sydney gave us a reference and remarked how unique and “Australian” the site is.
Well now this very Australian site which strives for tolerance and civility and better community understanding is under threat because of the bigotry of some entrenched interests and the weakness of some corporates both masquerading under the banner of values.
In round terms On Line Opinion needs somewhere around $100,000 per year to function. We have been earning around $50,000 of that from advertising on the site and on the blogs listed in our Domain.
We have an advertising agency that represents us, and they deal with advertising agencies that place advertisements on behalf of advertisers. The Domain was my initiative. It was a strategy to increase the size of our offering and also spread the benefits of the advertising to a broader pool of quality blogs.
In keeping with the ethos of On Line Opinion the blogs are a diverse but high quality crew ranging from Jennifer Marohasy through to John Passant, and including Club Troppo, Larvatus Prodeo, Henry Thornton, Skeptic Lawyer, HomePage DAILY and Andrew Bartlett.
In fact, Jennifer Marohasy would not have started and persisted with blogging without my encouragement. I also persuaded John Passant to start, and even came up with the name for his blog. We truly do have an equal opportunity approach to intellectual endeavour.
That advertising income, which helped to sustain both us and a number of the blogs, has just fallen to close to zero, and all because I published this piece by Bill Muehlenberg opposing gay marriage.
I am told by our advertising agency that the piece was found to be objectionable by an employee at IBM, another in the advertising agency that places the ads for IBM, and that as a result ANZ also withdrew their advertising.
However, this doesn’t seem to be the half of it. While significant, these advertisers did not represent the majority of our advertising revenue, yet virtually all of it has disappeared. This suggests to me a wider boycott.
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