It was probably about 10 years ago when … 

It was probably about 10 years ago when there was some discussion in JISC as to whether advertising could be used to fund JISC Services.  At the meeting (on the procurement of a national mirroring service) I pointed out that advertising probably was not allowed under the terms of the JANET AUP.  In response a study was commissioned on advertising on Web site. The study was led by Diane McDonalnd, University of Strathclyde, and I was also involve din supporting this work.  The report is available (MS Word format). In addition, around this time, I wrote an article on “Advertising On The Network” which was published in VINE.

Around the time this work was being carried out the dot/com crash occurred, and so, despite the report’s recommendations that there were no reasons why advertising on Web sites could not be carried out, it was felt that it would be unlikely that there would be enough money generated to make this worth while. And perhaps there was also the feeling that at a time of increased funding for the education sector there wasn”t a need to diversify income streams.

Ten years on we are living in a different funding environment and there is a need to explore new ways of funding. So is it time to revisit the provision of advertising on University Web sites?  After all, as Tony Hirst has pointed out in a post which asked “So What Do Universities Sell?” seem to be increasingly funding marketing posts.  I’ll try and explore these issues in more depth in a post on the UK Web Focus blog.

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