Home – New Forums Other discussions Question for Flying Solo: Conflict of interest?

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  • #979139
    Zava Design
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    I’ve got a question that came to mind as I was browsing the forums today, for the Flying Solo owners/managers:

    You claim to be “Australia’s solo & micro business community”, and yet many of your major corporate advertisers are direct competition for many of us “solo & micro businesses”.

    I’m wondering if there’s a conflict of interest here?

    And what’s more important to you, to serve as our community, or to make a profit from large corporate advertisers who we can never compete with on a marketing dollar level? I know there’s a balance to be walked, with regards to ethics v making a profit, but perhaps some greater editorial control over advertisers would be more appropriate for what you claim to represent?

    Just some thoughts.

    #1112258
    yourvirtualboard
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    An interesting way to look at things.

    So, would you only deal with solo or micro businesses? What if a corporation made an enquiry via your website and asked you to build a large complex website for them?

    Being a community is just that, it doesn’t mean excluding support from organisations able to offer it so that the community can exist.

    #1112259
    MatthewKeath
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    I don’t see a conflict of interest here nor do I see this as a ethical issue (ethics v making a profit)

    Anyone can advertise on Flying Solo, whether they are large or small. However, because of the amount of views the ads get, generally only larger advertisers can afford it.

    I don’t see an issue with FS getting the most money it can from it’s advertisers. I know I would do the same!

    There are some low cost options you could explore if you are interested.

    #1112260
    John C.
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    I don’t see a conflict of interest. The admin team at FS do a fantastic job of maintaining the site, and they have, I’m sure, covered lots of expenses in the time it has taken to get to this point. They have a right to now make a profit and to allow whoever they like to advertise on the site. We have a right to ignore the ads of course.

    Being part of a small community doesn’t mean that you block out everything outside that community – unless you’re Amish! Even us small and micro businesses will need the services of large enterprises, and so the advertising can be relevant to us.

    Cheers,
    John

    #1112261
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Zava Design, post: 125174 wrote:
    I’ve got a question that came to mind as I was browsing the forums today, for the Flying Solo owners/managers:

    You claim to be “Australia’s solo & micro business community”, and yet many of your major corporate advertisers are direct competition for many of us “solo & micro businesses”.

    I’m wondering if there’s a conflict of interest here?

    And what’s more important to you, to serve as our community, or to make a profit from large corporate advertisers who we can never compete with on a marketing dollar level? I know there’s a balance to be walked, with regards to ethics v making a profit, but perhaps some greater editorial control over advertisers would be more appropriate for what you claim to represent?

    Just some thoughts.

    Hi Zava and all,

    Thanks for being part of the community and for your feedback. It’s definitely a fair question to ask – the topic of advertising is one that comes up from time to time and is one we have given a lot of consideration.

    It is largely the advertising that enables us to keep the wheels in motion and investments from the bigger end of town help us to develop new initiatives and valuable programs for our community.

    In terms of who advertises, while a huge number of small business owners work with other small business owners, a lot of large companies also offer products and services that are helpful and relevant to us all. Inevitably there will always be competition between David and Goliath, but the fast and nimble can always hold their own!

    I can assure you our commitment is to continue to build a resource to support Australia’s solo and micro business sector.

    We work hard to maintain a balance with advertising and we know we’ll hear from our members if we get it wrong. However, I think the balance is between user experience and advertising, rather than between ethics and advertising.

    Thanks again for bringing this up and always happy to receive feedback and comments.

    Cheers
    Peter

    #1112262
    Burgo
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    Your assuming FS makes a profit.
    What if they just break even with income from advertising and expenses.
    I think from memory the Forum was an additional room on an already successful website, where the majority of FS members seem to be, many of them corporations.
    The Forum was started back in 2008 with no advertising component at all.
    From very humble beginings of around six members it has grown beyond anyone expectations, because it has the right formula.
    Introducing advertising was for us soloists, then it was expanded to corporates, those that had helped we soloists in them hopping onto the forum from time to time as they do giving good advice for free.
    To me this is a good marriage of soloists and corporations who from time to time actually help each other. We have a great balance on this forum the envey of many others.
    Conflict of interest……no way.

    #1112263
    Zava Design
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    Like I said, I know it’s a balance, and I certainly appreciate differing points of view. But when I see a banner ad for yellow pages, and some auto site creation tool… well, all I can think of is someone pocketing the money over actually providing a good suggestion. I certainly would have thought there were better advertising managers than Telstra. And seeing the $5000 minimum for advertising, that kind of puts many small businesses out of the equation.

    But like I said, it’s an observation and a viewpoint, not one that I hold unwaveringly, but certainly one that I’m surprised no one had some thoughts (even passing) of a similar kind? A healthy community should not be full of people who all think the same way.

    (and I am known for saying what others are thinking ;) )

    #1112264
    Rico
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    What I find funny in this topic is that it is in the wrong forum!
    Here we are mostly business people, and we are here to learn how to make more money, or to create a network to increase our business (more money) or to read about other people business related adventures.

    Even the spammers that target this forum all the time (thanks mods for your great job on this front) are here to make a buck.
    Sometimes we discuss on how to make money in a socially correct way, other times we learn some grey hat trick, but we are here for the same reason. We would love to do business with some large corporation if they help to pay our bills, and most of us run a small business but in private they dream to become a fortune 500.

    If there is something I wish to tell to the administrators of this forum is this: you guys are doing business with Telstra and Yellow page, and you ask them a minimum of $5000 only to start to think to advertise here… How did you do it? Share the tricks, as I’d love to do the same!

    Rico

    #1112265
    Zava Design
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    Umm, I’m pretty sure that’s Telstra’s network minimum, not anything FS have set.

    And how Telstra can charge that is petty simple: audience numbers.

    But would I have chosen Telstra to manage any part of a small business site? No. And I am sure I’m not the only one who wouldn’t want to do business with “some large corporation” just because they help to pay the bills. I’m very selective in who I choose to do business with from an ethical point of view.

    Does that mean everyone is going to think along the same lines? No, just as you don’t speak for everyone neither do I, however as the forum rep wrote above, I certainly have the right to ask about this. As does anyone who is a member, contributes to the value of this forum (including to me), and is helping the forum make money.

    (and how is being in “Announcements & feedback” the wrong forum?? This is feedback.)

    #1112266
    Zava Design
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    yourvirtualboard, post: 125188 wrote:
    So, would you only deal with solo or micro businesses? What if a corporation made an enquiry via your website and asked you to build a large complex website for them?

    It would depend on who the corporation was. I would not do business with every corporation just for money, if there’s ethical/moral considerations with that organisation, their background, how they do business …etc then I will factor that into the decision too.

    I realise not everyone will make decisions based on these factors, but there are some (many?) who do.

    And I do see it as ironic a solo/micro business “community” getting into bed with Telstra, knowing their track record with said businesses. But I didn’t expect everyone to share that irony.

    #1112267
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Hi all,
    Interesting discussion going on here :) Thanks for wading in.

    The bulk of our banner advertising in the site and newsletter is managed by Telstra Advertising Network who represent their own sites and a number of third party sites like ours. They manage the process of selling, serving, tracking, billing and reporting on advertising across the site – this lets us do more of what we love doing to look after the community rather than spending time on ads. The minimum for those options is set by them and applies to broader banner campaigns.

    We have retained other promotional options for our micro business members which include Business Class / Directory listings for $19.95 per month and text ad options in our newsletter and on the website.

    More detail and contact details for our advertising options are here: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/advertising

    Thanks again for all the feedback.

    Cheers
    Peter

    #1112268
    bluepenguin
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    Beggers can’t be choosers.

    There is an endless supply of advice, help and support for anyone to access on these forums – and it’s all FREE.

    #1112269
    JacquiPryor
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    More detail and contact details for our advertising options are here: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/advertising

    Sorry to side-track from the original topic – just wondering if you an confirm which ‘advertising option’ it is for people to have little ads that pop up on articles and the like? For example, the current trademark article I have on the main/home page, when you read through has a little block ad at the very end of the article but above my name/bio. (Hope that description makes sense)… If you could let me know what type of advertising you guys see that as, and whether that’s an enquiry for the Telstra Advertising Network etc that would be lovely. Thanks :)

    #1112270
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Hi Jacqui,
    They’re part of the FS member options. We keep these under the counter in the member bar :) I’ll send you a note now.
    Any other ad queries just fire away here: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/contact
    Cheers
    Peter

    #1112271
    Zava Design
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    bluepenguin, post: 125360 wrote:
    Beggers can’t be choosers.

    There is an endless supply of advice, help and support for anyone to access on these forums – and it’s all FREE.
    And?

    As I wrote before, we (you, I, and every other member) are the ones who make the money for the forum owners. Hence any of us has a right to query any aspect of the site. I have done so, and received some reasonable answers from them. Maybe I don’t agree with their decisions, but I certainly have the right to ask.

    Or do you never speak up if you disagree with something??

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