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FAQ: Why does Apologetics Index include inappropriate ads?



Q:

I came to your website by following a link about Todd Bentley. I found the information I was looking for, but I can not forward it to my pastor because the page includes an ad showing a drawing of a scantily-clad woman advertising a computer game.

I found other inappropriate advertisements throughout the website. There were Google ads for dating agencies, for a witchcraft store, for a dubious 'Christian ministry' and for a horoscope site.

I also saw an Amazon.com ad filled with books and videos about lingerie!

Why does your site include inappropriate ads? The Bible says freely you have received, freely give. I think it is inappropriate to try and make money with the Gospel.

A:

We apologize for the fact that at times our websites include ads some people may consider inappropriate.

First, allow me to put the "freely you have received, freely give" statement in perspective. Jesus said this to the twelve apostles when he sent them out to "[heal] the sick raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons."

We do not believe in charging for ministry -- be that sharing the Gospel, counseling, praying with people, offering advice, providing consultations or any other ministry-related activity.

Therefore Apologetics Index and its related non-profit websites are provided free of charge.

Moreover, we do not use our websites to generate interest in services for which we do charge -- simply because we never charge for any service provided (e.g. counseling, consultation, intervention, ex-cult support work, etcetera).

However, the bills sent to us by the secular company that hosts the server on which our websites run do not have a payment option named, "Freely you have received, freely give." Those bills have to be paid, and the company certainly earns every penny it charges.

We have other site- and ministry-related bills as well. In addition our ministry often includes donations made to others.

Keep in mind that our family of websites is not operated by a well-funded organization or ministry, but rather by individuals who live on a small, personal budget.

On our "How you can help Apologetics Index" page, we explain:

Expenses incurred in operating the websites as well as our offline ministry are offset by donations — augmented by commissions received from advertising, affiliate links, and from some commercial activities (such as occasional Internet marketing & SEO consulting).

Donation Status: No Donations Needed

Thanks also in part to a small but dedicated group of supporters in Holland and around the world, we currently have no need to request donations.

Google ads have run on our websites since 2004. At the time we addressed the use of these ads in our Year-End Newsletter. Please take a moment to read that information as it explains how we view the ads.

That said, if and when you see ads you consider to be inappropriate, do what you would normally do when you see such ads in a magazine, your newspaper, or around town: ignore them.

If you think your pastor would be offended by the ad you refer to, simply copy and paste the article and email it to him instead.

Note that ads on this website often change with each page view, and that viewers in different countries or visiting at different moments of the day usually see different ads.

Too, at times ads you see online may have been specifically 'targeted' based on sites and topics previously visited or viewed by someone using the browser on your computer. [See: Privacy Policy]

As for the Amazon.com ads you mention: we carry several different type of Amazon.com ads. Among them are links that, when you hover your mouse over them, show you information about the book in question. We do not ourselves link to the type of topics your mention.

We do show some book covers with links to Amazon.com, and we also carry some Amazon ads of which the content is determined by a script. Among other things this script, programmed and provided by Amazon.com, takes into account:

Kind regards,

Anton Hein


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This post was last updated: Oct. 28, 2011