Sunday, August 20, 2017

Independant Artists and The Bystander Effect

The bystander effect simply says that when there are other people around, everybody assumes somebody else will do something.

On the internet (unless you're using TOR) you never feel alone. There's always the feeling of someone else, either looking over your shoulder or following in your footsteps.

Oh, they posted this on a social media page. Someone else will click it. or Oh, I found this easily; it must be easy for other people to find it.

I am an independent artist. Not only do I create art without an agent or a publishing house, but I also offer it up on the internet for free.

I also use advertisements to help support myself, including unobtrusive adspace and affiliate links.

Nobody clicks anything.

And I can't ask you to click on anything. It's against the ToS. So is guilt-tripping.

But what I get in ad revenue is a pittance against what I pay for hosting, which, let me tell you, isn't free.

Documenting the struggle isn't against the ToS of my ads. I can tell you what it's like to struggle with being the victim to the bystander effect.


It's not that you don't want to help, it's that you're certain that someone else will come along and do it, instead of spending the five seconds wondering what's at the other end of the link, clicking it and spending five seconds finding out.

stop wondering what might happen and start discovering what could happen
Every few years I try joining the Amazon Affiliate program, trying to draw a little bit more into my ad revenue. And each and every time, I get dropped from the program because I can't get one click in 180 days.

I could sell myself, but I don't. I could do sponsored reviews, promotions where I spout good things about something I haven't tried or don't actually like, but I don't. I could put the ads in places where they get in the way of your browsing experience, but I don't.

I'm not asking you to follow me down the rabbit hole (because I can't click the links myself, it's a violation of the ToS), I'm asking for you to stop wondering what might happen and start discovering what could happen.

I've vetted my links, my ads. There's nothing deceptive about where they lead. And if there ever is a problem, it's easy to report and get the offender removed. And I haven't had a problem yet, in the almost eight years I've been doing this.


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