About a year ago in an effort to create a new revenue stream, Catholic Exchange subscribed to rotating Google ads based on keywords. A lot of you noticed and commented on the ads, which are ubiquitous on the internet and are used on many other Catholic sites. Some of your comments were simple expressions of annoyance. We understand; many people are tired of seeing these ads. We admit they were kind of cheesy, but you know what? Cheesy or not, they helped us generate some very much needed income.
Other complaints about the ads expressed more than just annoyance. Some of our readers were outraged when, for example, under an article about adoption, Google presented an ad for a gay adoption lawyer. Others fumed when they noticed ads promoting certain anti-Catholic sites. Our editors handled these complaints explaining that we could block ads, but only after they ran and only if we were given the URL. After a while, we blocked all the most egregious ads and the complaints dwindled to a trickle. We think most of you came to understand that even when you saw a questionable ad, CE was not responsible for it and you learned to ignore or help us get rid of them.
We never liked using those Google ads. We know that you, our readers, long for CE to be a true haven on the internet from the incessant online noise that promotes the very worst in our culture. We never liked having our site used, even in a small and relatively unobtrusive way, to advertise get-rich-quick schemes or diet scams. We wish Google would allow us to screen the worthwhile advertisers from the junk, but their system just doesn’t work that way.
Cleaning Our Temple
In this season when the pursuit of holiness in preparation for the joy of Easter becomes a greater priority, we felt the special need to cleanse our site of anything that does not glorify our all-holy God. So we have made the hard decision to stop using the Google ads.
We have sacrificed a reliable funding resource, trusting that God will supply our needs through your generosity and help us meet our budget each month. We have stepped out in faith and hope to never have to resume running these ads. We are trusting that you will see that we are trying to be a faithful Catholic non-profit: faithful to the call to evangelize our culture; faithful to using this powerful medium of communication to edify our brothers and sisters in the Faith; faithful to you as our loyal family of readers.
Can we trust you, good friends? Can we rely on you to help us keep going, to help us keep building, to help us keep bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom?
By getting rid of the Google ads, we have made CE a more attractive daily stop for the tens of thousands of visitors from 139 countries seeking bedrock answers to the seemingly intractable problems of our day. We have shown you that our commitment to the Faith and to prudent use of the internet means more to us than the thousands of dollars we were generating annually.
Help Us Bridge the Gap
But friends, that money was not “extra funds.” Every dollar of it was spent every month to cover our expenses. In fact, we would never have started using those Google ads in the first place had we not seriously needed the income we derived from them. Well, now that we’ve forsaken that revenue stream we are wondering: Can we trust you to bridge this financial gap for us and make up the difference? Does CE mean enough to you to help us out with a Lenten donation?
We sincerely hope you will acknowledge that in this family, and in this holy season, one good sacrificial turn deserves another! So if you happen to be having a less-than-heroic Lent thus far, if you have not yet gone out to the edge of the branch in faith, if you have not yet committed to pursuing that peace that surpasses all understanding this Easter, please send a Lenten gift our way in support of our ongoing efforts to strengthen the Church and share Catholic truth with a world that badly needs it.
Thank you and may God bless you and your families this Easter season!