Advertising Content and Context
One of the ways in which ALISON earns revenue to grow the service is by displaying advertising. This advertising is intentionally discreet; no animations or attention-seeking gimmicks are used. Advertising allows ALISON to provide high-quality online learning at no cost to the individual user. The content is matched as accurately as possible with the interests of the learner. These interests are declared in the personal profile which the learner provides upon registration, and from time to time as they use the site. Where the advertising is generic and no profile is being matched, ALISON restricts the display of advertising to a standard that is appropriate for all age groups. The personal profiles of ALISON learners are never used beyond the scope of the ALISON website, and are not shared with any third party for any reason.
Where ALISON uses a third party such as Google™ to automatically provide advertising, ALISON is careful to ensure that only appropriate advertising is displayed. On every page where advertising is displayed ALISON provides the facility for a learner to register a complaint. Where an advertisement is reported as offensive, ALISON will review it and exclude all future advertisements deemed inappropriate from that source. ALISON invites corporate, institutional and individual sponsors to underwrite courses so that advertising can be kept to a minimum. We do also offer an advertising-free service for a nominal contribution.
Click here to review Google’s advertising policies.
Advertising within Schools
There are various degrees of acceptance of advertising within schools worldwide. Services such as Yahoo!® and Google are used almost universally in classroom exercises within the school environment, yet the open display of advertising in a more structured learning environment is not yet accepted by some institutions. Research undertaken by ALISON within the United States has indicated acceptance for the display of advertising where it is seen as an affordable price to pay for the provision of high-quality interactive learning. In countries where education has traditionally been provided by local or national government, exposure to advertising within an educational context is a new phenomenon and is often treated with suspicion. In the case of schools in particular, ALISON commits to ensuring that the advertising shown is pro-consumer, and that it provides information on a range of beneficial services such as college courses, summer camps and youth travel organisations. An accurately completed personal profile ensures that the advertisements that students will see are targeted at their age group (hence the importance of recording one’s age accurately). ALISON encourages instructors to ensure that their students register their ages accurately. ALISON is actively seeking a partner to co-develop a media and consumer literacy course, so that young people can become better-informed consumers.
Given the interactive nature of the learning available on ALISON, and given the frequent pauses encountered within the learning environment, we believe that the advertising supplied poses no threat to the delivery of a powerful learning experience. ALISON is open to suggestions as to how advertising can best be managed, and encourages feedback from members of our community.
Recently ALISON has enabled an advertising bypass option for schools and colleges. This was made possible by the growth of our service within the commercial sector and an increase in our technical capacity.