Monday, November 10, 2008

An advertising policy

If you go to our page on services and policies, you will find our policy on accepting advertising is "currently under review". It's said that for ten years - as that has been the case for ten years. The Englemed site became largely a showcase for potential clients and we drifted away from our original idea of providing a news site for the public.

Now that's changed following a major revamp. And, after some consideration and research, we even have an advertising policy - which you can see reflected on the site!

We hope the site is now more useable and that it contains useful information.

The problem we had with advertising was not to compromise the independence of our news service. We are almost unique in that we do not draw from the main news agency sources that feed all media, papers, TV and web - mainly Reuters and the Press Association. You can see that today in our very different take on the story about statins and heart disease.

If we provide a service to another website there's a good chance they may be taking pharmaceutical sponsorship or relying on selling health products. When we agree a contract we negotiate carefully so they can reassure their users the news service is unbiassed. When there's been pharmaceutical sponsorship our experience has varied - but at the very least it tends to mean some restriction on what is published. One approach is simply to agree not to report about any marketed drugs. It means the news is about other issues, lifestyle, causes etc. That's fine - but we get unhappy if we come under constant pressure to identify, say, a particular cause when there may not be medical consensus about it.

On this site we think you need to be sure we won't hold back from reporting good or bad news about a treatment. So we don't want to be reliant on pharmaceutical sponsorship - even if it were possible (and there are legal issues involved too). Nor do we want to promote herbal remedies, vitamins, dietary supplements or alternative therapies. The news about these treatments tends to be mixed and you need to be sure you are getting it fairly. They may crop up on google ads which appear on blogs. That's fine - their appearance is largely out of our control although we can and will block a repeat advertiser who is clearly disreputable.

We have for some time promoted a limited range of books from reputable organisations and authors. And thanks to the wonders of affiliate schemes, we can now promote other relevant material to our visitors. We've always had a strong family focus. This is a feature we did on pregnancy issues some time ago. And our redesign gives fresh emphasis to this.

So if you're having a baby, there's maternity wear. There's toddler and baby safety devices. And there are those hard to find gifts for all the family and special occasions. There's even a garden centre! We think this is the right kind of ethical advertising for this site - so readers can be assured they are getting real news!

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