Originally Posted by boredserf
Yeah, I like being an audience for advertising better than 'membership has its privileges.' Because--
Unless this website is different from every other one I've ever been to, only a tiny percentage of the registered members pay up to support it--what is it here--maybe 5 percent? So that 5 percent carry the place, and the other 95 percent get a free ride. By being part of an audience for advertising, the 95 percent pianlessly supports the website. So advertising spreads the burden around in a way you'll never do with the membership approach. I'm not about to send money to every website I post on or every blog I read, but it doesn't bother me in general to scroll past ads and it wouldn't here.
Of course, that means the people who own the websites have to not screw up their deal with too many ads--like the guy above me says happened at a website he used to go to.
So what you propose, whilst giving a glow of satisfaction to supporters, might backfire on everyone.
That said, provided advertising didn't drive users away, I guess inflicting ads on the non-paying wouldn't be too bad. Except a lot of us ignore ads.
A more sophisticated approach would be to have some kind of commercial relationship between these businesses and the site, where they interacted and could promote their wares in an acceptable way, maybe supplemented with promotions etc.
Advertising is of limited use in my opinion. Many net users just don't see it.