The City of Hamilton's new website now includes sponsorship advertising as part of the new design. This follows Council direction to find revenue opportunities from web based advertising.
The result is a dedicated area at the bottom of the City homepage for "Sponsors / Partners" which plugs the programming corporations are paying to support in exchange for brand placement.
It's the PBS model of advertising - tightly controlled, selective, and 'DON'T CALL IT ADVERTISING!'.
Sponsorship Common, Dedicated Ad Space New
Governments engaged in corporate sponsorships regularly, and corporations are keen to attach their brands to programs which are well regarded and received in communities. It's become commonplace.
Last term of Council, Ward 13 Councillor Russ Powers pushed for the City to look at the new City website as a revenue generating opportunity and successfully moved a motion that the new City website include some advertising revenue generation in the new design.
His motion didn't specify how the advertising would be included into the website.
Corporate sponsorship of City programs is now commonplace. Enter any arena or recreation centre and you'll see corporate logos.
We no longer name civic entertainment facilities after great Hamiltonians. The former Ivor Wynne Stadium is now named after a fast food chain, which was founded in Hamilton. The former Copps' Coliseum is now named after a local credit union.
The use of dedicated advertising space for brand placement at the bottom of the City homepage is non-intrusive and doesn't look tacky.
Staff have done a good job of implementing Council direction while ensuring it does not harm user experience, doesn't implement third-party tracking, and doesn't make it appear the City website is for sale to the highest bidder for page views. (The highest bidder for web banners isn't paying much anyway)