University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Hi all,

So, hypothetical for you- we've got a deal with an insurance company who sells insurance to our alums at a discount. The folks in alumni relations are renegotiating the deal this year, and the insurance company wants us to run ads on our alumni & support sites, linking to their company.

Personally, I think it's not a good idea- really clouds the perception that the Alumni Association is for the Alums, and not out for $$$. Just seems kind of tacky to me. I could see maybe having a page set up, with links to the company in question so that alums could take advantage of the program, but not something site-wide.

So this lead me to some other thoughts regarding higher ed, non-profit, .edu sites and advertising- is there any sort of "rule" out there regarding ads on .edu sites? I have heard rumors- sort of a "web urban legend" that running ads on a .edu site could jeapordize your .edu domain status? Or is there no real rule regarding this, other than its just something tacky to do and would create a perception problem for your institution? Any thoughts folks? Any input, greatly appreciated.

-Dan Demmons

Providence College

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Hi Dan,

Our thoughts are conflicting on this as well. I found this article interesting: "To Sell or Not to Sell Advertising on Your College Website" that came out last January in NCMPR's magazine. It says advertising legalities are likely up to local discretion.

As for us, we do not advertise, but we do provide a list of our Athletic booster club sponsors on our booster club page.

-Cassie, Laramie County Community College

In the last year, I actually contacted educause to find out the legality because of some proposed ideas for our public site. At that time, I was told that there are not any restrictions which regards to .edu sites doing commerce or advertising so legally it is possible. Although, we decided to go another direction since we felt like it would undermine the college's values.  As such, I would say go with your gut!

Definitely not a edu domain restriction (visit page linked below for more). But I was always under the impression that our state (Colorado) law forbids online advertising since we’re a state run institution.

Are there any limitations on the content or use of the .edu domain?

Now of course I'm going to be searching for that state law the rest of the day.

Jeff

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