Can you answer my 3 questions about advertising policy?

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    I’m setting up a website for a local small business centre. The website is intended as a community resource (giving information on local clubs, schools, things to do, news and events) but also contains a small directory of local businesses (shops, restaurants and other services) giving their addresses, phone numbers and websites.

    1. Is a directory such as this considered advertising?

    2. Is it possible to have a “promotions” page whereby I give details of those businesses that have some kind of special offer for the month eg ‘a free pedicure with every facial’, or ‘kids eat free with a paying adult’, or something similar? Or would this be in breach of the advertising policy?

    3. Is it possible to have advertisements in a sidebar that are “read only” ie that are not linked to anything? Our local businesses don’t sell their goods online (hence no need for links) but we are trying to get our local residents to come to the village centre for their shopping and eating. The website does not currently have these advertisements but it is quite possible that I may get this request in the future.

    I would appreciate some clarification on these three points. Thanks :-)

    The blog I need help with is



    I think the answers to all of these questions depend on whether or not you are paid, either in goods and services or in money, for the listings. Please clarify.


    The businesses all pay a yearly fee to belong to the business association which covers a wide variety of services of which the website is just one.

    There is no (additional) charge to businesses for the directory listing or the promotions page.

    However businesses would have to pay to have an advert in the sidebar. If we couldn’t charge, then we wouldn’t bother doing it, we’d just stick to the directory listing and community information pages.



    If you are paid to have an ad placed in your sidebar, that would violate our terms of service.

    We do have an advertising program called WordAds, which you can read more about at

    Advertising outside of WordAds at is not allowed. For full details, please see:

    If you require other advertising, you might be interested in a self-hosted ( installation. There are no restrictions on advertising if you setup a self-hosted blog instead of a blog, but there are some added responsibilities.

    Please see this link to learn about the differences:

    We have hosting recommendations at the following link if you are interested:


    Seriously, any business or community/business oriented site should be on paid hosting.

    ‘Paid’ hosting is a bit of a misnomer though. There are lots of hosts out there that offer free hosting accounts. Even true paid hosting can be had for as little as $50-$75/year. Many include the domain name, but if they don’t, annual fees are usually less than $10 for most TLDs.

    The WP software is free and even comes pre-installed on some hosting accounts. Plus there are a number of other programs and utilities not available here. Not to mention features like your own email addresses.

    One or two of your sidebar ads could pay for a full year of hosting.


    Thank you all for your comments. I think I will press on with and only change to self-hosting if the association decides in the future that they cannot do without “paid adverts” in the sidebar.



    I’m with notawoodpecker on this. It’s my opinion that any organization that wants to benefit from advertising income (sponsored content, paid content, advertising banners, etc.) is best served by hiring a web host and setting up a self hosted install from the get go. When advertising to promote local business is the goal I advise not to waste any time and energy setting up here first.




    Can I mention/link to what I’ve written? In particular, can I mention a book I’ve written and post a link to it on Amazon?




    Yes, linking via an Amazon affiliate account is permissible, so long as your blog isn’t simply dedicated to just posting Amazon affiliate links.

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