Online Opinion (or "OLO" to its devotees) is Australia's leading online website for publication of essays on a variety of topics. It also reprints the best available essays from international sites. For a number of years OLO has been a very strong supporter of disseminating ideas about peak oil, climate change, resource limits, economics, religious issues and the vexed topic of population growth (among many others). It has fearlessly published opinionated pieces from all sides of every debate. Many essays from Energy Bulletin have been reprinted on OLO where they reach political leaders, their staff and other journalists in Australia - people who otherwise would not normally see this material. Many OLO essays have also found their way onto the Energy Bulletin!
Now the existence of OLO is under serious threat due (overtly) to a spat over an opinion piece on gay marriage. An advertising agency, apparently acting under pressure from the international corporation IBM and an Australian bank, ANZ, has pulled the plug on OLO's advertising stream. I have corresponded with OLO's Chief Editor Graham Young and he is having great difficulty getting any clarity from the advertising agency on why apparent complaints from IBM and ANZ have led to the disappearance of almost all of OLO's revenue stream. As someone growing older and more cynical every day, I cannot but wonder if the severing of OLO's support might have something to do with spreading concern among our elites about growing public awareness of the environmental, energy and other geopolitical issues. You can read about OLO's situation here:
Please do whatever you can to help OLO survive so that it can continue its great service to the Australian and international public. If you have contacts in IBM or ANZ please use them. If you can donate to support OLO please do. If you would like to advertise on OLO then contact Graham! We have watched the internet shutting down in Egypt and have seen the Australian government's clumsy attempts to filter it here. Let's not let this important internet site be taken off-line just as the times we live in become more "interesting" by the day!
For 11 years On Line Opinion has been my passion. It’s been my passion because I’m a child of the Enlightenment and I was raised to believe that not only do people have a right to an opinion, but they have a responsibility to continually test and examine that opinion in the light of what others think and believe.
From an honest examination and testing of what one believes arises most human progress as well as respect for the dignity and humanity of others. Someone who continually questions will be open to difference and novelty. They will be capable of moving forward, and they will be less inclined to believe in their own infallibility and superiority.
On Line Opinion is an open platform for ideas. We have a larger audience than any other Australian opinion site outside the mainstream media because we offer diversity and quality, and because we treat our readers with respect, promoting equality as a core value.
A number of years ago Emunah Hauser, a US writer who contributed a piece to us in 2004 when she was studying law at the University of Sydney gave us a reference and remarked how unique and “Australian” the site is.
Well now this very Australian site which strives for tolerance and civility and better community understanding is under threat because of the bigotry of some entrenched interests and the weakness of some corporates both masquerading under the banner of values.
In round terms On Line Opinion needs somewhere around $100,000 per year to function. We have been earning around $50,000 of that from advertising on the site and on the blogs listed in our Domain.
We have an advertising agency that represents us, and they deal with advertising agencies that place advertisements on behalf of advertisers. The Domain was my initiative. It was a strategy to increase the size of our offering and also spread the benefits of the advertising to a broader pool of quality blogs.
(7 February 2011)