Monday, May 05, 2008

a response from WFOT

I received a response from WFOT regarding an email I sent them about a banner ad on their website. Here is their response:

From: World Federation of Occupational Therapists [mailto:admin@wfot.org.au]
Sent: 03 May 2008 17:25
To: 'chris@abctherapeutics.com'
Cc: Marilyn Pattison
Subject: WFOT: For Info: banner ads on WFOT website


Dear Dr. Alterio

Many thanks for your letter and the concerns you raise.

I would like to draw to your attention to the following statement on the WFOT website:

Placement of advertising either on the WFOT website or in the Bulletin does not imply any endorsement of the advertised products and / or services by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Based on this I would suggest your criticism of WFOT is somewhat unjustified and your disappointment misplaced. WFOT is staffed by volunteers and the organisation depends upon donations, individual membership and revenue from products and advertising to fund its international activities. The placement of a banner ad serves as a sponsored link to another site so it is, I assume, the content of the other site that you object to. If this is the case then I would suggest you take it up with Schoodles directly.

I would also draw your attention to the fact that the WFOT site also has a tabbed link (non sponsored) to OT Evidence.

Please let me know if you require further clarification.

Kind regards

Marilyn Pattison
Registered Occupational Therapist
Dip.C.O.T.(UK), B.App.Sc.(OT), MBA

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I responded to their response:

Dear Marilyn,

Thanks for your response.

I am aware of the WFOT statement about not endorsing advertisors - but I still fail to understand why WFOT would accept advertisements from a company that sells a product that some occupational therapy professionals might object to.

There are always a diversity of opinions on any given topic - and then a corresponding opportunity for dialogue. I believe that a discussion about evidence-based practice is legitimate and comment or opinion about products that might not meet those standards that many occupational therapists embrace is not misplaced.

In fact, the presence of the WFOT section on evidence based practice is what caused me to voice my concerns. It is difficult to understand why WFOT would promote evidence based practice on one hand and take advertising money for that product with the other hand.

Anyway, that is just my opinion. WFOT is your organization and you all are certainly very free to do whatever you want. I just wanted to share my opinion.

Regards,

Christopher J. Alterio, Dr.OT, OTR

2 comments:

Liz Ditz said...

Chris, I think this advertising problem is common among all websites that accept advertising -- you relinquish control over what ads appear.

As I am sure you know, SchwabLearning was a wonderful site on learning disabilities and differences, supported by the Schwab Foundation. Earlier this year, SchwabLearning was absorbed by GreatSchools, which is an ad-supported site. Ads for quack products would turn up on the "attention and learning difficulties" page. I don't use GreatSchools much as a result.

Chris said...

Good point Liz. I agree, and understand - advertising that contradicts a site's otherwise good messages is just unfortunate.