I'm writing a text about how much the website is going to charge for ads and don't know which phrase is the better one. I checked it with some websites but everyone is doing it differently.

What should I use?

  1. Fees & Information: The fees for banner ads are based on the run time […].

  2. Price & Information: The price for banner ads are based on the run time […].

  • 2
    Note that the second would sound better to me with a singular verb to match the singular "price": "The price for banner ads is based on the run time..."
    – Martha
    Jul 19, 2013 at 20:10

3 Answers 3


They are equivalent enough in general usage that, in the context you have provided, it doesn't make a difference worth worrying about.

As justification for that:

You would ordinarily use price for an item or product that could be purchased. This isn't necessarily physical. The customer can buy airtime for instance, and therefore price works in your example.

On the other hand, fee usually indicates payment for a service. This could be a consultation with a doctor or payments to the tennis club for using the court each week. In your example your service is the placement and display of the banners, so fee works too.

  • The distinction becomes important when we talk about people rather than services. The phrase "Every man has his price." expresses the view that anyone can be corrupted if a sufficiently large bribe is offered.
    – David42
    May 19, 2021 at 15:06

Generally, a "fee" is a payment for services or for a privilege whereas "price" is the cost of something offered for sale. That's why we have a "membership fee" and "license fee" but a "suggested retail price" and "consumer price index". In any of these cases swapping "fee" and "price" doesn't work. However, there's significant overlap and lots of things don't neatly fit into these categories. You can use either.


In this context, I would use fee. Price has a stronger association to a set value, while fee is more associated with usage rates. Since it is based on run time, it sounds more like a usage rate, and thus a fee.

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