Paid links, come get your paid links served IN editorial content.

Adland: 

The New York Times reports that Forbes.com has begun serving paid links within articles written by journalists.

"We want to be trailblazers, whether from an advertising standpoint or an editorial standpoint," said Jim Spanfeller, president and chief executive at Forbes.com, part of Forbes Inc. The company will keep a close eye on its readers' reaction throughout the summer. "We would walk away," Mr. Spanfeller said, if readers indicated confusion or disapproval of ads within the editorial content.

The story broke at DMnews when Brian Morrissey; "Forbes.com has begun to embed advertiser links in its news articles, making it the first major Web news publisher to experiment with mixing ad units within editorial content."

Are the minors joining in? Or have they already been doing this for a while? J. Calacanis blog details a strange offer made by Farks PR/ad service, instead of shilling him an adsquare on the side of the page, they offered an editorial link for 300-400 USD. "just buy the editorial.". Reactions to this is varied, as can be gleaned in this metafilter thread many miss or ignore the point it's not that there are ads in there, its that they are not marked as such.

At least when Forbes.com visitors roll their mouse over a sponsored link within a journalists article, a CSS box appears with ad copy and the magic words "sponsored link".

How much of the webs real estate will be advertising in the end?

Or the worlds 'real life' real estate for that matter - the linked article at Maisonneuve describes the phenomenon of stealth marketing in form of paid product placement mentioned by real people at regulars bars.

"Could you order me a shot of vodka and a bottle of Brand X?"

"Vodka and Brand X?" you ask, "What's Brand X?"

"Oh!" she replies nonchalantly, "It's an herb-laced energy drink. I mix it with my vodka. It keeps me hydrated so I don't wake up with such a hangover. It's really yummy too."

advertising is indeed everywhere.....

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (12)

  • deeped's picture
    deeped

    I wanna know what that herbal is. A Sunday w/o hangover would be appreciated by the human context ;)

    Aug 04, 2004
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Have you tried not drinking? ;))

    Aug 04, 2004
  • deeped's picture
    deeped

    I tried. Life tended to be real. I didn't like it ;)

    Aug 04, 2004
  • caffeinegoddess's picture
    caffeinegoddess

    oh joy. another reason for the masses to think advertisers are nothing but skeevy, manipulating, devious bastards. Lovely.

    Aug 04, 2004
  • Robblink's picture
    Robblink

    If Forbes isn't careful, they will lose credibility with their readers. Then who can we rely on for "real" news.....The Enquirer?

    Aug 05, 2004
  • Imanaddy's picture
    Imanaddy

    I think the whole idea is appalling, but I'm not in the least surprised that
    there hasn't been an outcry of complaints yet. Sheep sheep sheep. They'll eat what we feed them. Did you see the comments in the FARK blog story? They're even proud that they don't care.

    Aug 05, 2004
  • Neaner's picture
    Neaner

    farking idiots. It's depressing to watch the comments, they think they are being shilled to all the time. Example:

    seriously - there isn't a magazine out there that doesn't sell its columns and stories to companies trying to get a little more influence. fark and lot of other web sites are the same way. they're entirely justified to do what they're doing and no amount of your banter is going to change what they're doing. get realistic here - it's the way of the world. if you can't stand to enjoy fark after what you know now..

    ... It hasn't gone that far yet - but PR keeps on pushing and editorial bends over.

    Aug 05, 2004
  • caffeinegoddess's picture
    caffeinegoddess

    I don't get how "the phenomenon of stealth marketing in form of paid product placement mentioned by real people at regulars bars" isn't considered deceptive advertising- as in illegal. There are rules and regs about that- which is probably the only reason Forbes.com has that CSS bit stating that it is an advert. Blurring the line between content and advertising is a very dangerous thing.

    Aug 06, 2004
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    This thread at Fark is dedicated to commenting the paid links idea there, Drew clarifies Farks position and the users say they don't care as long as it's good. (basically)

    Aug 07, 2004
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Whitespace are currently discussing the Forbes-adlinks, concentrating on the look and feel of the execution of it here Ad Links In Content.

    Sep 13, 2004

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