September 16th, 2013
Feds To Investigate The Fuzzy Line Between Advertising & Editorial Content
By Chris Morran
Buzzfeed makes no attempt to disguise sponsored content. Other sites take a stealthier approach. Call them “advertorials,” “sponsored stories,” “brand journalism,” or — the latest nonsense term — “native advertising,” but it’s all the same: An ad that looks an awful lot like — and is often not distinguishable from — a website’s editorial content.
Since consumers have long stopped even noticing banners, click away from pages with auto-play video ads, and increasingly use mobile devices to go online, advertisers have turned to these ad-wolves in editorial sheep’s clothing. These sorts of semi-ads have been around for quite some time, especially in content genres generally considered as “journalism lite,” like celebrity and entertainment websites.