Sponsored Content Watch

Apr 25 2014 @ 12:21pm

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Alex Mayyasi wonders why that those “recommended links” you see appended to so many stories on legitimate news sites seem to have gotten a pass in the sponsored-content debate:

On one hand, that might be understandable. Taboola links don’t seem nearly as deceptive as a full article. Over email, Taboola CEO Adam Singolda pointed out that companies like Facebook and Google host links or advertisements from Moneynews and the Aftershock Survival Summit. This author’s daily e-mail from The New York Times includes ads for financial products and mortgage sites just as scammy. Is Taboola sponsored content any different from trashy ads?

But in the case of scammy ads, the difference between an ad and a sponsored link is crucial. The illusion of journalistic integrity provided by the news publishers that host these “headlines” is key to the sale of these useless financial products, scam diet pills, and shady mortgage deals. “With Outbrain Amplify,” Outbrain tells customers, “links to your content appear as recommendations on the web’s largest content publishers including sites like Wall Street Journal, Reuters & People.com.” Bloomberg News, The Atlantic, and the other publications hosting sponsored links are not just hosting advertising for these deceptive sales pitches; they are enabling them.

And the beat goes on.

(Image from Politico)