Monday, November 27, 2006

They think you're a whore

Hey...remember that problem a few months ago when VNU began running ads inside its stories? Well VNU backed away from that offensive practice after I complained. (If you missed that incident, please go back and read the post I wrote that day as well as the comments from readers.) But it appears that other publishers are willing to trade their integrity for pennies.
According to today's Wall Street Journal, "some mainstream journalistic Web sites, like those of News Corp.'s Fox News, Cox Enterprises Inc.'s Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Hearst Corp.'s Popular Mechanics magazine" are using the same, offensive "in-text" ad links as VNU did.

The Journal article is predictable in its arrogance and its shortcomings -- pointing a finger at B2B journalism and blogging, but failing to discuss VNU's decision to pull the ads: "Still, in-text advertising is gaining traction, in part because it appeals to many sites on the Web that don't focus on hard news, such as feature magazines, trade publications and blogs."

But try not to be too offended by the implication that we in trade publishing are ripe for the whore's life. Instead, get angry. And get ready. Because if the Journal is right that this in-text-ad foolishness is gaining traction, then we can expect more offensive behavior from some of the more offensive folks in our industry.
And we're going to have to fight that.

For more of my thoughts on this issue, as well as a link to Folio magazine's coverage of the VNU scandal, click here.

Update: Bill Mickey at Folio magazine is also offended by the in-text ads.

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