I’m really disappointed that two of my favorite blogs are doing advertisements in their posts and not making it clear (see images below).
Months ago AdRants started running ads as blogs posts and as you can see in the example below the only way you would ever know that is that on the bottom of the postafter you’ve already read the postit says “AdRants Adverpost.” The post is in the same font, same space, same colors and is written like a normal post.
Today I noticed Rafat, one of my very good friends who worked with me at Silicon Alley Reporter, started doing advertisements in posts. Now, I know Rafat and he has the highest integrityas I’m sure Steve Hall has at AdRantshowever someone else would certainly question that when reading PaidContent.org today.
As you can see in Rafat’s implementation (second image down) he too is using the same font, the same blog format and placing the advertisement in same space. I started reading the post in the middle as I was scanning down the pagethe image caught me. I then worked backwards to the first sentence and was like “what is this!?!?!” Perhaps Rafat didn’t have the tech team available to make a different looking format, I’m sure there is an explanation for this. Rafat’s a great guy.
If you’re going to do advertising in a blog post fastion (which I don’t recommend), and it is going to be in the content column, you should at the very least do the following to make it clear to the reader:
1. Put Advertisement at the top and bottom of the blog post in a readable font size. Don’t put sponsored post, or adverpost. Call it what it is, an advertisement.
2. Put the blog post in a different font style, and perhaps font color.
3. Indent the post so the reader gets a clue that this is not part of the content.
4. Place the advertisement in a box with a line around it and background color (a la Google AdSense).
The magazine world does this already because they know how important trust is to the industry.
3. LABELLING, LAYOUT and DESIGN
In order to identify special advertising sections clearly and conspicuously:
(a) The words “advertising,” “advertisement,” “special advertising section” or “special advertising supplement” should appear horizontally at or near the center of the top of every page of such sections containing text, in type at least equal in size and weight to the publication’s normal editorial body typeface.
(b) The layout, design, typeface and literary style of special advertising sections or custom-publishing products should be distinctly different from the publication’s normal layout, design, typefaces and literary style.
I’d like to personally ask Rafat and Steve to rethink their advertising positions for the sake of their own reputations and the reputation of all blog publishers. You guys are some of the best content in the blogosphere, don’t sell out to the advertisers like this. Make it clear to the readers what is an advertisement just like the magazine industry does.