You’€™ve no doubt seen them, the double underlined words in the actual content that pops up a small balloony layer with an ad. There’€™s an interesting article titled Is it News’€¦ or Is It an Ad? over at the Wall Street Journal about this type of advertisement. It’€™s nothing new, but it’€™s breaking into traditional news segments, and as you all know that’€™s when you make the press.
So, sold links within the actual content, is it good or bad? It most certainly can be bad if the links are poorly fitted to the content, you see, much like Google Adsense these types of ads read your page and make certain keywords linked ads. Here’€™s an example from the WSJ article:
But sometimes the ads appear strangely out of context. For instance, a recent Popular Mechanics story titled “Worst Case Scenarios: How to Survive a Riot” advised readers to “stay away from the windows.” Last month, the story contained an ad for Microsoft Windows linked to the word “windows.”
While I do find this hilarious, it could also just as well be offensive in the wrong combination. That won’€™t make your readers happy, now will it?
A sample of an IntelliTXT ad
This type of ads is showing up in more and more blogs, besides regular websites. I find that even more dubious than actually linking part of my content to ads, since blog readers are accustomed to following links from blog posts. Sure, the links are underlined twice and probably has another color than your editorial links all around the blog, but still, it could be clicked thinking that it was further reading on the subject. Which it might be, in an ideal world, since it’€™s supposedly keyword matched, just like Adsense. I have yet to be tricked to click and Adsense ad though, since although you can style them they usually differ from the content enough so that I know that I’€™m following an ad. Does this apply with this type of links?
The article comes at a convenient time for me. Vibrant Media (that’€™s IntelliTXT) are in negotiations with one of my companies in Sweden for placing ads on some of our sites. It pays nicely, compared to Adsense, and I’€™m torn between the fact that we need to monetize these sites, but also maintain our integrity. Personally, I would never put these ads in content submitted by users, such as comments or forum posts. The site’€™s own editorial content is another matter, but then there’€™s the matter of ‘€œam I tricking the reader to click to read more?’€? which I find very hard to reach a decision on.
What do you think? Would you put these types of ads on your blog? Does it discredit the actual content and its reliability?
Hat tips to The Bivings Report
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.