The New York Times's David Carr has written a thought-provoking column about the perils of "native advertising", a column centred around an interview with Joe McCambley, the founder of the digital design firm Wonderfactory.
"When the guy who ruined the Internet with banner ads tells you that a new kind of advertising might destroy journalism, it tends to get your attention," [says Carr.]McCambley thinks native advertising may damage the longstanding contract between consumer and media organizations (what we used to call readers and publishers). Ads mimicking the style and format of journalism and nestled among real stories; sometimes labelled, more often not, gain attention and engagement. (They're what we used to call "advertorial" but even more closely integrated with content.)
“I completely understand the value of native advertising but there are a number of publishers who are allowing P.R. firms and advertising agencies direct access to their content management systems and allowing them to publish directly to the site. I think that is a huge mistake.
“It is a very slippery slope and could kill journalism if publishers aren’t careful....
“You are gambling with the contract you have with your readers. How do I know who made the content I am looking at and what the value of the information is?”