ASME pushes clarity in online advertising

The American Society of Magazine Editors this week released additional guidelines aimed at online product placement, paid links and interruptive advertising, which are aimed at making sure the reader is “able to distinguish ads from edit,” AdWeek says.

“The new guidelines say paid or sponsored links should be identified as such; Web sites should not promote products in exchange for advertising; and sponsored microsites should be visually distinct from the main Web site. A section on interruptive advertising says such ads should be subject to editorial approval. ASME wants such ads to have a prominent ‘close’ or ‘skip’ button and last no more than 10 seconds.”

Also, ads for tablet media should “look different from editorial pages to avoid confusing the two, since tablets’ ads often aren’t displayed opposite editorial the way they are in print.”

The guidelines, like ones released last fall, are purely voluntary and, particularly in this economy, are likely to be ignored, the report says.

Forbes, for one publication, is unconcerned. It is expanding a program begun last fall that puts advertisers and outside contributors on equal footing with its editorial staffers, AdWeek says in another report this week.

“Under a three-month-old program called AdVoice, advertisers could pay to have their labeled blogs appear alongside those of editorial staffers. Now, their contributions can run anywhere on the site that a staff writer or contributor can appear, not just the blogs section,” AdWeek says.

Microsoft and Toyota have signed on.

“The idea of Lewis D’Vorkin, the company’s new chief product officer, to mix advertising content with edit is a dramatic shift for a historic business brand that once prided itself on not using freelancers,” the report says.

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