Forbes is purposely not just blurring, but erasing the line between the magazine’s editorial and paid content with new blogs that will be owned by advertisers but published under the Forbes banner.
“The pitch is this: We’ll sell you a blog, and your content will live alongside that of Forbes’ journalists and bloggers,” Advertising Age explains. “This isn’t the ‘sponsored post’ of yore; rather, it is giving advocacy groups or corporations such as Ford or Pfizer the same voice and same distribution tools as Forbes staffers, not to mention the Forbes brand.”
The new “product,” as Ad Age calls it, is called AdVoice and is being guided by True/Slant CEO and former Forbes editor Lewis DVorkin, who is returning to Forbes as chief product officer of Forbes Media in the wake of the magazine’s purchase of the True/Slant blog.
“DVorkin has been pulling apart the website and magazine, merging staff and contributed content, and generally blowing apart how journalism, blogging, reader contributions and advertising fit together on the web, in the magazine and everywhere Forbes content is published” Ad Age says.
“‘For the last however many decades of traditional media, you’re a reader so your stuff can only go here,’ Mr. DVorkin said, starting to get animated. ‘You’re an advertiser so stuff can only go here. And our stuff? It goes right here. But there’s a flow of content that’s contextual. Anything can appear in any place as long as it’s contextual – that’s the web and we are bringing that sensibility to the magazine.'”
Forbes says it will be clear who (advertisers, Forbes journalists, whoever) is doing the talking on the various parts of its site.
AdVoice clients – there are none so far – will pay a flat fee, “which means that marketers producing the most appealing content will, theoretically, get more readers and a better deal on a cost-per-thousand-readers, or CPM, basis.”