FTC To Host Native Ad Workshop

EWPeople MagWith interest in native advertising surging, it was only a matter of time before the powers that be decided to get involved. This week brought the first rumblings of government interest (and possibly intervention) as the Federal Trade Commission announced that it will host a workshop on native ads in Washington D.C. on Dec. 4.
The workshop, titled “Blurred Lines:  Advertising or Content?” will include representatives from the publishing and advertising industries, as well as consumer advocates and industry organizations to examine the ways native ads are presented to consumers, consumer understanding of native ads and distinguishing native ads from editorial content.
Speakers will include staff attorney Lesley Fair, addressing the history of advertorials and infomercials; Columbia Journalism School professor Nicholas Lemann, on the origin and purposes of the wall between editorial and advertising; and Bob Garfield, co-host of On the Media and a MediaPost columnist, on the reputational risk to publishers inherent in native advertising.
The workshop will also include panel discussions addressing the basic forms of sponsored content, consumer recognition and understanding of native ads, and best practices for establishing transparency around native ads.
Some industry organizations are already moving to create self-regulatory frameworks governing native ads. In October, the American Society of Magazine Editors released an updated version of its editorial guidelines with new suggestions for best practices surrounding native advertising.

Among other things, ASME said native ads “should not use type fonts and graphics resembling those used for editorial content and should be visually separated from editorial content.”
ASME also suggested that magazine publishers differentiate native ads by labeling them “Sponsor Content,” as well as prefacing or accompanying them with a prominent statement or link to a statement “explaining that the content has been created by a marketer and that the marketer has paid for its publication.&rdquo



2 comments about "FTC To Host Native Ad Workshop".
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  1. Anni Paul from BoscoSystems, November 20, 2013 at 12:18 a.m.

    I appreciate (in theory) what the FTC is trying to do here, but I hope they don't stick their noses too far into this. It isn't needed. Native ads are petty much self-policing. Twitter, Airpush, The Atlantic, and other top names in social, advertising, media, etc. realize that native advertising needs to be based on transparency. Engaging content clearly designated as advertising or sponsored content is critically important. Consumers detest advertisers and publishers that try to fool them. That sort of thing will only backfire long term. And that’s the biggest safeguard there is against deceptive usage of native ads.

  2. Stephen Mindich from phoenix media group, November 20, 2013 at 8:25 a.m.

    I tend to agree with Ms. Paul that government should not be inserting itself into this quickly growing trend. And though i would like to believe that publishers comprehend that in their understandable desparation to find new revenue streams, continuimg the slide down this slippery slope ultimately leads to the degradation of their content, the loss of trust of their audience - and the audience's ultimate abandonment of them - at which point even native advertisers will find no value in spending money with them. Unfortunately, at the same time, rejecting such enticing revenue for the sake of editorial integrity, when it seems pretty clear that most advertisers already don't seem to value it, and are in greater numbers choosing other means of selling their goods and services; e.g. social media and search, for publishers it is akin to committing hara-kari.

    The issue of distinguishing between advertorials, etc., (now "native advertising") and real editorial content, is nothing new to publishers and there are many tried and true methods of doing so. What is new and different today is that to survive, publishers see little choice other than to publish this stuff or perish - the quintessential Hobson's choice.

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