Commentary

Garfield & Millard Let Gloves Come Off (Again)

In this corner (!) we have MediaPost columnist Bob Garfield, and in the other is Wenda Harris Millard, President & COO at Medialink! Yes, one of the main events (!) during this year's Advertising Week is currently going down at OMMA's Premium Display conference, in New York. As with their previous encounters, the industry veterans are trading thinly-veiled barbs on a range of topics, including publishers' wholesale embrace of "native advertising." Garfield calls the increasingly intimate relationship between publishers and brands a truly "Faustian bargain," and the source of his "ongoing heartbreak." Worse yet, publishers of the highest caliber (The New York Times, etc.) are doing everything in their power to blur the lines between content and the "sponsored" stuff, according to Garfield. And -- to the degree that publishers rely on clicks to pay the bills -- they have to. That's because data clearly show that people do not click on ads, but they do click on stuff they don't think is advertising, according to Garfield. "By definition, if people are clicking on something, they don't know it's an ad," he says. Millard, for her part, thinks Garfield's "viewpoint is so... zeros and ones." The personification of affected optimism, Millard asked of Garfield: "Why so dire? ... This is such a dark conversation."

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