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Shocking! Newspapers Snub ‘Around the Web’ Ads


Every serious newspaper reader must have seen it coming. Have you ever wondered how long were the legs of those advertorials that tell you in five simple tricks how to learn 11 languages in a fortnight, boost your sex life, lose those unwanted pounds eating something that looks like a Jurassic fruit, as well as photos of celebrities before they became rich and famous. That newspapers have begun to restrict them or ban them altogether, as the New York Times reports, goes on to show that readers are really discerning. They will not bite the bait of racy content and headlines that incite curiosity. More to the point, however, news sites, including The New York Times and Salon, have realized that this kind of content may undermine their image. There is already the perception that news sites, no matter if they are those of legacy names or not, are seen as the poor cousins of print, as recent research suggests. Sensationalist writing appeals, as the name of this genre indicates, to our basest instincts. We have to say, however, that the ax is falling on the guilty as well as the just. Smart advertorials, we believe, have a role to play in an era in which people appear to have little patience for conventional advertising but would eagerly consume intelligent content, even when they are duly warned that it is paid and has commercial intent. It is to be regretted that poor quality titles should sacrifice those that serve a legitimate and useful goal.

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