An Ethical Framework for Sponsored Content

Friday, July 19, 2013


Sponsored content, or "native advertising," is increasingly becoming a source of revenue for the financially strapped news media. But this can be dangerous territory since native advertising is often made to resemble the actual editorial content. Bob talks to Steve Rubel, chief content strategist at the PR firm Edelman, about an ethical framework for navigating the murky waters of sponsored content partnerships.

William Tyler - Country of Illusion


Steve Rubel

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [4]

Gerhardt Meurer from Perth, WA, Australia

I just heard Bob Garfield's comment on "Native Advertising" on The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Media Watch show ( . Bob sure does sound good with an Aussie accent, or should I say Robbo does! :-)

Apr. 22 2014 10:13 AM
Roger Buehrer, APR, Fellow PRSA from Las Vegas, NV

Another tactic used by the PR industry is the use of VNRs. Yet some media use VNRs as the foundation for a news story without acknowledgement. I contend that there is so much pressure to produce news that outlets are have become a bit self-serving in fact-checking and attribution.

Sep. 12 2013 03:03 PM

As someone who works in the Search Marketing industry I can say that contrary to Mr. Rubel's assertions few people understand the paid placement models. As one example (there are dozens more) It's a well known fact that Bing and Yahoo ads have higher click rates than Google's. This isn't because the ads are better, but because the audience is older and less likely to understand the difference between ads and content.

Google has also gotten into trouble recently because the yellow background that separates their ads from organic content is so subtle that very few people even notice it.

I don't mean to say Mr. Rubel is wrong, but his assertion that what he's doing can work because the search model works in a similar way is just plain wrong.

Jul. 24 2013 01:23 PM
M from California

You're a media watchdog/analyst, yet you didn't know to be suspicious of the journalistic standards of The Huffington Post?

Jul. 22 2013 06:52 PM

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