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AM: BarnesandNoble- an opposing view

Subject:     AM: BarnesandNoble- an opposing view
From:     Mitch Arnowitz <>
Date:     Tue, 16 Sep 1997 17:37:51 -0400


In response to the Barnes and Noble story across the wires today, 
Chris Bertchie, of Town Hall, Inc. <> 
sent in the following note. I thought Chris's comments were 
worth putting out to the entire group. In case you missed it, 
the original post is also included here. Thoughts? 

** Please address your comments to the list @


Chris writes:

Over 10 years of print advertising sales experience made me a firm 
believer in the value of editorial integrity. If readers/users trust 
the "editorial" on a site or in a publication, then they are 
perceiving the advertisers in a positive light.  And if the 
advertising targets the site's users, the response should be enhanced 
by the trusted editorial environment.

I can't, however, agree with Mr. Arlen.  If a book review is linked 
to the opportunity to buy the book, it is an extra service to the 
reader - a service not available to print media.  If books illustrate 
a story, or supplement coverage of an issue, or compliment a subject, 
and links to such books are provided, it is a service to the reader.  
Because the web is a self-select medium, the reader doesn't have to 
choose to look at the selection.

That sites can generate revenue to support their content by "leasing 
space" to B&N or is a good thing, in my opinion, and 
doesn't taint their editorial integrity.  It isn't the same as a 
product review sold as advertising and presented as editorial:  the 
site isn't lending an expert editorial opinion to a buying decision 
in exchange for payment.

Any comments?

Chris Bertchie, Advertising Director
214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.
Washington, DC  20002
Phone: 202-608-6019  Fax: 202-544-7330

The democratic process gets wired at!

> Subject:       AM: * BarnesandNoble gets in trouble?

> Online publishers faced criticism this week over a potential conflict
> of interest between editorial and advertising. On Sept. 9, 
> launched an Affiliate Network program, under which 
> its 40-plus members are paid a commission on book sales generated through 
> links from their Web sites.

> Charter members include Time Inc. New Media, USA Today Online, Knight-
> Ridder New Media, CNN Interactive and other online publishers.
> Analyst Gary Arlen, president of Arlen Communications, said: "This kind
> of deal does start to sully the reputation of a separate church and state
> in journalism." He said this is just the beginning of online content 
> providers being accused of allowing advertising to cross the line 
> separating it from editorial.

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