AM: BarnesandNoble- an opposing view
In response to the Barnes and Noble story across the wires today,
Chris Bertchie, of Town Hall, Inc. <http://wwww.townhall.com>
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 @
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 Amazon.com 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.
Chris Bertchie, Advertising Director
TOWN HALL (townhall.com)
214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202-608-6019 Fax: 202-544-7330
The democratic process gets wired at townhall.com!
> 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,
> BarnesandNoble.com 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.