Native Not Noose Around the Neck of Publishers

11 May Native Not Noose Around the Neck of Publishers

As has been widely reported BuzzFeed, which generates all of its revenue from native advertising badly stubbed its foot removing negative comments about an advertiser a few weeks ago.

That event prompted vigorous discussion of whether native advertising is inherently flawed  by the overwhelming temptation to cave in to advertisers.

We agree that the temptation to cow-tow to advertisers exists — with native advertising, but also with all other forms of advertising. If your major auto dealer threatens to pull his/her ads, you tend to listen and are mightily tempted to give in to advertiser wants, no matter what for that advertising takes.

However, BuzzFeed’s mistake, and they do admit it was a mistake, does not mean that native is doomed. Far from it.

It does mean that all media outlets employing native advertising need to grow a spine.

We also wholeheartedly agree with Ad Age that every publisher needs a public code of ethics:

What’s the solution? Write a code of ethics and post it for all to see. Include a policy in which you acknowledge all corrections and deletions and vet listicle-type posts for apparent plugs. In practice, it’s also a good idea to appoint a project manager to make sure a native ad campaign is executed without transgressions.

We encourage our clients to develop “rules for the road” for native. For example, the Charleston Post and Courier cites the development of their guidelines as one of the most important steps on the road to what they expect to be more than $250,000 from native advertising this year.

Native is no worse and no better than other forms of advertising when it comes to the temptation to cave into advertiser demands.

It does require proper planning and the willingness to stand up for what you believe.

– by Paul Camp

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