For months now the hardtracking staff at Sneak Adtack has been on sponsored content like Brown on Williamson.

Now the New York Times has jumped on the brandwagon.


Sponsors Now Pay for Online Articles, Not Just Ads

Articles in a series on called “What’s Inside” looked for all the world like the hundreds of other articles on the digital media site. But journalistically, they were something very different.

The articles, about technology topics in a wide variety of products, including modems and the Hubble Space Telescope, were paid for by Snapdragon, a brand of processor chip made by Qualcomm, and the sponsor of the series. Most were even written by Mashable editorial employees . . .

Advertisers and publishers have many names for this new form of marketing — including branded content, sponsored content and native advertising. Regardless of the name, the strategy of having advertisers sponsor or create content that looks like traditional editorial content has become increasingly common as publishers try to create more sources of revenue.


The Times piece over all is so relentlessly sunny-side-up, it reads like sponsored content for sponsored content.

Unfortunately, this is getting to be a habit with the Times. Last month the paper ran a similarly judgment-free piece by Stockholm-syndrome ad columnist Stuart Elliott about sponsored content on television.

Hey, Timesniks: Keep this up and you’ll need to change your slogan to “All the steno that’s fit to print.


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
John R. Carroll has 305 post(s) on Sneak Adtack