AZCentral has started to put two green lines under words in stories called “Vibrant In-Text Advertising” indicating that the word has been sold to an advertiser and when you place your cursor over the word a box showing an ad with flash on the screen. If you click on the box it will take you to a more complete advertisement for the company. According to the article “Three words per story are for sale now on AZCentral.com” Ford Motor Company owns football, American Express owns Texas, and Pitney-Bowes owns business.
AZ Central says that there was a lot of negative reaction to the concept internally but they haven’t heard or seen a single reaction from an external reader.
I think this article raises an ethical issue of whether it is justifiable for organizations to sell their stories to the highest bidder. I feel that it blurs the lines between news and advertisements even further and in my opinion just might backlash on the companies selling their words. As a consumer I don’t want to be bombarded by advertising embedded in what I am trying to read. If I had to constantly dodge ad boxes popping up just to read a story I would mostly likely give up on the source completely and turn my attention somewhere else, anywhere else.