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How health product advertising is creeping (leaping?) into editorial content

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Here’s an article that explains the exploding trend of advertisers buying – in effect – key words in stories that are relevant to the products they’re selling.

So, for example, drug companies with heart disease products can “buy” terms like “heart disease” and then hyperlink the word to one of those obnoxious small window ads that pop up when you scroll over the hyperlink. Here’s a screenshot that the story provided about what the Healthline company is doing.


The story explains that the product “is already rolling out across large sites that Healthline helps to power including Yahoo Health, AOL Health, and Everyday Health.”

The story touches on the fact that this is a whole new arena for the FDA to investigate.

Meantime, Pia Christensen on the Association of Health Care Journalists’ “Covering Health” blog reminds readers that “that just a couple of weeks ago, AHCJ member Mary Knudson sparked discussion about sponsored links in editorial content after she quit a new blogging post with U.S. News & World Reports.” She explains that the product in question above is the same product that U.S. News used to generate those sponsored links.

She also advises that “Healthline claims the ads have a higher click-through rate than traditional banner ads. If that’s true, journalists may face Knudson’s dilemma more frequently.”

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Ken Leebow

October 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Not only does it compromise the editorial integrity of the publication, while reading an article, it’s incredibly annoying.


October 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Well if someone clicks on the ad its going to cost the company money. So if everyone starting clicking madly this nonsense would stop.