Ziff Davis began inserting ads inside editorial.
I complained that such practices violated the ethics guidelines of our industry.
Michael Vizard, editorial director and senior vice president at Ziff Davis, disagreed. He told Folio magazine that selling parts of a news story as an advertisement was "in compliance with existing ASME and ASBPE guidelines as we understand them," and said his company would "be inclined to" remove the ads if those "officially recognized bodies adopt specific policies related to IntelliTXT ads."
ASBPE responded with a statement that was about as clear as any I have ever seen in the world of ethics. The trade association, which represents the journalists of B2B, said "ad links within editorial text should NOT be sold under any condition."
The ads disappeared from Ziff Davis' sites.
Sam Whitmore reported that Vizard told him that Ziff Davis was dropping the ads, but wouldn't issue a statement on the controversy.
And just when it seemed that this ugly incident was over, a reader of this blog sends me an email to tell me that the ads are back at Ziff Davis' PC Magazine (Take a look at this article for examples.)
tags: journalism, b2b, media, trade press, magazines, newsletters, business media, journalism ethics, advertising