17
Sep

ISVs May Be Able to Use Community Sites of Prominent Analysts to Publish Promotional Content at Little or No Charge

Visitors to IDG Connect may not be aware the site is a community site. We weren’t aware of the purpose of the site and thought we could find some content from IDG analysts on it. But what we found were a set of articles produced by members of the IDG Connect community (we aren’t sure whether these firms buy services from IDG, or are invited to post for some other reason).

By community site we are referring to web sites with content produced by at least some of the members of the site, rather than by the publisher of the site. Community sites also include a lot of social media features, including an option for members to post comments (which will be moderated prior to posting), and a Twitter feed.

We think IDG would do better to include a prominent disclosure on the site about the actual source of the editorial content posted on the site. We visited the site to read an article, Leverage Big Data to Boost Your Organisation’s Sales Effectiveness, written by Ed Farquhar. Only after finishing reading this article did we note a lack of any biographical information about the author. When we Googled “Ed Farquhar” we found out he is employed by Pros, Inc., which happens to be an ISV with a cloud offer precisely matching the technology described in the article.

The article mentions the importance of unstructured data as a component of the information required for Business Intelligence (BI) applications to process to provide sales teams with useful knowledge for pricing and pursuing high probability prospects. But the lack of detail about what’s special about unstructured data, and the now familiar positing of the whole process as something clearly differentiated from the type of analysis done in the past via relational databases, but without any meaningful detail, failed to convince us.

We couldn’t help thinking the whole piece was a kind of informercial/advertorial.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

11
Sep

Boundaries Between Editorial and Advertorial Online Content Continue to Blur

According to an article written by William Lauder, and published on the online Wall Street Journal website on Sunday, August 25, 2013, Marketers Seek Extra Edge to Go Viral, “More marketers are starting to buy space on websites for their so-called “sponsored content” – brand ads disguised as stories and blogs – using the same kind of automated trading platforms and other ad technology typically used for display ads.” (quoted from Mr. Lauder’s article). The information Mr. Lauder presents makes sense to us. Although the examples he cites are all about tangible products, we’ve noted quite a bit of content clearly assembled to promote intangible products and services, as well.

The concern, of course, is the extent to which this type of editorial content is accepted by readers as legitimate expository prose, rather than what it actually is — meaning skillfully assembled, high powered advertising copy. We think this concern is actually a big deal. If the public is fed this type of content, in other words duped, can we be confident correct decisions will be made about all sorts of topics, from the mundane activities depicted in Mr. Lauder’s article, all the way up to some very big decisions (for example, whether or not it makes sense to vote for a particular candidate, or spend a considerable amount of money on a primary residence).

Any/all examples of this kind of promotional content need to be clearly labeled as such, or else we will cross the line into a dangerous territory where, ultimately, editorial content, itself, will eventually lose any credibility whatsoever when the public, inevitably, wakes up to the ruse.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved