BoSacks Speaks Out: Need a Native-Ad Rock Star? Find a Former Forbes Exec

By Bob Sacks on December 07, 2013
BoSacks Speaks Out: I must admit that I was rather appalled when I read that integrity between reader and publisher is an archaic business practice and that to be truly modern and successful publishers have to be duplicitous with their advertising.  As old fashioned as it is, I will continue to stand for transparency and honesty in all things including business.
 
 Here is what especially peaked my interest:
 

"Protestations aside, native advertising is the rage -- and storied media institutions like The New York Times and The Washington Post are joining in.

  

"To captain those efforts, both papers sought execs with a Forbes pedigree. Kevin Gentzel, the Post's chief revenue officer, and Meredith Kopit Levien, exec-VP advertising at the Times, learned from Forbes Media's chief product officer, Lewis D'Vorkin, an outspoken proponent and pioneer of native ads.

 
"These alumni are the first to actually chip away and transform and begin to modernize the culture, model and conversation," said Robin Steinberg, exec VP-and director of publishing investment and activation at MediaVest."  
 
I ask you all, am I an old dinosaur trying to hold onto the missing esteem of a once somewhat noble enterprise? Is there something wrong with advertising that it can't actually be called advertising, but needs to be hidden behind the "native" sow's ear? 
 
It is the above quote from an investment banker about these alumni that has me up in arms. My interpretation is that she is chipping away at the morality of our publishing culture. That we might actually chose an honest business model instead of hacking away at our culture is apparently not understood by some investment bankers. 
 
Here is my bottom line on this subject -- if after this exploratory exercise in quick profiteering all we become is a platform for native advertising, then we ain't got nothing of value nor of much longevity. 
 

The great bard got it right, when he said something like an ad by any other name is still an ad. While I'm in a paraphrasing mode, Benjamin Franklin sort of said that, those who are willing to sacrifice their integrity for profit will in the end have neither.


By Bob Sacks| December 07, 2013
Categories:  Print|Industry News

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