There is controversy brewing amidst the fascination by news sites for “sponsored content”, aka, native advertising. Journalists are discussing the ethicality of posting advertisements that look like editorials. Will it be potentially destructive to have people not able to distinguish between ads and articles? Is it unethical to have these blended into content?
Some believe it could be potentially harmful to the news ecology because it may cause people to believe in ideas that are being formed by sponsors. There is no way to be completely certain where the future of native advertising resides, but we can be sure things are constantly changing and revolving.Sites like The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and the Buzzfeed are making use of native advertising. For some it is working to bring in revenues, but on some other sites it is not working.
Readers are beginning to look out for sponsored content and learning to avoid then. There was a posting by SONY Playstation employees on Buzzfeed, but it did but do too well. There were not enough shares or likes for it to become popular in the virtual world. It is hard to be sure of what might become viral. People tend to like and share the least serious of things, like cat videos, dumb songs, and meems. It would be hard to incorporate advertisements and make readers take then seriously. They may fizzle and die out on the Internet.