Tuesday, October 11, 2005

LA Times Crosses Line Between Editorial and Ads!


Clicked on LA TIMES website and saw a story headed 'DOES BASEBALL HAVE A NEW SCANDAL TO WORRY ABOUT?' - with a film-noirish photo of two baseball players in a locker room. MORE STORY was one link - the other was VIDEO.

I hit the MORE STORY link and... found this breaking 'story' was an ad for... milk. And even then, it was hard to tell for certain until one clinked one more link.

I then went back to the front page to see that in very tiny letters, this was labeled as an.. advertisement. Now this ad is on the middle box of the right hand side of the page and at least a half-dozen other ads rotate in that spot and none of them can be mistaken for anything other than an ad. This one, however, is designed to look exactly like a news story with no clue within it that it is an ad. And the layout is designed to take your eye straight to the links and away from the tiny advertisement banner on top of the box.

The clear intent is to defraud. And the Times gets paid every time one of us clicks on the ad thinking it is a news story.

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