By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Swimming across the line

How to draw the online boundary between news and advertising? At the New York Times this morning, you don’t. I just watched in horror as a couple of fish swam out of Oscar Peterson’s suit and into a nearby Westin ad.

Here’s the link, although it might not work — I’ve reloaded the page twice, and the Westin ad became a Gateway come-on and, now, a Chase promo. But good grief. News sites have to make money, and, as John Heilemann observes, the Times is doing a better job than most. There are some lines, though, that you just shouldn’t swim across.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    The worst gaffe I see in NYT’s web ads is the little bug in the upper right corner that says, “Skip This Ad.”Now I’m a news-side guy, but how can it help any of us to not-so-subtly imply that the ads are an annoyance that can be banished with a mouse click?A few days ago a supermarket checkout clerk commented to me that she used to like the paper I edit, but now “it has too many ads.” Given our ad ratio of about 55%, I can only wish she were correct — the kids need shoes [grin].But to reinforce that perception with every online ad seems to be a less than smart strategy. If the ads are inserted in an intrusive way on the NYT site (and the one you cite certainly is), then that should be fixed — by the web layout folks, not the readers and users.-dh

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