Friday, June 24, 2011

Vibrant, Gannett, and a Reader’s Complaint

A regular reader of, and of The Data Port, forwarded us the following letter sent to Editor Mark Evans:

I often read blog on the Tucson Citizen website and have found the use of what appears at first to be links to further knowledge are advertisements of unrelated "stuff". One recognizes the income that might flow from such techniques, but it sure interferes with the manner in which people will desire to use your source for obtaining knowledge which is so generally and readily available elsewhere without such distractions. I doubt I'm the first one to take note of this technique and likely not the first to voice a negative feeling gained by the mis-use of reader's time and attentions. Just count me as one more reader who thinks this is a poor choice for gathering advertising dollars where many better choices exist in harmony with Internet content on a very broad basis.

Just to remind everyone, here’s a quote from the letter Vibrant sent me in response to my complaint about their using my copy for advertising for which I’m not paid.

Can you disable these ads?

Vibrant In-Text Ads are found on over 3,500 premium websites. Some of these websites choose to offer a disable switch. You can find this by going to the website and moving your mouse over a double-underlined word or phrase. Once you see the Vibrant In-Text Ad unit, click on the "?" in the upper right corner. If the website has chosen to offer the disable feature it will be found on this page

I clicked. No disable feature was offered by Gannett.

I have no objection to advertising copy (I’ve written it for pay) and I don’t object to being paid for what I write, which is not the case here at

But imagine you’re at the flicks watching a jungle thriller and the hero is under attack by army ants. Suddenly the action stops and a pitchman appears on screen with a fifteen second ad for “Ants-Be-Gone” inserted there by Vibrant In-Film Advertising. How would the producers of the movie feel about that? Really.

As the reader quoted above indicates this in-text advertising nonsense does violence to all the advantages of web 2.0

Cross-posted from

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