Time-Warner Cable’s lamentable use of “Native Ads.”

Checking my RSS feeds this morning, I see a pretty blatant example of TWC News using native ads.

You may already have heard of the trend. It’s been happening in one form or another for well over a decade: media companies large and small inserting articles into their regular content that look identical to everything else they do, but which is actually some form of advertisement. It could be for a pill; it could be for a service. But the point is that it’s an “informercial” without even the veneer of honesty, appearing seamlessly along-side legitimate news content.

Sounds pretty horrible, right? Sounds like a betrayal of journalistic standards and duties, doesn’t it? Yes, if they cannot at least identify adverts as such, it absolutely is. And I can’t say for certain whether any other news corp in town is taking part in this trend, but this morning’s RSS feed makes clear that Time-Warner Cable News absolutely is. Consider the following two articles:

Late Bloomers Learn to Code as Mid-Career Boost

They’re popping up everywhere and serve as a sign that you can teach an old dog new tricks: computer coding schools designed to teach everyone from 9 to 99-years-old. Some are non-profit; others are traditional businesses, like one in the Big Apple.

At The New York Code & Design Academy, there was a recent graduation ceremony for adults showing off websites they’ve created after a 12-week intensive programming course.

Common Back Pain Ailments and Treatment

If you have back pain, you’re not alone.

“Back pain is very common. It affects 90 percent of adults at some point in life. It’s actually the second most common cause of lost work among all medical conditions in the United States after the common cold,” said Dr. Colin Harris.

Right off the bat, they sound advertisement-y, don’t they? Besides that, everything about the first article concerns NYC and the second article is written by a journo from Syracuse, including quotes from three different Syracuse doctors.

Who else is using native ads in Rochester? I haven’t seen an example quite this blatant, so I have not been paying attention.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.