Computer Weekly Online – now you can sponsor phrases in editorial?

Link: BI software market set for steady growth.

The above story on Computer Weekly’s website piqued my interest – not just because we have a major client in the BI arena – but for the fact that I noticed that the phrase "business intelligence" in the editorial was in fact tagged with a sponsored link for an Oracle ad.

This is a curious development – and further shows how the lines are blurring between editorial and advertising. I don’t know how this actually works, but presumably the commercial side of Computer Weekly must have some prior knowledge of what phrases are likely to appear in the editorial in order to offer them for sponsorship. I guess it is conceivable that Oracle simply want to sponsor the phrase "business intelligence" and will not see which articles their sponsorship will appear in beforehand. But if they are paying for this as a service, it raises the thorny issue of how they get to choose which phrases and which articles they  sponsor.

Imagine they are told there is a piece about a major competitor due to be published that talks about business intelligence? Will Oracle be told the content beforehand to allow them to decide whether or not to sponsor?

I wonder what CW readers will make of this – will they like sponsorship and advertising encroaching this far into editorial?

I’d be interested to know what people’s views on this kind of thing are.


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