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Native Ads: Ethics of Native Advertising

Native advertising attempts to match the message or form of the site or platform on which it is carried. For instance, advertisers may write articles to promote their goods or services but utilize the same functions of articles created by the editorial staff. The author of this essay holds that it is unethical for advertisers to use native ads as they are contrary to society’s morals and standards. Further, the author is of the view that the reader should be always protected concerning what they consume.

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Native ads are unethical even when they are within new sources such as the New York Times or Atlantic. It is important to note that the primary technique of this type of marketing is deception. It tries to disguise itself as the content that is unbiased even though it promotes a misleading view of the value and attributes of the goods and services on which it focuses. Many apologists for this form of advertising have always argued that it is harmless as long as it entertains and informs the audience (Carlson, p. 849). When audiences realize that they were deceived into consuming misleading information or advertisement, they lose trust concerning the publication. Advertisers around the world know that if they bypass an individual’s rational decision-making process, then they can easily persuade his or her thinking and preferences concerning a product. The initial step is to deceive people into thinking that the ads do not market goods and services; rather, they seek to entertain and inform. However, nothing could be further from the truth; many individuals who run native ads try as much as they can to conceal what they do (Carlson, p. 850). In this context, it is evident that the primary idea that drives native ads is against the honesty of relationships, opinions, and identity. Although marketing regulations state that paid advertisements should be clearly labeled, media curators employ different labels to identify their sponsored content (Carlson, p. 854).

It is not right to assume that audiences of ads always know the objectives of the information they consume. Sponsored ad writers do not reveal that they are professional content creators who are paid to write blogs that champion particular opinions; therefore, there is a troubling issue of integrity (Carlson, p. 849). Persons develop trust in the media publications they consume regularly, and they assume that the same level of integrity will be maintained. Some media publications have maintained large audiences because there is an assumption that their contents are objective and truthful. This assumption has only been shelved in the case of editorials, but which should also not be characterized by conflicts of interest (Carlson, p. 858). There is a strong association between the extent to which a media firm is respected and how problematic native ads could be. Studies have shown that highly-respected publications are less affected by native ads in comparison to those that are less trusted by their audiences (Carlson, p. 856).

In conclusion, it is apparent that advertisers disguise the content of native ads because they focus on achieving the objectives of marketing the goods and services of their sponsors. Since these ads are concealed on the platforms where they are running, measures should be developed and executed to protect consumers. It is unethical to assume that audiences are responsible for comprehending on their own and expect them to make independent decisions for themselves concerning the information to consume.

Work Cited

Carlson, Matt. “When news sites go native: Redefining the advertising–editorial divide in response to native advertising.” Journalism, vol. 16, no. 7, 2015, pp. 849-865.

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