Inline Contextual Advertising

You’ve seen it before… it’s where select keywords within an article (some call it “in-text” advertising) will be hotlinked to contextually relevant advertising. The companies that have approached us so far includes Kontera’s ContentLink, VibrantMedia’s IntelliTXT, and AdBrite.

You may also recall that we banned Publishers from including this form of media advertising because it falsely implies that the author endorses the link. See section 1.n. in the Publisher TOS.

Here is what it would look like if it was in-text within an article:

(Click For Bigger Image)

My opinion today continues to be that this form of advertising on is not appropriate.

Perhaps the best type of website for *inline or in-text* contextually relevant ads are FORUMS.

What about In-Text Advertising in Blogs?

Very well known bloggers have included this type of advertising, but I’m not sure it builds reader trust.

Another type of in-text ads is linking up contextually-relevant words to affiliate program links, such as what Michel Fortin does with his blog. (read his EzineArticles here) He’s pioneering here, so you’ve got to give him credit for trying something new. I’m still not sure it’s the right thing to do because it may confuse a newbie reader that isn’t sure whether he’s endorsing the link or if he’s trying to add value to his blog entries by giving an active link to something relevant. The line is blurred.

Curious: How do you feel about in-text or in-line contextualy advertising?


Nancy P Redford writes:

I’d have to agree with you here. I personally find these types of ads confusing with some blogs.

I prefer not to use them on my main blogs as I find a lot of the ads do not tie in with my post. When this occurs they can be more of a nuisance than value.

It would be interesting to hear from people who have been using them for a while. Maybe they are more suited to news or specific niche blog site.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 6:24 AM


Janice Small writes:

I have stopped using any article directories or forums that use my words as links to adverts for goodness knows what. Quite often in my weight loss niche it’s for diet pills and the like which I don’t want to be linked with in any way.

I think it’s a complete breach of trust and abuse of the content which writers provide.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 6:54 AM


Michael Russell writes:

I consider them intrusive and misleading, in that I consider a hyperlink in an article or blog to be for more information on the topic discussed – not an ad.

Ads should also be differentiated and labeled as ads – this is simple respect for your readers.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 6:57 AM



If I am reading some text with this kind of advetising, be it newsletter, forum, or blog. My inclination is to stop reading it. Not just the current entry, but to stop reading things from that writer or source.

It is blatant advertising, it feels manipulative, and I am not going to give my time or my money over to this tactic.
Counseling & Life Coaching

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 7:40 AM


Ed Howes writes:

It seems to me that during the last half century, customers became consumers when advertising became the only reason to publish or broadcast. In print you get it with newspapers and magazines and books were a refuge from being sold something each time you turned a page. Build two identical article directories. One promoting inline links and one forbidding them. Which directory will be more popular with readers in two years?

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 7:42 AM


Pamela Beers writes:

There are a couple of issues here for me:

1. I find these ads to be intrusive, a waste of my time, and a total turn-off. I click off a website that uses them.

2. Kontera and Vibrant have no page rank in the search engines, Ad Brite has a page rank of 8/10

For me, the first two aren’t even a viable resource. The last one I would consider, if I were in the market for that type of service.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 8:28 AM


Ed Howes writes:

Personal Link Report: I just returned from the directory where I discovered these inline links in my articles. Of 10 articles I reviewed, six had two or more links as follows: 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6. Each was identified by a cursor pass over drop down, so a reader can choose whether it is relevant to her without a click through.

I clicked through six links on one article and found just one or two relevant to the article. One of those would have supplied some good info for a subsequent article I wrote and many a reader might bookmark it. Hence, some links may provide extra value to a reader who can tolerate them. In other words, the practice is not without some socially redeeming value. A disciplined reader could pass all the links as I usually do, but a compulsive reader may never finish the article. I think this trend is temporary. Readers will eventually ignore the links and perhaps the sites that use them. For now, there is money to be made.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 9:52 AM




Actually, I show PR5 for Kontera (who brokers for Overture/Yahoo) and PR6 for VibrantMedia.


Most publishers can specify how intrusive the in-text inline ads will be.

I like that most of the inline contextual ad providers either use a double under line or other way to further deliniate that a link is an ad and not an author given active link.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 10:29 AM


Edward Weiss writes:

It’s amazing what you can get away with on the internet. Contextural ads are, logically speaking, a great way to get readers to click. The question is, who owns the rights to the content?

If it’s my content, I really don’t want readers clicking away. I want them to read my article and then click on MY link. I don’t want them clicking and making publishers money.

Bottom line – if it’s my article, don’t do it!

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 12:21 PM


Ed Howes writes:

It certainly appears on this blog post, the ethicists vastly outweigh the commercists. This might be a good omen. :-)

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 12:42 PM


Ed Howes writes:

Because I am leaning with the ethicists in this matter I considered Emailing the operator of the offending directory and having him delete the article I spent two days submitting. Then I thought since this is a fresh directory, I will wait until I have proven my articles are valuable assets and then have them deleted. In this time the operator mat receive feedback not unlike this blog post and might repent. I will send an Email saying why I do not like the practice, in the event no one else does.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 12:57 PM


Pamela Beers writes:

Chris, interesting how page ranks vary. Makes me wonder if any of this stuff is viable.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 2:34 PM


Jennifer Thieme writes:

“Curious: How do you feel about in-text or in-line contextualy advertising?”

I don’t like it. It seems very shortsighted on the part of the person embedding the link.

It’s wrong for a publisher to do this without the author’s permission, because it gives the impression that the author was the one who did it.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 5:28 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

From only a personal perspective they scare me, because I have no idea where the link is going to and it could be going to a website that automatically loads on Spyware or Adware to your computer. So when I see these, I will scan the article if interesting and back out of the website all together or even close the browser and start over. Many very well known Websites in the “public science realm” do this and I no longer visit those sites. It would seem if it tends to detract readership then it also will lesson a website’s use and therefore over all hurt the site, even though occassionally someone will click on the highlighted words link. Originally some websites used this to go to a definition of a word or one could click on the word to go to a listing of all the articles on the subject, but now most go to affiliate websites for Ads, that is unfortunate. While on Wikipedia those highlighted words go to more depth in the subject of that word. So, it can be confusing and a way of trickery of the new users understanding. I find that troubling. This is an interesting subject however.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 5:39 PM


Ed Howes writes:

Testing 1,2,3.

I requested the immediate deletion of my 30 articles at the offending directory. We will see how long compliance requires or if I am asked why. I will report on this outcome here.

Comment provided June 18, 2006 at 6:05 PM


Jeanette Fisher writes:

I agree with Lance, the link misleads readers who think the link provides more relevant information.

My articles on the environment and Love Canal had the words “Love Canal” linked to adult sites. It was hard for me to get my articles deleted. Finally, I acted like I wanted to post more articles so I could get the password to my own “author account.” Then, I hit the delete key.

I hope all authors monitor their articles and set high standards.

Off topic–What do you think about article translations? I don’t know if the articles get translated right–the translation could embarrass me. And what good do those links do? If people can’t read English, they won’t buy my books.

Comment provided June 23, 2006 at 9:57 AM


Ed Howes writes:

It took a couple days, but I had all 30 of my articles on a directory deleted without any problem or question. I think the operator reads this blog though and saw it coming.

Comment provided June 23, 2006 at 1:19 PM


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