Sponsored links in health content expanding


Healthline Navigator, a product that places sponsored links within editorial health content, is rolling out on sites that include Yahoo Health, AOL Health, Ask.com and Everyday Health, according to MediaPost Communications.

You might remember that just a couple of weeks ago, AHCJ member Mary Knudson sparked discussion about sponsored links in editorial content after she quit a new blogging post with U.S. News & World Reports. Healthline Navigator is the product U.S. News used to generate those sponsored links.

The article, written by Mark Walsh, explains some background on how the ads work and how successful they appear to be, all information that health journalists should be aware of. Healthline claims the ads have a higher click-through rate than traditional banner ads. If that’s true, journalists may face Knudson’s dilemma more frequently.

Walsh says that such in-text ads have been “controversial for blurring the distinction between content and advertising and simply being overly intrusive and annoying” but also reports on recent scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration.

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Pia Christensen