I’ve written in the past about the challenges that publications are going to face, as usage shifts to mobile. One of the trends we foresaw was that it would accelerate the shift for publications towards native advertising as a means of monetization. What we didn’t expect as having a significant impact was the advent of ad-blockers (everyone is to blame), especially mobile browsers that allow ad-blocking. The proliferation of native advertising – native content (made for advertiser content), text-ads and in-stream native content – is inevitable.
We’ve had text-ads in the past, with adequate disclosures, but we’re now opening up for native content as well. Our first Native ad, with this policy, is expected to go live in the coming week, so we are issuing this policy now.
Given that disclosure norms haven’t been established in India, we’re now announcing our norms, which are based on global best-practices – the FTC guidelines – and hoping that this will also serve as a guideline for those also doing native advertising. These guidelines are open to change, and we’re happy to take on board constructive feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need to reach me).
MediaNama’s Native Advertising policy (V 1.0, 9th July 2016)
Native Advertising is sponsored content produced for or by advertisers, that is shown along-with or along-side editorial content, in a way that it may appear similar to, or blend in, with editorial content.
1. At present, we do (or will do) two kinds of sponsorsed posts:
- Content produced by an associate of MediaNama: A MediaNama associate works with the brand to create the sponsored content.
- Content produced by the brand: The brand has to provide us the content to be published
2. Broad norms:
- Sponsored content will not be allowed to masquerade as editorial content.
- MediaNama’s editorial staff will not create sponsored content, under any circumstances. It will have to be created by a content team which does not work on editorial content. Our efforts will be to ensure the creation of sponsored content by an external vendor.
3. Native content and Text-Ads: Each sponsored content published on Medianama will carry clear and easily understandable disclosures so our readers are not misled. Our norms:
3.1 All the native ads posts will be tagged “Sponsored”, and the tag will appear above the post. No additional tags will be used.
3.2. Headlines of such posts will mention that it is sponsored, and any push on Social Media will also incorporate this disclosure.
3.3 MediaNama will disclose the post’s commercial nature if it gets pushed to social media, with the inclusion of the hashtag #ad.
3.5 Branded content will be tagged with the brands page on Facebook, in line with its branded content guidelines.
3.4 Every sponsored post will carry a declaration at the bottom stating the content is either produced by the brand or by MediaNama associate on behalf of the brand, and not by the editorial staff.
3.5 Disclosures provided by us will have to remain if our sponsored posts are re-published on any other website.
3.6 MediaNama will not publish more than 5 native posts a week.
3.7 MediaNama will maintain a list of published Native Ads on a separate page, for reference for readers, updated with reasonable frequency. This page will be linked to from the homepage and the Advertising page. MediaNama may prune the list over time, but the last 50 native ads have to be listed at all times.
3.8 MediaNama will maintain a disclosures page listing all brands whose native ads have appeared. This may be the page where it lists advertisers.
3.9 Each Native advertising post shall carry a link to these guidelines.
3.10 The user for Native Content will either be identified with the brand name, or as ‘Advertiser’.
3.11 These guidelines will be applicable to content promoting MediaNama services as well.
4. “Brought to you by” sponsorship: From time to time, MediaNama might cover editorial topics that may be sponsored by an advertiser. Samples: this and this. In these circumstances:
4.1 Editorial teams will not base coverage on the directions of the advertiser. The mandate and coverage will be independent of advertising.
4.2 Content, since it is produced by editorial, will not carry the tag ‘Sponsored’ or any disclosures within the post.
4.3 The content may carry a ‘Brought to you by’ or a line with similar content at any part of the post, though it needs to be highlighted as distinct from editorial content. This may be no more than 40 words, and may include a small logo. An image to similar effect may also be used.
4.4. The footer may carry text or an image related to the sponsor. This text, no more than 100 words, will not be created by the editorial team, and will be distinct from the editorial content.
5. Sponsored posts guidelines for advertisers
5.1 A clear disclosure should be placed on an infographic produced by the brand for the sponsored post. It should be noticeable and easily understood by the reader. In case a disclosure is not incorporated into the image, MediaNama will provide a text disclosure below the image or the infographic.
5.2 A disclosure has to be delivered to the readers in the beginning in case of videos or any interactive content. The message should be easily noticeable, and should be displayed/played long enough so viewers can understand. In case a disclosure is not incorporated into the image, MediaNama will provide a text disclosure below the image or the infographic.
5.3 All links in the post will carry the no-follow tag, and if excluded by the advertiser, will be added by MediaNama.
We reserve the right
- To reject any sponsored content that does not conform to our guidelines or if the disclosures are ambiguous or are not easily noticeable or understandable.
- To reject any sponsored content even if it conforms to our guidelines. No reasons may be given for the rejection.
- To delete the sponsored content at any given time. In case it is deleted within 30 days of publishing, money will be returned to the advertiser, or other inventory given in lieu.
- MediaNama (Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd.) cannot take responsibility or liability if our sponsored posts are re-published on other websites without adequate disclosures.
Note: Changes in policy will not be applicable retrospectively, unless necessary. Changes in policy will be documented on the policy page, with reasons, if needed.