I am pleased to report that the LJWorld.com website has pulled the misleading ads I have blogged about this past week.
I’ve added the ad on the left side of this page for you to see.
“We agree that this ad is misleading and unacceptable, and it has been removed from our site,” Edwin Rothrock, director of marketing strategies for The World Company said in a reply today.
The ad had appeared on the front page and other sections of the LJWorld.com website and promoted an investigative story by a reporter named Shannon Fitzgerald.
Click on the ad link and it took you to a story about a local mother named Jessica Holcomb who supposedly turned $97 into $6,795. “We investigated and found a job that can earn you $77 hour from home,” says the photo caption for the ad.
The photo didn’t say it was an advertisement. It gave readers the impression that it was an investigative report produced by a journalist.
The ad is actually for a company called Profit System Online.
The company markets a so-called “Internet Income System” that the ad claims made one local mom $6,795 a month while working 10-13 hours a week from home. When you got to the bottom of the fake investigative story you found the small print from Profit System Online.
IMPORTANT CONSUMER DISCLOSURE
We are not affiliated in any way with any news organization. This is an advertisement for Profit System Online.
The small print goes on to say that the website is…
“based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this advertisement, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story. This advertisement, and the results mentioned on this advertisement, although achievable for some, are not to be construed as the results that you may achieve if you purchase the Profit System Online.”
Last week, I spoke by phone with Whitney Mathews, online editor at LJWorld.com. She explained that LJWorld.com buys into an ad network where the online ads originate. “What you’re looking at is something that’s becoming a lot more common in advertising,” explained Ms. Mathews.
A follow-up phone call to Tamara Hand in the LJWorld.com advertising department went unanswered until today when I received another reply from Jonathan Kealing, assistant director of media strategy for The World Company. Kealing explained that Ms. Hand had been on vacation. He added:
“Thanks for bringing this ad to our attention. It’s a terrible ad that belongs no where on the Internet — at least not on what we like to think is a reputable news source. As I think you’ve learned via Twitter already, and as I can confirm, we’ve blocked that ad.”
Kealing kindly explained that the ad was provided by an advertising network the LJWorld.com participates in so it can generate revenue for its online operation.
The network doesn’t allow LJWorld.com to prescreen ads. LJWorld.com can block ads though from the network that violate its advertising standards.
“This one clearly does,” said Kealing. “Unfortunately, those ad networks help pay the bills so we’re loathe to entirely abandon them while we work to build up our own online local advertising. In time, we hope to not use an advertising network over which we have so little control.”
The World Company’s Rothrock added:
” The revenue from networks such as these are used by many, if not most, news sites to help keep the doors open and pay the salaries of our outstanding journalists here at the Lawrence Journal World… The downside is that occasionally, questionable ads slip into the stream. When that happens, we can (and do) go in and suppress those ads.”
Kudos to The World Company for pulling the misleading advertising. The media company reacted responsibly in the interests of its readers when it pulled the deceptive ad today.
I do wonder- Who at LJWorld.com is in charge of screening their website for deceptive / offensive advertising?
The fake ad appeared on the front page section of LJWorld.com. It ran for at least a week after I first noticed it. If LJWorld.com employees were more vigilant in this regard it would better serve the best interests of readers and the website’s own reputation.