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August 14, 2014 1:18 PM   Subscribe

AdDetector is a browser extension that spots articles with corporate sponsors. It puts a big banner on top of any article that may appear unbiased at first glance, but is actually paid for by an advertiser. For example, it turns the small, light-grey-on-white "Sponsored" on this deadspin article into a giant red banner. "Native advertising" previously.
posted by Zarkonnen (18 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, brilliant! I installed the Chrome extension and it seems to work; downright people-ready.
posted by Nelson at 1:25 PM on August 14, 2014


I can usually call a native advertising post by the absolutely dreadful copy and that comments are always closed. Seriously advertisers: if you want to succeed in duping anyone, hire someone who actually wants to be a writer.

Until I get your call, I'll keep plugging away as your friendly but quirky State Farm agent. I'm pretty low key.
posted by Think_Long at 1:26 PM on August 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Came here to say exactly that, Think_Long. My first reaction was: Huh? It's pretty obvious when an article is written by a corporate sponsor.
posted by Melismata at 1:31 PM on August 14, 2014


Okay, I'm sure I'm being daft, and I'm not a sports guy ... but what is that Deadspin article advertising, and who would want to sponsor it? The only companies it mentions are Lifetime and State Farm, but not in any sort of way that looks like they would benefit from being mentioned. What am I missing?
posted by jbickers at 1:32 PM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can usually call a native advertising post by the absolutely dreadful copy and that comments are always closed. Seriously advertisers: if you want to succeed in duping anyone, hire someone who actually wants to be a writer.

If you have to read the copy to know it's an ad, then the 'duping' worked: you read the ad.
posted by cjelli at 1:39 PM on August 14, 2014 [12 favorites]


jbickers: There's a State Farm ad campaign featuring Chris Paul and his "twin."
posted by gubo at 1:40 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ah, okay. Thanks.
posted by jbickers at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2014


My first reaction was: Huh? It's pretty obvious when an article is written by a corporate sponsor.

I don't disagree, but if the last "native advertising thread linked above is any indication, you're about to be surprised at how controversial that statement is.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:58 PM on August 14, 2014


If you have to read the copy to know it's an ad, then the 'duping' worked: you read the ad.

A good point.
posted by Think_Long at 2:06 PM on August 14, 2014


Something's missing..... Submitting a pull-request to add this:

window.AD_DETECTOR_RULES = {
  'metafilter.com': [
    {
      example: 'http://www.metafilter.com/17009/Pepsi-to-release-blue-soda',
      match: function() {
        var paidElts = document.body.innerText.match(/pepsi\.*blue/ig);
        if (paidElts.length > 1) {
          return true;
        }
      },
      getSponsor: function() {
        var sponsor = document.querySelector('.smallcopy a:first-child').innerText;
        return sponsor;
      }
    }
  ]
};
posted by schmod at 2:09 PM on August 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


Came here to say exactly that, Think_Long. My first reaction was: Huh? It's pretty obvious when an article is written by a corporate sponsor.

Jon Oliver on the subject, on Last Week Tonight.

1. It's one of those things. If you've been duped, you wouldn't know it. You might never know it.
2. To claim you'll never be fooled by ads masquerading as content, because it's all too amateurish, is laughably overconfident. We're in the phase right now of advertisers learning how to do it. It won't last forever.
3. Few places really care that much about calling attention to the SPONSORED notice. That Deadspin article linked, for instance, uses a faint, small-font notice by the byline. Someday you will overlook the notice just because you're in a hurry and have other things to do.
4. Just because you can detect it doesn't mean others will. Have some empathy for your fellow humans. Especially because someone can sway political opinion with a cunningly written native advertisement, even if it doesn't mention a candidate.
posted by JHarris at 3:26 PM on August 14, 2014 [12 favorites]


For those, like me, who are curious about how this works:

There's a list of per-domain rules, developed and curated by hand, which sniffs the HTML and JavaScript environment of the page and looks for characteristic signs. Often that sign is a tiny, downplayed "SPONSORED BY" tag, but sometimes it's something subtler, or even things that aren't visible at all without inspecting the page's source code.

So, this only works if someone has written an AdDetector rule for the specific site you're viewing, and that rule has been incorporated into the plugin.

Great idea, though—assuming that it's stable and works well, this will become part of my standard battery of anti-web-bullshit plugins.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:28 PM on August 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


Thanks JHarris - that John Oliver clip was great!
posted by sneebler at 4:41 PM on August 14, 2014


I just looked at the front page of Gawker after installing the extension to see if I could find an article that would set off the detector.

I didn't have to try hard: it marked the front page itself as an advertisement. Thank god it saved me from reading that garbage.
posted by thechameleon at 5:27 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a good thing.
posted by odinsdream at 6:04 PM on August 14, 2014


With so much media coverage over native advertising lately are we sure this isn't some sort of meta-native campaign for an ad agency?
posted by ijoshua at 6:39 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


With so much media coverage over native advertising lately are we sure this isn't some sort of meta-native campaign for an ad agency?

OMG PROMOTIONAL INCEPTION um no. Native advertising works best in the shadows, by presenting itself as something we don't expect. If everyone could tell that it's an ad, then why would people use it instead of normal advertising? And the coverage has been largely negative. You're suggesting that a native ad agency is promoting itself by trying to show everyone how atrocious native advertising is.

This is actually one of the few good ways to tell native advertising -- paid messages, no matter what form they takes, have a purpose, and that purpose cannot be negated no matter the form or content, or what's the point? An ad for Froot Loops isn't going to suggest you don't need breakfast.

~~~ RANTING CONTENT ~~~
Ultimately, I think native advertising is a weakness of our civilization, which exalts money above all else. When money is your highest good, above justice, above truth, above life, everything else tends to get priced. In such a system exceptions in the name of decency tend to get shaved as close as folks can get away with, if not publicly then secretly, and if not legally then illegally, as everyone competes against each other with what advantages they can find, to get a leg up on them.
posted by JHarris at 7:19 PM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


but jharris, making people think they're "in on it" is a key part in any confidence scheme. "I'll never fall for native advertising," says the user, "because I have this banner pop up whenever its a paid article!" Meanwhile, the banner-makers are raking in money by allowing web sites to whitelist certain articles.
posted by rebent at 8:11 AM on August 25, 2014


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