Washington Post’s ‘Sponsored Views’ will let advertisers respond to opinion pieces

A new advertising feature called “Sponsored Views” will allow “organizations to post commentary related to or in response to content from The Washington Post’s Opinion section,” the Post says in a press release. The ads can be up to 600 characters long. Here’s an example of one of the ads, running below an editorial calling for new legislation to fight cybercrime.

“Legislation should recognize private-public sector cyber threats collaboration as the most effective way to provide cybersecurity,” replies CTIA – The Wireless Association. “Too prescriptive an approach can actually limit solutions and hurt security.”

Washington Post President and General Manager Steve Hills says the ads’ placement “enables participants to provide their perspectives with unparalleled contextual relevance, while still keeping the lines between news and sponsored messages crystal clear.” The Post will limit ‘Sponsored Views’ to three per article, and advertisers must agree to “not make any erroneous factual assertions” in them. “The Post reserves the right to require substantiation for any factual assertions within a Sponsored View,” the paper says.

A screenshot of an editorial with a “Sponsored View” at the bottom

The Washington Post announced a sponsored-content initiative called “BrandConnect” this past March; CTIA was an inaugural sponsor then, too. The Post’s metered paywall is scheduled to debut Wednesday.

Here’s the release:

WASHINGTON—June 12, 2013—The Washington Post today announces “Sponsored Views,” a new online advertising feature that invites organizations to post commentary related to or in response to content from The Washington Post’s Opinion section. When sold, Sponsored Views appear at the bottom of an online column from The Post’s Editorial/Op-Ed pages found at www.washingtonpost.com/opinion.The product offers an opportunity for advocacy, communications and government affairs professionals to place their message in front of key constituents.

“Sponsored Views’ premium placement enables participants to provide their perspectives with unparalleled contextual relevance, while still keeping the lines between news and sponsored messages crystal clear,” said Steve Hills, President and General Manager of The Washington Post. “This unique advertising initiative is yet another example of our business team’s dedication to create innovative products for advertisers,” Hills said.

Upon registration, Sponsored View participants will be able to submit up to 600 characters per advertisement. All Sponsored View submissions are subject to review and must adhere to the Sponsored View submission guidelines before they are posted online.

Examples of Sponsored Views from charter sponsors are available here:
· CTIA-The Wireless Association on a cybersecurity editorial
· Natural Resources Defense Council on an editorial about carbon tax
· Cato Institute and Center for American Progress on an editorial about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Sponsored Views will be clearly labeled as advertising. The product has been developed by the New Ventures team at The Post. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the product.

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  • Fred Donaldson

    All the news you can buy!

  • Pezdrake

    Outright bribery to get a letter to the editor published? I guess that’s sort of innovative.

  • Ted Gup

    I remember back when we worried about the “slippery slope.” Now we are in a headlong slide and we call it “innovative.” I thought that balanced reporting was supposed to obviate the need for such things as this. Frankly, as a former Postie it breaks my heart. Please don’t desecrate the legacy…

  • buckguy

    Could the Post make itself even more irrelevant?

  • JTFloore

    so for the wp, paid ads are now replacing free letters-to-the-editor?