PaidContent has an interesting interview with PBS.org Senior VP, PBS Interactive and Education Cindy Johanson regarding the site's deployment in January of Google AdSense ads. For one thing, PBS plans to enable sponsored links on "certain content sites" in coming weeks and months as a means of generating revenue. It also wants to expand sponsorship opportunities.
The AdSense ads are running only on top-level aggregation/index pages, such as its Life and Culture section. From the looks of the ads, though, the sponsored links don't seem to be especially targeted. Today, the Life and Culture index page links to Tickle.com's ubiquitous personality quiz, AzHomeBiz.com's call for at-home teachers, and a Chatterbean quiz about "what type of mom you really are." I'm not sure how this relates contextually to Cory Booker's Mayoral race in Newark, an aspiring playwright or people's worship congregations (the stories featured on the page)
Johanson stated, "...as the lines blur between broadcast and the Internet, PBS has been very careful about when and how we introduce and implement revenue-generating initiatives such as sponsored links. We are approaching this in a way so as not to conflict with PBS’ non-commercial nature or jeopardize the trust that so many users associate with PBS and our member stations across many platforms."
Evidently only a handful of users have contacted them with questions or concerns.
PBS is measuring changes in user traffic to sponsored sites and pages, CTR, user feedback and financial return.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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