Intel “Delay” Campaign Will Be Controversial

You can expect a fair amount of discussion on the ad lists about Intel’s campaign, which reportedly has sites that display its ads load more slowly for all but those users with the latest Intel Pentium II chip computers.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, Intel persuaded sites like CNN, Ziff-Davis and others to add technical features that delay the loading.

Participating sites are being asked by Intel to run a notice on their site that says, “Content on this page benefits from the performance of the Intel Pentium II Processor.” (We checked both sites as well as zdnet.com yesterday and found no such notices.)

According to Adam Boettiger, moderator of the Internet Advertising Discussion List list, PC World’s editorial director, Philip Lemmons, has issued a strong statement of opposition, stating that PC World which owns over 200 sites, wants no part of it. “It’s like requiring TV producers to have programming that only looks good on a 35-inch TV set,” Lemmons was quoted as saying.

Intel reportedly has an advertising program that reimburses computer companies 50% of their paid advertising costs for placing advertising, and is offering an additional 25% reimbursement for computer companies that advertise on these “optimized” sites.

Boettiger said he expects a backlash, adding that the move could affect the advertising industry as technical and computer product companies make up a huge portion of annual ad spending on the Web. With Intel now offering a reimbursement incentive of 75% to computer companies that advertise on these “optimized” sites, a good portion of advertising dollars will be taken out of the hands of non-optimized sites.

He also raised the question of whether optimized sites are compromising their editorial integrity for money.

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