Intel Says New Ad Policy Not Aimed at Editorial Control

Intel Corp. says its new “optimization” ad reimbursement policy, which has riled a number of Web site operators and the American Society of Magazine Editors, is not designed to control editorial operations.

Intel is offering 50% reimbursement plus an additional 25% if a PC makers’ ads are placed on Web sites that meet the company’s definition of “optimized content,” which means it loads faster with a Pentium II chip. Such sites carry a text message noting the improved performance.

Intel views the estimated $100 million co-op program as important to “showcase compelling information or visuals,” Jami Dover, an Intel vice president, told Mediaweek. “The intent is not at all to control or affect the editorial space.” Advertisers will continue to receive a 50% reimbursement for Web sites that do not participate, she was quoted as saying.

A number of Web publishers view the move as a threat to their editorial integrity, blurring lines between editorial and advertising content.

“They are asking for full discretion of the site, which would affect performance, as well as questions of taste,” said Marlene Kahan, ASME executive director. “We won’t let it rest.”

Not all editors are opposed, however. “It doesn’t interfere with the presentation of our editorial, news or reviews,” Dan Farber, editor in chief of ZDNet, one of the sites taking part in the program, was quoted as saying.

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