Sunday evening on Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver devoted a segment to explaining native advertising, a tactic of online media companies (including all Gawker Media properties*) that makes it harder to differentiate sponsored content from reported articles.
As Oliver points out, native advertising has its pros and cons. On one hand, an effective news organization cannot be run for free and sponsors help keep the lights on and employees paid. On the other, quietly sneaking in sponsored content can destroy trust with readers and, in worst case scenarios, be entirely unethical.
Not all native advertising is bad. Oliver demonstrates that some advertisers have funded some pretty serious and decent reporting, but such cases are rare.
"It's like hearing the one Katy Perry song that you like. You think, 'Sure, this is the best possible iteration of Katy Perry, but it still feels wrong to be listening to this,'" Oliver compared, before going on to reveal his (not-so) secret love for Katy Perry's "Roar."
Oh oh oh oh oh oh.
By the way, HBO paid me nothing to post this video. I wish they did.
*At Gawker Media, all of our sponsored posts are labeled as "Sponsored" at the top.