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I'm creating a feed that will show different subjects with Masonry. These "boxes" will be clickable and link to external websites. Now some of the "boxes" in Masonry will eventually be ads.

I read somewhere that if you're showing ads on your website, you MUST display something like

 ----------         ----------         ----------  
 |        |         |        |         |        |
 |  Box   |         |  Box   |         |  Box   |
 |        |         |        |         |        |
 ----------         ----------         ----------
                      Advert

Is this true? Because I would prefer to keep the normal boxes and advert boxes the exact same so the user doesn't know that they're clicking on ads. Something like:

 ----------         ----------         ----------  
 |        |         |        |         |        |
 |  Box   |         |  Box   |         |  Box   |
 |        |         |        |         |        |
 ----------         ----------         ----------

I'm not trying to con anyone, the adverts will obviously have relevant information, but I'd prefer to keep the user oblivious to the fact they just clicked on an ad link.

share|improve this question
    
If you don't want to "con" anybody, why do you want people to be "oblivious" to the fact that they are clicking on advertisement? –  PatomaS Feb 27 at 13:07
    
Because I know a lot of people automatically see "ad" and avoid it at all costs. I for one almost never click on the yellow ads at the top of my search on Google –  Richard Muthwill Feb 27 at 13:38
2  
Why not change the word 'ad' to 'sponsored' or something similar then? –  zigojacko Feb 27 at 15:05
    
Perhaps, I'd just like to keep every box the exact same design :) –  Richard Muthwill Feb 27 at 15:34
1  
So... you never click yellow Google sponsored results, even though they're targeted and probably relevant. How would you feel about Google if they suddenly started hiding sponsored results in with the normal results? Because that's what you're talking about doing to your users. –  Digital Chris Feb 27 at 16:28

2 Answers 2

There is no legal requirement. However, it might be considered good ediquette if you do indicate Advertisement or Sponsored by to let your users know that this is leading to an external site and is not part of your site's content.

Depending on how you present the ads in relationship to your content, some users may view non-disclosures as false advertising, and get turned-off to using your site (i.e., bounce).

Additionally, since you may not be able to control which ads are displayed, this will likely result in some discontinuity between your site's content and these ads.

Also depending on the code used, a disclosure might help explain why the content is blocked by ad filters and blocking programs, which would otherwise not be understood.

All of these factors might actually hamper your site's performance/effectiveness, so it's likely wiser to add a disclosure, regardless of legalities.

share|improve this answer
    
Sorry if I made myself unclear. All of our links to go external web pages. If you're browsing the "music" area, you'll be shown lots of links to external pages about music. If a certain artist wants to have a sponsered link to thier site, the only difference will be that we get payed for that specific link :) –  Richard Muthwill Mar 6 at 10:33

May be in some countries you have to tell the user that something is advertisement, although, as far as I know, that is not a requirement, as long as you don't violate their privacy.

But, If I'm one of your users, I read one of your pages/feeds and click on something that happens to be advertisement and I didn't know it beforehand, I'll block you immediately.

I'm sure I'm not the only one, so may be you reconsider your strategy for something more honorable.

share|improve this answer
    
But the thing is we're not going to have adverts like "Buy Viagra" and all that rubbish, what we're going to do is link to relevant articles in blogs and news websites, so when they do click on an advert, the only thing that will be different is that the link will probable be something like: http://www.adnet.com/a.php?i=389789237428&a=23489723489 which will automatically redirect to the chosen article. By this I mean "featured" articles or something like that. –  Richard Muthwill Feb 27 at 13:37

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