by Abram Sauer

Remember when you first heard the words “advertorial,” the practice of mixing up editorial content with advertisements? To barrow from other advertising for this editorial, we’ve come a long way, baby.

The idea that we’re living in a world where editorial content is walled off from the influence of advertising has long been gone. If you think that magazines, especially those in the fashion and beauty sector, have any kind of editorial independence anymore, well, I have a full-page spread in the Times to sell you. Usually-reserved Project Runway wasn’t so much in a recent editorial he wrote for OK! Magazine where he recommended Liz Claiborne jeans. Timmy just so, or maybe not so just, happens to be chief creative officer at, yep, Claiborne. And while that was just conflict of interest, actual cash-for-column inches is taking place everywhere.

But now the blogs are in the game big time. And it’s no surprise that the Nick Denton Gawker empire is taking the game to a whole new level of effectiveness. Take a look at the two screenshots below, both from the influential Gawker tech blog, Gizmodo, and see if you can spot the content and the paid content.

One’s a paid advertisement. But of course you knew that right because it’s labeled, you know, advertisement. It’s technically your fault if you took that “recommendation” and glowing “product review,” you know, at its word, even if, you know, it read exactly like a normal Gizmodo post.

So, is this just a case of blog publishing just going where it should be expected by the market or the sign of the apocalypse (or at least of worse to come)?