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Report: Consumers OK With Commerce Ads on News Sites

A new survey shows that most consumers do not question the editorial integrity of online news providers that engage in commerce initiatives.

The study, from Jupiter Communications, found that more than 80 percent of U.S. online consumers trust online news as much as they trust newspapers, broadcast television, and cable news outlets, and an additional 7 percent view online news as more reliable.

The report, released to Jupiter's Strategic Planning Services (SPS) clients, was based on a survey of more than 2,200 online consumers.

The study found for example, that consumers can accept that a news site's review of a new CD is followed by a button allowing online visitors to purchase that CD via a third-party e-commerce vendor.

In fact, nearly 70 percent of online news consumers polled said they are unconcerned about the objectivity of news sources that also advertise and sell goods online.

"Due to the ease of self-publishing and distribution, there is a perception that the Web has a credibility problem," said Mark Mooradian, group director of Jupiter's Consumer Content Strategies. "However, consumers indicate that they both trust the online news sources and don't object to the commerce-driven additions that come along with it."

The report indicates that consumers' trust and acceptance of these issues will help news publishers generate a second revenue stream to help support their growing Internet businesses. Jupiter said it "encourages news providers to be more aggressive in developing contextual commerce links to corresponding editorial content."

That view, of course, would go against the grain of the traditional separation of news and advertising in traditional news operations, and no doubt will provoke some debate among the old-liners.

The new study will help kick-off the Jupiter Digital News Forum, a two-day interactive conference focused on the news industry, scheduled for December 8-9 in Atlanta, GA.