HuffPo Defends Sponsored Content

The Huffington Post has defended its growing use of advertorial content.

Greg Coleman (shown), the company’s president and chief revenue officer, appearing at AdweekMedia’s Social Media Strategies conference in New York yesterday, said this sponsor-created content — by companies like IBM, GE and Starwood — was clearly distinguishable from HuffoPo’s own editorial.

At the same time, Coleman explained that HuffPo promoted this sponsored content through its extensive social network broadcasting and sharing system and through its SEO techniques, which means the sponsored content comes up in relevant searches on Google and other search engines and links back to HuffPo.

Michael Wolff, AdweekMedia’s editorial director, and Jim Cooper, AdweekMedia’s executive editor, both challenged Coleman about whether the social networking and SEO strategies might create confusion about the origin of the sponsored content.

Coleman defended this approach as a natural extension of traditional editorial and advertising co-existence.