MSM = Mainly Supplementing Marketing?
Now I should note that in addtion to having a great deal of respect for a number of artinfo.com's writers and finding ideas for blog posts on their site about once every other week, I don't have a problem with any online entity selling ad space and/or making buckets of money for delivering quality content. I do, however, object to not being able to tell the difference.
I attended the opening for Warren Isensee's exhibition at Danese. It's a gorgeous show, and I even considered getting one of the drawings in the back room. So when I looked at artinfo.com last night and saw the big banner for that show on their homepage, I thought "Cool, someone has reviewed or done a feature article on it." I mean, after all, that banner (which scrolls through different images) generally links to news or feature articles. Furthermore, the list of links to the direct right of it is titled "Today's News Highlights," and there are advertising images above the navigation and in the right hand column, where one expects them on web pages, so every visual cue available suggests that clicking on the image of Isensee's work will take you to some analysis or feature article. Instead, it takes you to a paid placement of the gallery's press release, what artinfo.com calls a "power page."
Again, I have no qualms about advertising or online services charging for their ability to reach millions of potential clients. What I find disturbing is the suggestion to the website's visitors that this advertisement is a service (i.e., in this context, value-added content). I mean, I saw the exhibition and I read the press release there. Moreover, there are several other advertisements on that homepage, so if I had wanted to read an ad, I was certainly not confused about how to do so. But discovering that what looks like a link to a feature or review is actually an ad is really disappointing.
Now I know it only took a few seconds of my life to make that discovery. I don't think I've suffered any irreversible trauma from it. I have, however, been trained to mistrust the artinfo.com homepage somewhat, which is a pity, because overall they offer a very good product.