Tanzina Vega for The New York Times:
Articles in a series on Mashable.com called “What’s Inside” looked for all the world like the hundreds of other articles on the digital media site. But journalistically, they were something very different.
The articles, about technology topics in a wide variety of products, including modems and the Hubble Space Telescope, were paid for by Snapdragon, a brand of processor chip made by Qualcomm, and the sponsor of the series. Most were even written by Mashable editorial employees.
The information gleaned is certainly interesting, but the fact that these articles were paid for and/or sponsored by companies and not explicitly stated as such anywhere within makes me wonder whether they would’ve been written at all without backing money supporting them.
Or, perhaps Mashable hides that little fact because other readers, like me, would see “Sponsored Content” below the title and immediately think “Advertisement”. No one’s going to share an ad 2,000 times.