Tag Archives: mtl blog native advertising

MTL Blog caught with hidden sponsored content

Recently MTL Blog got caught using an non-declared organic content ad masquerading as real content, which you can read up on here. This is a paid placement masquerading as normal content. This was brough to light thanks to a mention on Twitter during the #askmtlblog smack down, which was triggered by the in depth article from Fagstein that asks 40 questions and digs up some information.

So CBC also did some follow up on it and sheds some light on the Keurig product placement and charging for coverage issues highlighted here and here.  You will need to fast forward to the 8:18 mark for the story to start.

MTL Blog caught on CBC news

Shortly after their call the Keurig ad went from


mtl blog Keurig ad placement

to THIS (note the teeny tiny orange sponsored content label)

mtl blog sponsored ad change

MTL Blog uses the”they forgot” excuse very often.  Take a look at the headache a local blogger had to go through when they called out MTL Blog on stealing their content  in not just 1 spot but 2!

A greater issue with this sponsored content post is that it shows the tag in one post in the top 10 list but does not show the entire list as sponsored. The lists’ integrity (if you can call it that) is in question since it is not a real top anything since one of the posts is paid for. The entire post in the life section should be tagged as sponsored content. Instead it isn’t and that leads readers into starting to read this post and not know that a portion is an advertisement.

mtl blog life section


Product Placement organic content

Thanks to the Fagstein article and the Twitter smackdown #askmtlblog, information about a paid ad campaign or product placement came to light.

 The product in question is the Keurig coffee maker and word has it that an online ad agency has been approaching certain sites to put this content (some allege Sid LEE was the ad agency behind this). It is true that Sid Lee has the Canadian deal for Keurig. However, as there are many moving parts in any kind of ad campaign, it could be that Sid Lee is responsible for one component while another company handles the online campaigns. 

mtl blog Keurig ad placement


There is confirmation of the ad campaign by another local website The Main. The Main also covers local events, and community organizations but they are legitimate in terms of not stealing images and content. I should note that I actually read their site and enjoy it.

We also got a confirmation with a screen grab of the email from the company from someone over at the CSU.

Regardless of who does what campaign (and I personally love the stuff Sid Lee does), this ad was slipped in as organic content. This blurs the line between paid advertising and a recent advertising trend called Native Advertising. For those who don’t know what native advertising is, it’s the subtle placement of sponsored content often done by the people who run the sites. Techcrunch has a great article on this that should be read for anyone interested.

The dangerous thing with this ad is that it’s placed without any notice of being a sponsored ad, kind of like product placement. This is the most deceptive form of advertising and although companies need to make money, you are really tricking viewers without giving them any chance to see this. Even the most media savvy viewer would never assume this is an advertisement. In fact, unless you have been approached by Keurig or are involved in the ad campaign, then there is no chance you will know this.

Now some will say that MTL Blog is not a news organization but they blur the lines. Their Facebook page clearly says newspaper and they have stated in the Canada Land article they wish to move in that direction.


As of today the Newspaper label is still up even though in the Fagstein article “Lapointe said this description, and a similar one on their website, was an error and would be corrected.”

mtl blog newspaper

Now MTL Blog described itself as mixed media in the Canada Land article. This is dangerous because when you use the word media people assume you mean real grown up news. When people see news outlets, read newspapers, or listen to the radio, they apply a certain level of trust. MTL Blog is clearly not a media station, newspaper or radio. They are a PR company masquerading as a new company. Even in their company description with the Registre des entreprises they describe themselves as “Nous créons et vendons des campagnes d’affichage en ligne pour diverses clients.” and “Nous vendons des services de couverture d’événements pour diverses clients.”

mtl blog ad network

Revenu_Québec_-_État_de_renseignements_MTL Blog

In an age of social media and the erosion of traditional media and the gatekeepers, misinformation such as masquerading advertising as content is dangerous. Remember Ad agencies are scum and will do whatever is needed to sell you their product. This includes lying and tricking people by whatever means necessary.