On the drive into work, I was listening to NPR. One of the stories featured was on a technique of oil refining called gas flaring and how it disrupts life in Nigeria. The story started with instructions on using the Google Earth web site to see the gas flairs.
This is a modern, information superhighway example of product placement in the news. Google's geographic imaging search web site is prominently featured in a story that, in my humble opinion, is largely irrelevant to the search giant and vice versa.
What is the reason behind the product placement? I could not find any reference of Google or its C level executives being sponsors in NPR's latest annual report. I did run across a page reporting that Google allows NPR to cloak which is considered inappropriate in the world of SEO. Not exactly a dark conspiracy or scathing expose, eh?
Perhaps NPR's reporters are just very enthusiastic about the search giant's offerings. Whether or not there was any cash renumeration, it is still product placement.
What is your opinion? Is product placement wrong or OK?