Is Sniply Unethical Advertising or An Inevitable Game Changer?

June 3, 2016

2:15 pm

The evolution of technology is a phenomenon that is changing global industries at a rapid rate. The advertising industry is no exception. Companies are increasingly moving away from expensive traditional marketing solutions and seeking out more targeted online advertising options.

It is in this new environment where online marketing tool, Sniply, has found its niche. Sniply has taken online targeted advertising to a whole new level. While many are praising the startup for its innovation in the market, others have cried foul as non-consenting publishers miss out on potential advertising revenue.

Designed to drive website conversions, Sniply enables everyone from independent marketers to international businesses to share their call-to-action on any page on the internet for a very affordable subscription fee. The founders of Sniply realized that audiences were far more engaged with brands that shared content from a range of sources rather than just their own brand material.

The problem is that companies were directing valuable traffic away from their site and potentially losing revenue. By using a customized Sniply link, audiences will actually see a brand’s call-to-action on the linked third party page, whether that be an article from a major national publication or a funny video on YouTube. This call-to-action will then follow the user wherever they go within the site. Pretty cool, right? Everyone doesn't think so.

Sniply’s frame overlay technique has been labelled as plagiarism by numerous media commentary sites, as it encourages advertisers to effectively ‘piggy-back’ on other people’s content without their permission, ultimately devaluing their advertising potential. Why pay for something you can get for free, right?

Another issue with the Sniply model is that it means publishers have no control over what kind of advertising is placed on their site. Business blogger, Grow, has cited the potential for misuse of the tool saying that a competitor, a political candidate, a hater or a pornographer could easily bombard social media with their edited version of your website content with their unauthorized advertisement at the bottom.

Sniply representatives have defended criticism, maintaining that their tool enables websites to get greater exposure through incentivising others to share third party material. They also claim that they have manual and automated detection processes for any spam and abuse of the tool.

There are arguments for both sides and depending where you sit in the industry, you will see the dilemma differently. You might believe that once you publish content online, tools like Sniply have free reign to overlay ads as the benefits outweigh the cost and that this inevitable progression of online advertising. Or you might think that Sniply has taken it a step too far and are undercutting bloggers and other businesses from vital advertising revenue. Either way, Sniply is coming away with all the money while we sit back and debate it.

Photo: Sniply

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Writer, blogger and energy enthusiast. I have a passion for sustainable and ethical living. I want to inform and educate others on sustainable practices like using renewable energy. I invite you to join the conversation by commenting below with your thoughts.