/// Buzzfeed Using ‘Featured Partner’ Links on Fark to Drive Traffic to Its Native Ads
One of the wonderful things about Fark, the weird/funny/stupid news aggregator, has always been its utter simplicity. Fark.com is little more than a running scroll of cleverly worded one- or two-sentence links to stories from around the web. Like the Drudge Report, to which it’s often compared, it has changed little since its inception in 1999.
Or had changed little, anyway. Recently, Fark users began seeing some links marked “Featured Partner” on the heavily-trafficked homepage. The “Featured Partner” in question is Buzzfeed, which is using the partnership to generate more audience for its “sponsored” articles, its form of native advertising.
A Buzzfeed spokeswoman explains:
We’re working with a number of sites, including Fark, to extend our content-driven social advertising to third party sites. We call the program Social Homepages because we identify and partner with sites that people go to looking for content to share — and the whole program only includes front-page inventory. The program launched with Fark in February. We also sometimes backfill with BuzzFeed editorial content — you’ll see a brand’s logo on a sponsored piece and BuzzFeed’s logo on an editorial piece.
In fact, most of the “Featured Partner” links I’ve seen so far have been to Buzzfeed’s editorial stories, not its sponsored stories. Buzzfeed’s spokeswoman says the partnership is revenue-generating for Fark, which also runs traditional banner ads, and for other partners.
Everyone likes revenue, but it’s a little jarring to see some of these partner links in the mix on Fark, a site with such a sharply defined sensibility. Fark’s guidelines for submissions exhort users not once but twice to “Make the tagline funny” but the links to Buzzfeed’s sponsored stories don’t even attempt that.
One that goes to a post sponsored by AT&T reads “Romeo & Juliet Reimagined For Fhe Smartphone Era.” Another, for Silk almond milk, reads, “15 Things That Need To Be Rethought.” It’s hard to know what readers think of the partner links since they don’t have their own landing pages with comments, unlike other Fark links.
Probably unnecessary disclosure: I submit links to Fark all the time and fairly weep with joy when they get picked up on the homepage, partly because it drives a lot of traffic and partly because it’s validating when the administrators find my tagline funny.