As more newspapers and other media outlets cut staff, public relations and advertising make gains. The Minnesota-based firm ARAnet provides "free print and Web content. ... More than 65 of the nation's top 100 newspapers, including the Star Tribune, use" ARAnet content, which "carries client messages." ARAnet president Scott Severson says his firm provides "high-quality consumer content" that "just happen[s] to be underwritten by our clients." ARAnet clients pay $4,500 for content creation, tracking and reporting; media outlets use it for free. One ARAnet article "offered to auto sections" was sponsored by Lexus. Severson explains, "The article was about safety systems and mentioned Lexus. The best advertising doesn't look like advertising." It also doesn't carry clear disclosure. ARAnet's "online articles typically are identified as sponsored content," but its "print articles merely carry an 'ARA' designation, similar to the 'AP' identifier that runs with Associated Press articles." Other ARAnet clients include Home Depot, Microsoft, Best Buy and UPS.
- About Us
- Press Room