Inspired by The Seattle Times' recent decision to leverage a huge chunk of its credibility in a desperate attempt to increase struggling ad revenue, Seattle Weekly announced today that it will immediately launch an expensive independent- expenditure advertising campaign promoting Google, pretty much the greatest company ever.
The decision to run the Google ads without charging the company for their placement is designed to show well-to-do companies like Google and Amazon how effective their ad dollars can be when spent with Seattle Weekly. Editor-in-Chief Mike Seely said the decision to run the ads was made by the corporate side of the operation, and was "completely separate of the journalism functions of the newspaper . . . though I think we can all agree Google is the most totally fucking awesome company in the history of mankind."
Shortly after Seely provided the quote, it was lifted verbatim for the first Weekly-funded Google ad, which can be found on page 45 of this issue. On Thursday, Seattle Weekly attempted to reassure readers that the decision to run the Google ads will not affect the paper's objectivity moving forward.
In a statement issued to the press, a spokesperson for the Microsoft search engine Bing called the decision by Seattle Weekly "complete bullshit."
Since the pro bono campaign is not political, no official expense disclosure is required of the company. However, it's estimated that the Google ads carry a price tag much greater than what was shelled out for booze at erstwhile staff writer Keegan Hamilton's recent going-away party at Mike's Chili Parlor.
While Weekly officials remain adamant that the Google ads will not impugn the paper's integrity, many experts swiftly criticized the move, saying the decision to run free ads for Google may be as damaging to Seattle Weekly's credibility as the time the paper said Lionel Richie would be playing the Shanty Tavern (jokes!). Also, last Thursday, several Weekly editorial staffers were drafting a petition to the paper's publisher, protesting the company's controversial decision. The effort was led by Managing Web Editor Daniel Person, a known Hotmail user.