Regarding my post on Tuesday about the Los Angeles Times embedding e-commerce links in selected web stories, Editor Russ Stanton emails that my use of the term "selling links" was off the mark.
Kevin: Your headline and description of our e-commerce links program are incorrect and we would appreciate you correcting the record.
We are not, as you noted, selling these links, for a host of good journalistic reasons. Any money that we receive from this program comes from sharing, with an outside vendor, the revenue created by a transaction that results from a reader clicking on a link. There is a huge difference between this approach and selling the links.
As the memo to our staff indicated, these links are inserted into some articles and blog posts after they been published on latimes.com and without the involvement of anyone on our editorial staff.
Thanks for your attention to this.
In a follow-up exchange, he explained that the terms to be linked are chosen by the Times vendor, not by advertisers. I suspect for readers it's all the same: green links attempting to sell something that weren't there before. His memo is in my original post.
Also: The Times' Readers Representative, Deirdre Edgar, posted today a response regarding last weekend's Bill Dwyre column on Pat Tillman. Her item is aimed at blogger Patterico, who had accused the Times of quietly changing "murder" to "killed" after a complaint from a reader. Edgar says the change was actually made routinely by a sports copy editor, with Dwyre's agreement, after the column was posted to the web but before it was printed the next day. "Murdered" appeared online for about five hours until the print and online versions caught up with each other, but she agrees that a For the Record correction should have been added to the online column (and now it has been.)