The past few months have been a rocky one for sponsored online content or “advertorials.” Between the Atlantic‘s Scientology dust-up and increasing paid content on websites like Buzzfeed and various outlets within the Gawkwer network, publishers are pushing boundaries and blurring the line between editorial and advertisement.

It’s a sticky subject, for sure, and the centerpiece of a Social Media Week debate in Buzzfeed’s Flatiron District office between Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith and conservative blogger and The Dist Andrew Sullivan. To describe the debate as a blood bath is even a little bit of an understatement, as the two personalities clashed vehemently over the advertorial’s place online — and the effect it has on journalism at large. Here’s a quote from the debate moderator, the Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson, from his write-up of the event: Read more