Wall Street Journal Blacks Out Line In Vonage Ad
from the advertising-abridged dept
As the Vonage-Verizon patent spat winds its way through the courts, Vonage has decide to plead its case in a different court — the court of public opinion. The company has been taking out ads explaining its position, and basically making the case that Verizon is simply trying to use its patents to stifle competition. Apparently, the Wall Street Journal didn’t like a line in one of Vonage’s ads, so readers were greeted to a full page ad with one sentence blacked out. It’s not clear why the sentence, which read “Now, Verizon has chosen to attack Vonage in the courts. Why? Could it be all about the money?”, set off the alarm bells, although presumably it was under some sort of pressure from Verizon. This doesn’t really constitute censorship on the Journal’s part, since it’s a private company and can do whatever it wants, but it is odd that the company would make an editorial decision in this way, and just black out one line, rather than refuse the ad outright. What makes this story particularly odd is that the Journal ran its own article about Vonage’s ad campaign, in which it specifically referenced the offending line, as though it were somehow explosive. Assuming that it did face some sort of (presumably legal) pressure from Verizon over the line, the episode is indicative of how high the stakes are for both companies.