Paid content, or advertorials, are a fairly common thing on the Internet; although it is not easy to differentiate it from regular editorial content. Google product engineer Ian Webster has created AdDetector, a plugin for both Chrome and Firefox, that will clearly mark content that has been paid for. Ideally, this is so readers are more aware of what kind of materials they end up reading on the internet.
Paid-for editorial content is not something new. Publications occasionally engage in it as an extra source of income. The issue lies when these publications do not clearly label their advertorials as being so. This practice is especially common on the internet with websites like Buzzfeed. Webster hopes that his creation will make it easier for readers to understand that they are reading an advertisement, and even perhaps force publications to raise the quality of advertorials.
AdDetector works by implementing an algorithm to detect paid content. This includes scanning the text for any small print, and even going over the source code of the webpage for hidden clues about the nature of the content. It does not work all the time, but it should work often enough for people who are wary of this sort of thing.