Fen-Hui Lin, Yu-Fan Hung
A sponsored link is an innovative advertisement format that simplifies the advertising message with text forms. This study seeks to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of Internet users toward the sponsored link. The research is made up of two parts. The first part empirically tests the cause-and-effect model of the advertising values and the advertising attitudes. Four advertising characteristics are used as antecedent constructs: informativeness, entertainment, irritation and credibility. The second part of the study performs a cluster analysis according to the information search degrees of Internet users toward and how those four characteristics affect their values and attitudes vice a sponsored link. Using 711 valid replies from the survey, the Partial Least Square analysis shows that the credibility plays the most important role. The cluster analysis segregates the Internet searchers into four groups: light searchers, middle searchers, heavy searchers yet using only a few websites, and heavy searchers. Entertainment is significant for two groups and informativeness shows no importance. The research results imply that Internet users concern more on credible or trustworthy of sponsored links. Irritation generated negative attitudes so that the advertisers should avoid the possible irritating effects of sponsored links such as negative or threatening words.