Gmail Adding Inline Ads Under Promotion Tab

Written by Alex J. Fierro

So a few weeks ago, Gmail started rolling out a new style of mailbox featuring Inbox "Tabs". These tabs by default filter your e-mails into 3 categories, Primary, Social and Promotions. While most "power users" panned the change, I can see the benefit of the tabs. I like to keep my inboxes squeaky clean, but if you get a ton of e-mails a day and sign up for a lot of newsletters, your inbox can get cluttered fast. Google uses its algorithms to split your inbox and move social media e-mails and newsletters into their own tabs.


OK. I'm fine with that, but now they're starting to place ads that look like e-mails automatically under the "Promotions" tab.


Looking suspiciously like e-mail messages

I understand that Google needs to make money and Gmail is a free service and all, but I don't know how I feel about these because at first glance they look like real e-mails. When you click on them, it opens up like a real e-mail too. It doesn't go straight to the website.

Weird contact forms?

Weird, huh? I don't think I've ever seen a contact form in an e-mail before! But that's only because this is not an e-mail at all. In Google's defense, they do put nice warning messages up like "It's a new type of ad which you can forward to a friend, or star to save it to your inbox. If you dismiss this ad, you won't see it again.". They also mention "By submitting data in the form below, you will be sending information to the advertiser." to make things clear.

So, is this a bit too far or simply what's to be expected in a free service trying to make money? I'm not quite sure how to answer that one just yet. What do you think?