Zite, a leading news aggregator app for iPad and iPhone, says it has struck its first section sponsorship deal--with Intel.
According to Zite CEO Mark Johnson, the chipmaker will sponsor the aggregator's technology section. In addition to seeing an Intel logo in the section banner (on the iPad), Zite users will see occasional sponsored content from Intel's MyLifeScoop site interspersed with the app's standard selection of articles from a wide variety of publications. The sponsorship is expected to last three months.
Although Zite has an existing pact in which women's sports apparel maker Lululemon Athletica creates its own curated section, today's announcement marks the first time the aggregator has struck a sponsorship deal for an existing subject section.
"Users are used to seeing sponsored content (such as on Digg) and are used to seeing sponsorships," Johnson told CNET. "We've been careful to make sure that any sponsored content is germane to the section and [is] of high quality."
Johnson said Zite won't have any say over which Intel-sponsored articles get fed into the technology section but that "in this case, we've vetted the source, not individual pieces."
He also said that because Zite users are able to provide feedback on articles, "we'll have in-app signals, if [the sponsored] content isn't good."
Zite, which was acquired last summer by CNN, is always on the lookout for other sponsorship arrangements "with top brands creating high-quality content," Johnson said, and it has no "immediate plans" for general advertising. "I do think this is a much more attractive option than blanket advertising on Zite," he said.