Clickbait websites could be siphoning $17 billion a year away from quality journalism

And brands don’t even know they’re paying for ads there


This year, we challenged brands to restore $1 billion of their advertising investments to supporting quality news journalism, a fraction of how much advertisers have reduced their advertising spending in news outlets during the 15-year period leading up to the pandemic. Since then, I have been gratified by the response to the billion-dollar challenge from industry peers and pundits — but we’ve got a long way to go to achieve that goal.

About the same time that we issued this challenge at the annual Cannes Lions Festival of Advertising, the Association of National Advertisers revealed their Programmatic Transparency Study “First Look” (I highly recommend taking a few moments to read it if you haven’t already, especially if your title is CFO). One of its key findings was the preponderance of made-for-advertising websites (MFAs) in the participants’ campaigns ...

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