G/O Media’s Plan to Juice Its Ad Numbers Backfires After Farmers Insurance Pulls Its Million-Dollar Commitment and Deadspin’s Staff Quit en Masse thedailybeast.com

A bit of followup related to yesterday’s dumpster fire at Deadspin: you may recall that one source of the rift between editorial and management staff at G/O Media has been the company’s recent carpet bombing of autoplaying video ads across the websites it owns, in a move not unlike someone cutting their own fingers off and wondering why they are in so much pain. Everyone knows that autoplaying video ads are a violation of an implicit code between websites owners and visitors — I can’t imagine a single person finding them anything less than obtrusive, and their distraction is disrespectful to readers and writers alike.

Sahil Patel, Wall Street Journal:

The Farmers deal, which began last month and is worth $1 million, required G/O Media to deliver nearly 43.5 million ad impressions through September 2020, according to internal G/O Media emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The publisher’s media and ad operations teams believed it was unlikely G/O Media could deliver that many, according to the emails.

After failing to hit ad impression targets within the first few weeks of the campaign, G/O Media decided to start playing videos with the sound on as soon as pages loaded, according to people familiar with the matter. That included stand-alone video ads for Farmers inside article pages as well as preroll ads before editorial videos.

This was done with the approval of Farmers, but it failed spectacularly, as Maxwell Tani reported for the Daily Beast earlier today:

Multiple sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that following the editorial team’s public criticism of the ads, Farmers informed G/O that it would not continue with the campaign which, according to the Journal, was worth $1 million and required the media company to deliver nearly 43.5 million ad impressions through next year.

As I wrote yesterday, a man who hates everything Gawker stood for bought the company and it backfired when he tried to ruin the company from the inside.

Oh, and then lots of reporters quit today. Like, pretty much any staff member who was able just walked out.

G/O Media’s management short of shrugged at having lost some of the most talented writers on the web as they attempt to turn each of their publications into the most generic version of itself.