Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Some Publishers are Scrapping Scummy ‘Around the Web’ Ads

Sapna Maheshwari and John Herrman, New York Times:

A sample of six Outbrain recommendations on The New Yorker’s website on Oct. 5 showed the confusion readers may face when looking at content ads; several were legitimate, but one led to a spamlike “clickbait” site and another led to a fake health news site created by a marketing company. Two led to editorial stories from AARP, which promotes its website through Outbrain and embeds the widgets on its own site.


Asked about the widget and about specific ads, Nicholas Thompson, the editor of NewYorker.com, said, “Outbrain only appears on our humor pages. That’s a deliberate choice.” He added that the arrangement was part of a deal between The New Yorker’s parent company, Condé Nast, and Outbrain. Within a week of the interview, The New Yorker had removed the ads from its site, though it declined to comment on its decision.

I’m surprised that a publication as fastidious as the New Yorker ever allowed those kinds of ads on their website in the first place, even in the humour section.