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Popular Local News Sites in the US and Canada Are Fake (buzzfeednews.com)
35 points by smacktoward 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

From the story -- "The Edmonton and Albany sites make the majority of their ad inventory available via Google’s ad network, meaning the tech giant facilitates the programmatic sale of ads on the sites and takes a cut of revenue when ads are displayed. Along with Google, the sites also list their inventory with AppNexus, another large ad network."

Basically the people who are getting screwed here are the advertisers, Google gets their cut, the web site gets their cut, and the advertisers just burned a pile of money advertising out into space. It is very sad, and one which takes advantage of the fact that all of the brands have outsourced management of their advertising to third parties. It is like giving your office the manager the ability to approve invoices and sign checks. Never a good strategy.

More like the people who would have genuinely benefited from the advertisement in the first place (i.e. local papers).

If your claim is true - that the advertisers have abandoned all good sense and just throw good money after bad without checking if its good value for money - it's hard to call the advertisers victims. Maybe Google is good value for money - better than billboards - even though a certain amount is wasted. What is the alternative? Something independently confirmable like buying adloads on twenty percent of pageviews on www.crazy-popular-news-site.com in July?

Google keeps asking me if I'm a fully legit human. I assumed they used this also fully legit human status to decide whether to charge for the ads they don't show me. But is the claim here that Google just uses fully legit human status to annoy people who don't use Chrome? Seems a little anti-competitive.

ask yourself what is in Google's financial best interests, and I think you will figure out what the path of least resistance is for them to take.

> the people who are getting screwed here are the advertisers

and the readers / users

The researchers (the source of the story) claim it's an ad fraud scheme and there aren't real readers.

> “The fact that no one is trying to correct these errors suggests that real people do not visit this site, otherwise it would be fixed on the first day,”

> “Real people have no reason to visit such sites. And if we see on such sites millions of highly busy users, then this can only be advertising fraud,” it said in its report.

Readers/users are getting screwed, since the money they're spending on Coke is going to feed content farms not intended for human consumption. If advertising revenues were going to legitimate companies, they would have legitimate content to read and use. As it is, they have to pay twice - once for their NYT subscription and once through the cola advertising budget - but only get one benefit.

  A Google spokesperson said the Edmonton and Albany sites were not violating any of its policies 
So, even having their attention called to this fraud, they do nothing.

I'm not as up to date with Google's public opinions on moderating truth (a very sticky thing indeed), but it seems to me they're taking the opposite approach to Facebook (for all its ills and merits).

If anyone has more direct info, please post it. FB is getting all the attention these days with truth and whatnot.

This article has nothing to do with disinformation/"Fake news"

It has not much to do with censoring people, and more that this "popularity" of these sites is almost certainly driven by illegitimate means (scripts, botting, popups, malware etc), purely to collect ad revenue. After all who is going to bother with such worthless and out of date articles from a completely unknown "news" org.

The fact its extremely obvious, and Google can't even be bothered bodes poorly for the veracity of the online ad ecosystem.

Are they doing Google Ads fraud or ad fraud not related to Google?

> The annual losses from ad fraud are estimated at billions, and even tens of billions of dollars.

I like it when such estimates are linked to no source at all.

It's still Buzzfeed, but on wikipedia they do state some of these numbers.

Not even sure advertisers mind at this point?

"A related trend is the emergence of local news sites in the US that are run by politicians or are closely linked to political causes or entities."

I can't help but notice that ABC news spiked the Epstein story, NBC suppressed the Weinstein story (both for 'editorial standards'), yet both blared Kavanaugh allegations nonstop.

It's not just small news sources that are steered by politics.

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