The New York Times published an article entitled “Publishers Are Rethinking Those ‘Around the Web’ Ads” (written by
A report in September from the nonprofit ChangeAdvertising.org found that 41 of the top 50 news sites — including The Guardian, CNN, Time and Forbes — embed widgets from so-called content-recommendation companies. Several of those that do not, including The New York Times, pay for content created with advertisers in-house to appear in the widgets to increase traffic to their own sites.
ChangeAdvertising.org analyzed the content ads on those 41 news websites and found that 61 percent came from advertisers or other prominent publishers. But 26 percent led to “clickbait” sites that were covered in more ads and lower-quality recommendation widgets featuring sexually suggestive or interruptive images. Almost all of those sites, which appear to be paying for placement, then profiting from their own ads once people visit, hid their domain registrations.
Rob Leathern, a board member at ChangeAdvertising.org, called it “a pretty problematic state of affairs.” He said it was surprising that such pages were “one click away from these top 50 news sites.”