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>> Some of America's best known brands wanted to keep their ads from running on Breitbart News but their ads kept popping up on far right American news site. It's a high profile example of the often byzantine nature of internet advertising that even though Breitbart has been blacklisted by more than 1,000 advertisers including luxury retailer Nordstrom, automation places ads there anyway.
And now says, Reuters media correspondent Jessica Toonkel, ad buyers are worried about losing control of where their ads appear.>> With this era of fake news and controversial sites like Breitbart coming more to the foreground, it's bringing up kind of an old problem that has been in existence around programmatic ad buying.
So, programmatic ad buying is when advertisers can automatically buy spots online through ad exchanges.>> That automation works like this. Ad exchanges are armed with a treasure trove of data and are able to place a targeted ad within a millisecond. As part of the deal between the exchange and the ad buyer, ad placements can be restricted in a general sense such as anything tied to pornography or specifically to a particular website, but as the ads showing up on Breitbart illustrate, there are loopholes.
>> Many brands just started out as basically saying should not have run any of our ads. When reporting my story I found out that some ads for showing up through URLs owned by Disqus, which is a San Francisco-based company that runs the comment section for Breitbart who was selling ad inventory off of Breitbart.
So, I mean, it's a very convoluted situation, cuz your ads can show up on Breitbart anyway.>> And the problem goes beyond just US borders and controversial websites like Breitbart. Google was forced to apologize, Monday, after an embarrassing turn of events in the UK. The tech giant which also operates its own online ad network allowed ads paid for by the British government and several high profile firms to appear next to YouTube videos spewing homophobic and anti-Semitic messages.
Several of the advertisers are now boycotting Google in hopes of regaining control of where their brands show up on the web.