Targeting audience might be a struggle. A lot of brands had their ads appearing on Breitbart website, which is a platform for alt-right, filled with racist, anti-Semitic and nationalist content. It spurred anger amongst Internet users. How to deal with a problem like that?


Why Is Breitbart So Dangerous?

Breitbart is not very nice

Normally, when a company launches a digital system to distribute its ads via Internet, there’s not much fuss about where they might end up. Hence, a lot of brands found out that their content was eventually placed near obnoxious topics on Breitbart. Racist and sexist headlines really spoiled their reputation and people started complaining. In response, a number of companies, including Allstate, Modcloth, Nest, SoFi and Earthlink, added the site to their black lists.

Furthermore, a lot of brands just didn’t know that their advertisement appeared on the site. For instance, Baublebar’s ads were retargeted via the firm called Criteo. They spread ads throughout the net so that it turned up anywhere and it is mostly untraceable. The same happened to everyone who used Google’s ad network.

Warby Parker was one of those whose reaction was immediate. Their spokeswoman tried to convince users that this mistake will not happen again. In addition to that, she stated that there was no direct liaison between them and Breitbart News Network. According to her, their brand seeks to build an inclusive and diverse community and they obviously don’t want to support any site that stands against their values.


Now It Is A Problem On A National Scale

Breitbart. Trump

Most recently, President-elect Donald Trump has appointed Steve Bannon, the ex-chairman of Breitbart, in one of key positions in his administration. Oops! Quite predictably, it pushed forward a lot of controversy and dissatisfaction. Firstly, is “alt-right” acceptable in the governmental structures? Secondly, what is the problem with digital media? Why can’t the brands control the wanderings of their ads? This secretive system which throws ads to any site where there is reaction from users turns out to be very malignant.

A Twitter account called Sleeping Giants began rapidly kindling the fire of discontent. According to the creator of the account, the main reasons for Trump’s victory were fake news and disinformation. Obviously, Breitbart seems to be the face of these. Thus, he started an online campaign of this kind:


Breitbart. Twitter. Sleeping Giants


The main goal is to inform the firms about the content they are sponsoring. Salsify, Nest, ModCloth and SoFi have already reacted to Sleeping Giants’ affair and stated that they will boycott Breitbart. Nevertheless, there are still multiple brands who don’t exit, including Sephora, Hyundai and Nissan, for instance. That’s just the way retargeting works.


The Other Side Of The Coin

Some users don’t consider this a problem. In fact, Breitbart is very popular and it has lots of loyal fans worldwide. In October, over 19,2 million people visited the site, according to the data from comScore. Especially after the election, brands started thinking about reaching bigger audiences and attracting people regardless of their views.

It is important for companies to reach as many customers as possible. For them, advertisement is not a political statement and ad location doesn’t really matter, because people see it and cling to it. That’s the purpose! Therefore, multiple companies just wouldn’t budge.

Breitbart. West Coast Politics

As a matter of fact, there are brands who use one demand-side platform to easily whitelist and blacklist sites. However, some publishers are capable of concealing their real identity. Thus, in the program you will see just “news site” instead of malicious “Breitbart”. In addition to that, there are companies like Integral Ad Science which can calculate risk rates for a brand. Regardless of all the existing control systems, brands find it hard to start filtering the dangerous sites, because if one is dangerous, what about others?

Users are concerned that there should be an understandable system for the companies, through which they could lower Breitbart’s ad revenues. Obviously, if you want to blacklist a site, you need to know how to do it. Otherwise, what’s the use of worrying?

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