In the aftermath of an in-depth Association of National Advertisers' study revealing the depth and magnitude of ad spending from blue-chip advertisers on bogus or low-quality "made-for-advertising" (MFA) sites, a variety of ad-tech and brand-safety suppliers have raced to provide solutions.
This morning, news and info credibility ratings platform NewsGuard has become one of them, announcing a new service that enables brand marketers and agencies to create lists including non-MFA sites, or ones explicitly excluding MFA sites.
NewsGuard already has a history of providing so-called "nutrition label" data enabling advertisers to build such lists for managing the overall quality of news and information sites, and recently began a service explicitly targeting unreliable AI-generated news sites -- UAINs -- which are proliferating at a geometric rate.
As part of this morning's announcement, NewsGuard released an update of its data showing that since benchmarking AI news sites on May 1, the number has grown 682% to 347.
To implement the new MFA service, NewsGuard has aligned its overall news and info-site publisher database based on the same taxonomy utilized by the ANA's analysts who weeded through the log-file data of the blue-chip advertisers participating in its study to identify so-called MFA publishers.
"We were stunned by some of the data in the ANA report," NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz says, referring to the ANA's finding that 15% of the $88 billion advertisers spend on programmatic advertising ends up on MFA sites.
That's even more than a joint study NewsGuard conducted with Comscore two years ago that estimated $2.6 billion was being spent annually by programmatic ad buys being placed on sites publishing misinformation.
The problem with the ANA's MFA findings, Crovitz adds, is that those buys are made automatically across 44,000 discrete publishers, making it difficult to manage without the data and tools to accurate identify and weed them out.
Crovitz says NewsGuard's new service leans to the ANA's recommendation to manage the process vis a vis "inclusion" lists that identify non-MFA sites, vs. "exclusion" lists, which may inadvertently penalizes legitimate publishers that end up on those lists.