Newsweek Fired By Exchanges; Ghostery Pivots

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News Weak

Newsweek Media Group, the once-venerable US publisher, is losing advertising technology partners and advertisers amid scathing reports of online ad fraud and a crackdown from the Manhattan District Attorney. AppNexus, SpotX and Teads have each ended their relationships with Newsweek and subsidiary publisher the International Business Times, reports The Wall Street Journal. Newsweek fired two employees who were purportedly responsible for deploying code across the company’s sites that falsely inflated its advertising metrics. There are plenty of ad tech fish in the sea, but still, the damage could be critical. Newsweek is also splitting off IBT media into a separate operating group in an apparent effort to quarantine sites with heavy invalid traffic. More.


Ghostery, a privacy and ad-blocking tool, used to make money by selling browsing data from opted-in users to ecommerce merchants and other sites looking for insights on ad-blocked audiences or details on why page functions aren’t working. Many Ghostery users resented the revenue model because “on its face, it just looked like Ghostery was selling user data – precisely what you don’t want from a privacy tool designed to block ads and trackers,” writes Wired. Moving forward, the revenue model will include a premium subscription launching later this year for publishers or researchers who want more thorough browsing data, as well as an affiliate program, Ghostery Rewards, periodically notifying users of relevant discounts on travel or shopping. More.  

Medicaid Expansion

Amazon has launched a half-priced Prime subscription for US recipients of Medicaid, the federal medical coverage offered primarily to pregnant women, low-income families, the elderly and the disabled. It’s a nice gesture, although perhaps not an entirely altruistic one. Walmart and its ecommerce group have been trying to push into Amazon’s urban and upper-market territory, and this announcement is Amazon’s counterplay, writes The New York Times. The move will also open a powerful data stream on lower-income (but still potentially lucrative) new customers. Some experts expect Amazon to compile better data on Medicaid populations than the US government. More.

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