By Katelyn Needham/ editor-in-chief
The alt-right news source Breitbart News has been blacklisted by the ad campaign vendor that controls TCC’s online programmatic advertisement placement.
In its Feb. 22 issue, The Collegian reported that a screenshot activist had sent in proof of a TCC ad displayed on Breitbart News.
“The way we purchase ad space for TCC is through a programmatic ad platform, so we don’t buy individual sites or pay any money directly to a website publisher. It is all done through ad exchanges,” Ward Group president Ron Enright said.
TCC’s ads are done through The Ward Group who then hires Simpli.fi to run the programmatic ads and purchase spaces on websites for them to run.
“What happened was the programmatic platform vendor we use constantly crawls the web to check on sites they might buy advertisement inventory on,” Enright said. “They check for anything that might be considered a red flag on the behalf of a client.”
The sites that Simpli.fi deems inappropriate get removed from the software.
“Those changes occur all the time without our knowledge,” Enright said. “They don’t typically blacklist based on content unless it is explicit or pornographic, so they don’t normally blacklist anything that has political content or is somewhat controversial.”
Due to a high-request volume, however, Breitbart News has been blacklisted from all of the ad campaigns that Simpli.fi controls.
“What they explained to me happened with Breitbart is that they had enough advertisers that specifically requested that it be blacklisted that they just pre-emptively blacklisted it from their entire platform back in December,” Enright said.
Breitbart was taken off the universal blacklist in January, just long enough for Twitter user TAS467 to see TCC’s ad on the site and tweet, “Are you aware @TCCollege ads are appearing on the hate site Breitbart? Don’t hate, please remove! @slpng_giants @TCCthecollegian.”
“They said they narrowed it down to the week of Jan. 26,” Enright said. “Once they realized that, their ad ops [ad operations] team put it back on the blacklist, and it has been there ever since.”
The team at Simli.fi estimates the website was unblacklisted Jan. 26-31.
“It was done at a global level due to a growing number of clients requesting the site be blacklisted,” Simpli.fi senior account coordinator Kayla Cowart said. “However, the site was removed from the global blacklist by our ad ops team as some of our clients have no issue running on the domain. We then blacklisted Breitbart on a client level, TCC and The Ward Group included, as a proactive measure.”
By putting Breitbart on the company blacklist, it eliminates the possibility for any TCC ad or any other organization’s ad to show up on the news source.
“It’s a slippery slope because for every person that hates, for example, Breitbart, there’s someone else that loves Breitbart,” TCC executive communications and public relations director Suzanne Groves told The Collegian for the Feb. 22 story. “This is kind of the new world of advertising.”