Ad Shenanigans Charts

Free Is Bad contains several pages of charts that quantify the business model of various news publishers. We measure the use of ads vs subscriptions and other revenue. In other words, who’s paying for your free facts: You or someone else?

We prove that poor quality neo news publishers are much more dependent on not just simple ad revenue, but shenanigans within their ad sales. Classic news has subscription revenue, leading to fewer bad practices.

Our analysis method builds on my experience as CEO of several companies, my knowledge of online marketing and ad-tech, and my technical knowhow.

The blue bars show how much ad-tech shenanigans the publisher is undertaking in order to generate revenue. We examine the HTML of the site and quantify how many ad elements are available for a consumer to click. We examine the ads.txt file and score how many ad networks the site is willing to sell the traffic. We quantify how many trackers are employed on the page, collecting and selling that data. Finally we factor the negative hit to quality through use of Taboola chumboxes etc.

Green bars, for those sites with subscriptions and a paywall, is simply the weekly cost of buying the information.

We will periodically update and publish new charts.

We also make use of the Media Bias Chart from AdFontes Media, which has the benefit of measuring both quality and bias.