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October 29, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:31am

News websites rated ‘red’ by Newsguard could miss out on ad money after agency deal

By Freddy Mayhew

News websites rated “red” by ranking tool Newsguard could soon find themselves losing out on potential advertising money as a result of the US start-up’s new partnership with a global ad agency network.

Newsguard ranks websites against nine criteria which it claims they must substantially meet to uphold basic standards of journalism. Those that pass are rated “green” while those that fail are rated “red”.

RT (formerly Russia Today) currently holds a red ranking for its English-language news website, as does China Global Television Network. Both are funded by their respective states.

Clients of the IPG Mediabrands network will now be able to access Newsguard’s database of ranked websites and choose only to advertise on those rated “green” for programmatic ads.

IPG Mediabrands is the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group, one of the big four advertising agencies. The new initiative is called Brandguard.

Press Gazette understands brand safety-conscious clients will add Newsguard’s green websites – which included all UK national newspaper websites – to their advertising whitelist, expanding their reach.

Newsguard has ranked more than 200 news websites in the UK, including a couple of dozen belonging to local newsbrands.

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The tool, which was developed in the US, stoked controversy when it first launched in the UK in May after giving Mail Online a red ranking. It later apologised and changed the website’s ranking to green.

Managing director for Europe Anna-Sophie Harling said: “Just a few months after Newsguard’s UK launch, we’re proud to partner with one of the world’s leading advertising media agencies.

“Working with the advertising industry is a tangible way in which Newsguard can help promote quality journalism in the UK and abroad.”

Newsguard’s ratings are available through Newsguard’s browser extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari and are displayed next to links in users’ search engine results and social media feeds.

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