Feb 1, 2018

Newsweek Media Group accused of advertising fraud

Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Newsweek Media Group, the publisher of Newsweek and the International Business Times, has allegedly been purchasing low-quality online traffic, a fraudulent move that helped the media company meet the requirements of a major ad buy from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with IBT, BuzzFeed reports, citing a new report released on Thursday by Social Puncher, an ad fraud watchdog.

What (allegedly) happened: Social Puncher's report claims that IBT supplemented a drop in organic search traffic to its website with paid traffic that used redirected traffic from pop-up or pop-under ads from pirate streaming sites. The vast majority of the ads for the CFPB were served this way, making it likely that real people never saw them — or immediately clicked away — while still allowing IBT to meet the buy's traffic requirements.

Newsweek Media Group told BuzzFeed it has purchased audiences from ad networks, which is a “small percentage of traffic on our sites,” but denied any wrongdoing or fraudulent manipulation regarding its advertising contracts.

More problems for Newsweek Media Group, via the BuzzFeed report:

  • "This follows an October report from BuzzFeed News that revealed local content for IBT Australia is produced by writers in the Philippines, and its offices in Sydney were occupied by people who say they do not work for the company."
  • "A former high-ranking IBT editor said the content coming out of the company’s India and Manila operations often involved aggregation of conspiracy theories or dubious stories that were written up because they could get significant traffic."
  • "One current source of frustration and embarrassment for Newsweek staffers is that freelancers struggle to be paid in a timely manner. BuzzFeed News spoke with nine Newsweek contributors who said the company typically takes six months to pay an invoice, and only after constant requests for payment are made."

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 62,300 U.S. health care workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and at least 291 have died from the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday. COVID-19 had infected about 9,300 health professionals when the CDC gave its last update on April 17.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 5,589,626 — Total deaths: 350,453 — Total recoveries — 2,286,956Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 1,680,913 — Total deaths: 98,913 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

There are no COVID-19 patients in hospital in New Zealand, which reported just 21 active cases after days of zero new infections. A top NZ health official said Tuesday he's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission."

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).