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Photo Illustration: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

YouTube will stop accepting ads for its masthead ad unit from certain verticals, including alcohol sales, gambling, prescription drugs, and election and political ads, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: YouTube's masthead, a highly visible rectangle across the top of the homepage, is often the platform's most expensive and sought-after ad unit.

Details: Beginning Monday, ads that feature any gambling-related content offline or online, including sports betting and casino games, will be banned.

  • The ban will also apply to ads that promote the sale of alcohol, as well as branding ads for alcoholic beverages that don't explicitly reference sales.
  • Ads that are endorsing a candidate for office will be banned. Ads that are political in nature, like issue ads, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Be smart: Masthead takeovers are enticing opportunities for advertisers looking to make a splash ahead of an important marketing event, but they are more frequently scrutinized than regular banner ads because they are so visible.

  • Last year, YouTube said it would discontinue full-day masthead reservations and replace them with more targeted ads that are bought on a per-impression basis, making it harder for any one advertiser to own YouTube's homepage.
  • Other top publishers have received criticism for hosting political ads on their homepage, including the Washington Post.

What they're saying: "We believe this update will build on changes we made last year to the masthead reservation process and will lead to a better experience for users," a Google spokesperson told Axios.

The big picture: Google has been modifying its ad policies for years as it's sought to minimize confusion, misinformation and manipulation, especially surrounding sensitive events.

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Bezos beats Branson in space billionaires' battle for attention

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Imtiyaz Shaikh (Anadolu Agency), Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos' flight into space generated more interest from the public than Richard Branson's, and both billionaires overshadowed their respective space companies.

Why it matters: Data shows an outsized public interest in the personalities at the center of the space trips, compared to the companies behind them — which could reinforce public suspicion that the ventures were partly vanity plays.

Updated 5 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.

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