Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized various industries, including advertising. However, the rise of unreliable AI-generated news websites poses a challenge for brands in maintaining their reputation and ensuring brand safety. In this article, we will explore the implications of AI on advertising, the risks associated with unreliable news websites, and strategies for brands to navigate this evolving landscape.

A recent analysis by NewsGuard, a misinformation watchdog group, revealed that over 140 major global brands unknowingly support unreliable AI-generated news websites through their advertising. These ads are typically placed through automated systems, with Google being a prominent platform for such placements.

While the report did not disclose the specific brands involved, it highlighted that several blue-chip advertisers, including major banks, luxury department stores, sports apparel brands, and consumer technology companies, were inadvertently funding these unreliable websites. The ads are often placed based on programmatic advertising, where large volumes of articles are churned out daily to accommodate ad placements.

Programmatic advertising, which aims to maximize ad exposure for minimal costs, often leads brands to appear on unsavory websites. Joe Karasin, CMO and founder of Karasin PPC, explains that programmatic advertising operates in batches, meaning that if a brand advertises on a reputable website, their ads may also appear on other sites within the same batch.

Liz Miller, a principal analyst at Constellation Research, agrees that appearing on unreliable news sites is unavoidable for brands focused on maximizing reach and minimizing costs. However, she emphasizes the importance of constant monitoring and updating of exclusion lists to filter out these sites.

Miller suggests that brands committed to advertising-driven engagements should consider reevaluating their programmatic strategies and investing in constant training and refinement of exclusion lists. This proactive approach ensures that brands can maintain control over their ad placements and avoid associating with unreliable AI-generated news websites.

The rise of unreliable AI-generated news websites calls for brands to be more discerning in their choice of partners and platforms. Greg Sterling, co-founder of Near Media, suggests that advertisers should be selective in working with programmatic platforms that consistently deliver ads to high-quality sites or those with effective blacklisting capabilities.

Private marketplaces can also offer higher-quality inventory without the risks associated with unreliable news websites. By utilizing self-service tools and navigating inventory options, brands can maintain control over their ad placements and avoid funding sites that may harm their reputation.

However, Liz Miller argues that AI’s presence in the advertising landscape demands a reevaluation of business goals. Brands must decide whether a broad approach, targeting a wide audience, is suitable or if a more focused strategy involving private or direct buys with trusted sources is preferable.

Miller emphasizes that AI serves as a wake-up call for the advertising industry to rearticulate strategies and prioritize the purpose of ad spend. By aligning tools and approaches with their goals, brands can effectively navigate the evolving landscape of AI-generated news websites.

The presence of blue-chip brands on unreliable AI-generated news websites inadvertently adds legitimacy to these platforms. According to Miller, consumers may associate familiar brands with the content of these sites, leading to a detrimental impact on consumer trust.

Vincent Raynauld, an associate professor at Emerson College, highlights the challenges consumers face in navigating an influx of disinformation. The sheer volume of content produced by low-quality AI-generated news websites makes it difficult for individuals to discern reliable information from misinformation.

AI’s ability to rapidly generate content also poses a threat to the spread of misinformation. Raynauld warns that AI can facilitate the quick dissemination of false information, contributing to the growing misinformation industry.

First reported on Tech News World

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at