Publishers retreat from the risks of Google-YouTube advertising

When The Guardian was made aware this month that some of its advertisements were appearing on YouTube videos from extremists, it quickly pulled its marketing across Google. That move, prompted by reporting in The Times of London, began a broader advertiser exodus that has now extended to the United States, amid concern that the technology giant is not doing enough to prevent brands from showing up next to offensive content.

There was irony in The Guardian’s having to pull the ads, given that attracting more paid subscribers is a way for it to mitigate the fact that many companies do not need to pay to directly advertise on its news site, Hamish Nicklin, the chief revenue officer of Guardian News & Media, said in an interview on Friday.

“We were trying to bridge the gaps in our ad decline, and the decline was caused by YouTube and Google’s dominance in the space — only to have to slow down our potential acquisitions because of the very same tools and products,” Mr. Nicklin said. As of Friday, the publisher had yet to resume marketing with Google, which takes a percentage from the ads placed on YouTube and the over two million sites in its display network, though it was “very likely” to reinstate search ads soon, he said.

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