An Analysis of the Partnership between Retailers and Low-credibility News Publishers


  • Lia Bozarth University of Michigan
  • Ceren Budak University of Michigan



fake news, misinformation, online advertisement, display ads, online retailers


In this paper, we provide a large-scale analysis of the display ad ecosystem that supports low-credibility and traditional news sites, with a particular focus on the relationship between retailers and news producers. We study this relationship from both the retailer and news producer perspectives. First, focusing on the retailers, our work reveals high-profile retailers that are frequently advertised on low-credibility news sites, including those that are more likely to be advertised on low-credibility news sites than traditional news sites. Additionally, despite high-profile retailers having more resources and incentive to dissociate with low-credibility news publishers, we surprisingly do not observe a strong relationship between retailer popularity and advertising intensity on low-credibility news sites. We also do not observe a significant difference across different market sectors. Second, turning to the publishers, we characterize how different retailers are contributing to the ad revenue stream of low-credibility news sites. We observe that retailers who are among the top-10K websites on the Internet account for a quarter of all ad traffic on low-credibility news sites. Nevertheless, we show that low-credibility news sites are already becoming less reliant on popular retailers over time, highlighting the dynamic nature of the low-credibility news ad ecosystem.




How to Cite

Bozarth, L., & Budak, C. (2021). An Analysis of the Partnership between Retailers and Low-credibility News Publishers. Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media , 1.