Majority of positive LGBT content is flagged 'brand unsafe'

Advertisers are often stopped from buying ads on safe websites due to inaccurate keyword blocking.

Brand safety is an important issue – and a big concern for advertisers today - but a lot of content being penalized from receiving ad dollars due to incorrect keyword blocking, including terms like "lesbian" or "same sex marriage," according to new research.

A new report named "How Keyword Blacklists Are Killing Reach and Monetization," conducted by autonomous brand safety company CHEQ, found that 73 percent of safe stories on LGTB web sites are incorrectly flagged as brand unsafe.

Slightly more (75 percent) of safe history content is also being blocked, with words like "shooter," which could be referring to a basketball game, being marked as brand unsafe.

"Ever since brand safety became a top concern for leading advertisers, we've seen the growing use of keyword blacklists as the prime filtration tool. While this can be an effective solution for ensuring brands avoid unsavory content, it has now become a peril - as more and more legitimate content is denied ad-dollars every day," said Guy Tytunovich, CEO of CHEQ.

Keyword blacklists used to include a few dozen "egregious words at the most," he added, and now they span thousands of words.

"The problem is, keyword blocking is too blunt a tool to mitigate these threats and the collateral damage is proving too great," said Tytunovich.

According to the report, about 93 percent of publishers say brand safety solutions are hurting their revenues through over-blocking.

What’s the solution? Advertisers need to take a stand and demand blacklists get put out of us, advises Tyunovich.

"Once the industry decides to retire this practice, more and more ad-verification companies will begin developing smarter technological solutions which better understand content and get the job done without all the collateral damage," he said.

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