Brand safety has suddenly become a hot topic. Because America, the world’s largest advertising market, has been divided into two camps by the 2016 election, the news industry and the nature of its content have taken center stage. Suddenly brands are concerned again about where their ads appear — a concern that had seemed to evaporate as the industry moved to programmatic buying, exchanges, and networks.

Traditionally, certain brands specified that they didn’t want their ads on mature sites, or in the case of the airline industry, next to stories about plane crashes. That all changed when real time bidding came on the scene. Because programmatic held the promise of reach at scale to selected audiences, buyers stopped focusing on exactly where their ads were seen.

No more.

Today another 100 brands withdrew their advertising from Breitbart, the news and politics website known for its association with hate groups and the “alt-right.”  Breitbart is the 175th most visited site in the US, and the 106th most visited news site; it had 108 million unique visitors in the last six months. But TMobile, Lufthansa, and Visa are among an alleged 1250 brands that now refuse to be seen on the site.

The pressure is being brought on the brands by a group called Sleeping Giants, which posted a spreadsheet of publications that have blocked Breitbart from their media plans. In response to that pressure, Kellogg last year said it would no longer advertise on Breitbart, and Breitbart responded by telling its readers to boycott Kellogg’s. However, Sleeping Giants, whose Twitter profile says it is “trying to stop racist websites by stopping their ad dollars. Many companies don’t even know it’s happening. It’s time to tell them.” The group encourages its supporters to screenshot a brand’s ad next to a piece of questionable content and send it to the brand with a polite note encouraging it to keep its advertising off sites the group believes are racist.

Is this a tempest in a teapot? Of course not. Brands are spending millions, sometimes billions, to reach consumers and impress them favorably, and lack of awareness of where their ads are appearing could cost them dearly. Today’s consumer is empowered to vote with her wallet, and brands can’t take the chance that their ad spend goes anywhere socially or politically contentious.

Which is why ZEDO has partnered with  3rd party vendor AmplifyReach, which categorizes publisher URLs to get the contextual category of each URL along with its brand safety score. It’s just another way that we help you accurately target ads with the right content to the right kind of audience, and make sure that your premium brand does not show up on low quality content.  We also use your own white lists, but this is an extra added layer of protection, and is all part of our one-stop shop.