NewsGuard and IPG Mediabrands expand partnership to help advertisers in the U.S. and Europe advertise on trustworthy news sites while avoiding misinformation

Expanded Partnership Will Enable Brands to Find Valuable Inventory on Trusted News Sites While Excluding Domains that Publish False News

(November 18, 2020—London and New York City) Brands and advertisers working with IPG Mediabrands are getting access to a new layer of protection to help them advertise on trusted news sources while avoiding misinformation, thanks to a newly expanded partnership between Mediabrands and the team of journalists at NewsGuard

The new partnership expands NewsGuard’s work with Mediabrands  from the U.K., where the two companies have partnered since late last year, now to include the U.S., France, Germany, and Italy as well.

NewsGuard, which deploys journalists to issue transparent trust ratings for thousands of news and information websites, has licensed its database of credibility data to Mediabrands for all of the news and information sites that account for 95% of engagement with online news. Mediabrands clients can use the data, which is constantly updated as sites are reviewed and assessed based on nine journalistic criteria, to help inform decisions about which news and information websites are included in programmatic ad placements.

NewsGuard’s journalists assess each site based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, resulting in a trust score of 0-100 for each site. NewsGuard certifies trustworthy sites with a “Green” rating and flags sites that fail to adhere to basic journalistic standards with “Red” ratings. 

Through the partnership, Mediabrands clients gain the ability to use both sets of data—the Green and Red lists—to place ads on trusted news sites and avoid ad placements on misinformation sites. 

The result is a dramatic expansion of the available options and reach Mediabrands clients will have in seeking to have their ads appear on carefully vetted news and information websites. Mediabrands clients will be able to expand their campaigns to include valuable, high-engagement inventory from the thousands of domains NewsGuard has verified are associated with news organizations that are generally credible, from small local newspapers and television statements to digital-only sources to niche blogs and magazines. 

For example, one Mediabrands client with access to NewsGuard’s Green list now has access to more than 1,800 domains that have extremely high trust scores of 80 or above but that were not yet on the client’s curated allow list for news. The additional Green list sites include 692 domains with perfect 100% NewsGuard scores.

Mediabrands clients will have the option to reduce reliance on “keyword blocklists,” the common practice of excluding programmatic advertising based on articles that include words such as “COVID-19” and “elections” out of concern that these stories may contain misinformation and hoaxes. Keyword blocklisting has resulted in a majority of page views for generally trustworthy news publishers such as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal being deemed brand unsafe. By using NewsGuard’s ratings, advertisers can now reduce reliance on keyword blocklisting for top Green-rated sites, returning much-needed revenue to support journalism while expanding reach for marketing messages.

“We are excited to be able to offer our clients high-quality news inventory with engaged audiences with the confidence that the news sites they advertise on are trustworthy and professional,” said Joshua Lowcock, Chief Digital Officer, UM & Global Brand Safety Officer, Mediabrands. “Our partnership with NewsGuard has already helped expand the scope of quality inventory available while ensuring ads remain in brand-safe and brand-suitable environments.”

The data will also help brands remove their ads from sites that regularly publish false content or distort facts—such as sites publishing conspiracy theories, hoaxes, state-sponsored disinformation, or other forms of false news. For example, NewsGuard has flagged hundreds of domains that have repeatedly published COVID-19 misinformation—such as false cures, conspiracy theories about the virus’ origins, or inaccurate claims about its severity—in its COVID-19 Misinformation Tracking Center. 

NewsGuard’s process, which relies on human intelligence rather than machine learning to detect misinformation, ensures that brands will remain safe from even the most convincing forms of misinformation.

“Unlike other brand-unsafe categories like violence or pornography, misinformation is impossible to detect with AI solutions alone,” said NewsGuard Co-CEO Steven Brill. “But Mediabrands clients will now be able to access our detailed, transparent rating data from trained journalists to expand the inventory of trusted news sites they’re able to advertise on—and to avoid inadvertently funding misinformation or disinformation through programmatic ad placements.


About NewsGuard

Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites. NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, HealthGuard, and BrandGuard, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, and the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top hoaxes.

NewsGuard rates each site based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, including whether a site repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, and whether it avoids deceptive headlines. It awards weighted points for each criterion and sums them up; a score of less than 60 earns a “Red” rating, while 60 and above earns a “Green” rating, which indicates it is generally reliable. 

NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels can be licensed by internet service providers, browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms in order to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can access these ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs $2.95/month and includes access to NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and its mobile app for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft, and NewsGuard’s ratings can also be accessed free through the Edge mobile browser. Hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.


  • Steven Brill, Co-CEO, steven.brill@newsguardtech.com, +1 212-332-6301
  • Gordon Crovitz, Co-CEO, gordon.crovitz@newsguardtech.com, +1 212-332-6407
  • Matt Skibinski, General Manager, matt.skibinski@newsguardtech.com, +1 973-818-4698
  • Carter Stone, VP of Partnerships, carter.stone@newsguardtech.com +1 646-637-2932