Gannett Co., Inc. issued a response to a report published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which suggested that Gannett had deliberately shared false information with advertisers over nine months.
Gannett sincerely regrets accidentally passing the wrong data parameter. This human error was immediately corrected when the company discovered the problem on its own. The data parameter issue was caused by a cache error when the company made changes to the way publisher data was passed to ad exchanges.
It’s important to note that revenue from third-party programmatic ad exchanges that may have used the relevant data metric totaled less than $10 million during the affected period. In addition, none of Gannett’s digital direct sales ads or Gannett programmatic direct sales ads were affected.
No user-level data was affected and there was no impact on geospecific ad placement or user data targeting, and in all cases, the ads remained on the USA TODAY NETWORK website. Only selected exchanges have adopted this specification, significantly reducing the potential impact. Likewise, Gannett believes that the number of advertisers affected by this flaw was nominal relative to Gannett’s overall programmatic advertising universe.
Gannett has thoroughly reviewed the product quality assurance program and is implementing procedures to ensure that such an error does not occur in the future.