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G/O Media in autoplay, sound-on video ad stand-off with its newsbrands

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By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

October 29, 2019 | 3 min read

Recently formed media stable G/O Media is in a standoff with its news brands over its use of autoplay ads on its sites.

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G/O Media in autoplay ad stand-off with its media brands

G/O Media Inc, the owner of Gizmodo, Jezebel, AVClub, Deadspin, Jalopnik, Lifehacker, Kotaku, The Root, The Onion and Clickhole was formed in 2019 when private equity firm Great Hill Partners bought the Gizmodo Media group from Univision. It describes itself as ‘the heartbeat of next’ and claims to “attract the largest audience of 18-44 year-olds available anywhere”.

On Monday, Deadspin Staff posted an article addressing complaints addressing its autoplay, sound-on ads. It said that staff agrees with reader complaints and urged them to complain to the management at G/O Media. Many other sites in the network ran the story too before they were reportedly removed without notice.

The autoplay ads have long been a point of derision, even last year Sam Biddle of Gizmodo opened an article “if you think the auto-play commercials on sites like ours are annoying”…

The GMG Union has been keep track of the incident. It tweeted: “The GMG Union has been informed that posts across our websites asking for reader feedback on an autoplay ad campaign were taken down by management.

It reshared the version shared on Deadspin.

It comes at a time when the PE company is in the spotlight, weeks after shutting Splinter and urging Deadspin to stick to sports coverage.

After the acquisition it said it reaches more than a third of all Americans online each month, attracting approximately 100 million unique visitors.

At the time, group leader Jim Spanfeller expressed an urge to “further expand our reach, add value to our advertisers and enrich our visitors’ lives”.

Spanfeller is a past chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and a longtime executive board member of Digital Content Next (DCN).

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