Unknowing Brands Fuel AI Spam: A Digital Quagmire

Unknowing Brands Fuel AI Spam: A Digital Quagmire

Table of Content

Major brands unknowingly running ads on AI-generated spam sites, exacerbating the plague of unreliable information on the web.

Key Takeaways:

  • Over 140 brands are unknowingly running ads on AI-generated spam sites, as revealed by NewsGuard.
  • Programmatic Google Ads contribute to this issue, inadvertently benefiting low-quality, bot-infused websites.
  • Google’s policy towards AI-generated content presents a double-edged sword, potentially damaging its core search business while it also contributes to the problem.

Major Brands Unwittingly Power AI-Generated Spam Sites: An Analysis

The digital advertising landscape is witnessing an unforeseen entanglement. More than 140 major brands are inadvertently powering low-quality, AI-generated websites filled with bot-produced content. This recent revelation is from an investigative report by NewsGuard, a media watchdog that tracks the credibility of online content.

Brands in the Mire

Imagine this: you’re casually browsing AlaskaCommons.com and stumble across an article penned by “Chelsea Waller”, a self-proclaimed “dedicated journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth.” A line in one of her pieces catches your attention: “As an AI language model, I cannot predict whether or not John Wick 4 is going to be a finale of a saga that will be remembered for years to come.”

This website is among numerous others, detected by NewsGuard, where top-tier brands like Citigroup and Subaru are unintentionally featuring ads. Such websites are notorious for churning out low-quality, AI-generated content. Google claims to have purged ads from many such platforms, but the spots remain conspicuous on others.

The Deceit of Programmatic Google Ads

This unanticipated entanglement stems from the widespread use of programmatic Google ads. This automated ad placement system may inadvertently benefit these bot-infested websites. Even as advertisers remain oblivious, these spam-infused sites capitalize on their content and profit from running ads alongside them.

Some sites on NewsGuard’s radar publish staggering volumes of content weekly. World-Today-News.com, for instance, not only rehashes articles from The New York Times but also displays AI-generated headlines. Ironically, ads found their way to such stories too.

A Vortex of Misinformation

MedicalOutline.com, another notorious player, spews health misinformation while hosting ads for big names like Subaru, Citigroup, and GNC. The site promotes dubious content like “What are 5 natural remedies for ADHD?” and “Can lemon cure skin allergy?”

Google’s AI Content Quandary

Though Google prohibits ads on spammy, auto-generated content, its control seems to be slipping. This is evident in Google’s conflict surrounding AI content. On one hand, the flooding of automatically generated content threatens the credibility of its core search business. However, outright rejection of AI-generated content would be a double standard, given Google’s large-scale integration of AI text into search.

Newsguard’s findings are a wake-up call for advertisers and tech companies alike. As AI tools grow in sophistication, detection of such spam becomes increasingly challenging. Nevertheless, the demand for better monitoring, regulation, and countermeasures for AI-generated content on the digital advertising landscape has never been more urgent.


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Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.