Brand Protection is NOT About The Domain You Run On

Being concerned about brand protection in display advertising makes sense - after all, who wants to place an ad against questionable content?

And there are many horror stories from over the years to scare the marketer, including the

jet ski

company who ran ads against an obituary for a sports star who died during a

jet skiing

accident during a vacation, or the UK telecoms brand who appeared alongside pro-Nazi messaging.

The screenshot here was taken just a few moments ago and shows an article about the finding of the Air France plane that crashed, and up at the top is an ad from


showing how reward points can be used for trips to Paris.

And hands up, in a former life I worked on simultaneous campaigns for a retailer and for a travel client that both saw ads appear against a photo article 'covering' the newly invented naked sport of


(think Curling but...).

It happens, and in response marketers specify certain criteria in their media buys such as


1000, no adult, no gaming etc. But actually they are missing the point, simply because they probably do not know better, and partly because if something goes wrong they can tell their bosses that they followed industry best practices.

But the media world has changed - no longer do we target ads by domain, we tend to target individuals. Take intent marketing techniques like


for instance.


only cares about who it is talking to, not necessarily where.

Specifying rules like


500 limits the ability of the program to succeed and does not actually protect you.

Let's go back to the


/ Air France ad again. The ad is on a major Canadian news portal, a domain that appears in most '


' lists because of size and scale. But even still, here we are with a problem.

Simply, it is not the domain, the sub-domain or even the network. It is the content. And that content could be news and more commonly, it could be user generated content.

So the answer is to educate yourself on the alternatives, of which there are primarily two that I have experience with -




. With these tools the emphasis shifts from blocking sites and moves to inspecting content before the ad loads, a much more logical solution in the current world of buying media.

Noob Guide Infographic (and check out this blog over here...)

Awkward Wedding Photos!