Actually, We Don't Have Any Advertisers Much In The Way Of Advertisers

An ad has never been bought on The Consumerist. Those banner ads you see flickering all around? They’re run across the entire Gawker network. Nobody, to date, however, has bought any Consumerist-specific ads as such. If someone wanted to, we’re sure the Gawker ad team would welcome them with open arms.

Until then, just know we get a secret thrill every time we’re accused of, “doing it for the ad-revenue.”

CORRECTION: One time, Fast Food Nation bought ads for its theatrical release.
CORRECTION 2: Upon occasion, we’ve been the recipient of certain run-of-Gawker-network ads. SnorgTees, a “Gypsy Caravan” movie, and the Public Theater come to mind. And then there’s those Amazon ads. And the Google ads. But from what we’ve been told, the $ is negligible.

This is not to say we’re saints. Or immune to capitalism. Or that advertising is bad, or we wouldn’t accept it. Just that the gap between our editorial and our advertising is greater than might be readily apparent.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Transuranic says:

    hehehe… I think that a few times a day about you, Consumeristas. Just for the tingle I can make happen.

    I’ve blocked all the images on Gawker sites, anyway. For readability.

  2. godai says:

    Well since consumerist is more consumer based.

    And with a minimum purchase of $2k the consumers aren’t likely to buy any.

  3. JustAGuy2 says:

    1. You work for Gawker.
    2. Gawker sells ads. Ad revenues are driven by Gawker page views.
    3. The more Consumerist page views, the more Gawker page views, the more Gawker ad $.

  4. Ben Popken says:

    @JustAGuy2: 4. You’re wrong.

  5. Secularsage says:

    Is Consumerist OWNED by Gawker, or AFFILIATED with Gawker? There is a difference!

  6. boandmichele says:

    “what ads?” said the firefox users…

  7. Geekybiker says:

    Adblock FTW.

  8. JustAGuy2 says:

    How am I wrong? If you click on the ad portion of the site on the left ([]) you get pricing for advertising on the Gawker network. Pricing is by placement of ad, size of ad, and then by CPM. So, the more page views, the more ad revenue. In some way, that ad revenue filters down to Consumerist (at least to the degree that, if there are no page views, Gawker stops paying salaries).

  9. JustAGuy2 says:

    Heck, you’ve even got a profile for ad buyers:

  10. joemono says:

    @BEN: Could you explain how he’s wrong, instead of just saying “You’re wrong,” because that’s not a very good answer. Imagine a customer being told “you’re wrong,” without any explanation when they voice a complaint?

  11. Ncisfan says:

    The Bourne Ultimatum looks cool! Cant wait till’ it come out!

  12. mark duffy says:

    Power-on, Popken!!!

  13. Ben Popken says:

    @Secularsage: Owned.

    : @joemono: What ad revenue? There’s links to other Gawker blogs, our tshirt shop, public service announcements, showcased Gawker Artists, and links to other friendly sites (instructables, treehugger, etc), and whatnot.

  14. dbeahn says:

    You’re only getting a secret thrill because you want the ad revenue from getting secret thrills!


  15. Actually — everyone is wrong! :-)

    Ben, Fast Food Nation bought some space for their theatrical release one time

    JUSTAGUY2, with the U of Phoenix degree in advertising — advertisers get to *decide* which Gawker sites on which they want their ad to appear and would have it no other way

    We do think that maybe, just maybe, one day out in the future… some really great companies with outstanding offerings and stellar customer service would think that The Consumerist would be the *ultimate* place to differentiate themselves from the monopolists, govt sponsored enterprises, oligarchs and assorted corporate trolls we despise so…

  16. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Ben Popken:

    I stand (or sit) corrected. Just realized that all those ad slots don’t actually contain external ads. My apologies.

  17. JustAGuy2 says:

    @sales guy:

    First off, wow, you’ve clearly got the personality for sales.

    Secondly, are you saying that you don’t offer a “Gawker bucket” package where advertisers buy ads across the sites? Surprising.

  18. krunk4ever says:

    @Ben Popken: just on this page, I see PopGloss advertising boots, bags, jewelry, makeup, and sunglasses. Are you saying that’s a part of Gawker Media too?

    Plus are you denying that any non-gawker media related ads posted on this site doesn’t generate money for your site and/or gawker media (the ones who pay your pay check)?

  19. krunk4ever says:


    FYI: The PopGlass link points to: []

    You guys also apparently have ads.

    Or are you claiming that both and is part of Gawker Media?

    Here’s a screenshot I took:

  20. nightbird says:

    Why is it that the Amazon “featured items” box always seems to have an American Girl doll and a book about Starbucks?

  21. @JustAGuy2: You like my swagger? ;-)

    Yeah, a “Run of Network” bucket is absolutely on offer but no one wants it (currently). The readerships across our titles are very similar in terms of age, education, affluence, blah-blah but brand advertisers en masse don’t just buy audience online, they buy context – i.e. you most commonly see ads for entertainment on Defamer, technology on Gizmodo, etc.

    Maybe that changes over time, I don’t know..

  22. @nightbird: Pretty sure those are related to your Amazon browsing history (for example, right now I’m seeing ads for a book by Tristan Egolf, the upcoming Kanye West album, and a Motorola KRZR).

  23. smarty says:

    Snorgtees used to have ads run across this site and other gawker sites.

  24. nightbird says:

    @maura: I’m fairly certain that I’ve never looked at American Girl dolls, and I ‘m a bit wary to imagine what I’ve looked at that is linked to it. And, I’ve never looked at toys.

  25. dbeahn says:

    @krunk4ever: COMING SOON! Seekrit video expose of “some consumer blog” getting caught with ADS on it!

    I can’t say much more, but keep watching this space!!!

    Seriously guys, Ben goofed. So what? His point (I think) is that the people that run the blogs and decide what to post and what not to post have no contact with the revenue stream. Given that he blew this one so badly, according to “sales guy”, I’d say he’s made his point, even if not in the way he intended.

  26. chrisgoh says:

    I just had an ad for a movie that points here – [] Is that movie a gawker production?

  27. SmoovyG says:

    I’ve been seeing ads for Gypsy Caravan on Consumerist for a while now, and there’s one on this page as I type this – is that a Gawker film?

    Not that I really care one way or the other about Consumerist running ads. Just thought it was interesting to see what’s obviously an ad (good old running in a post about Consumerist not running ads.

  28. Kornkob says:

    Wasn’t there just an article about running away from people who claim to not have anything to do with production of revenue and are just doing the work out of the kindness of their hearts.

    Nope– you’re right— that’s not quite how it was put.

  29. leftistcoast says:

    hmm…why do I feel like media shills have multiplied like rabbits right now? Ben and Megan aren’t working for free, are they? I mean, we’re not talking “dollar a year men” here, are we?

    So what if you’re once removed from the stream of capital? I’m married, yet in school, which puts me one degree removed from my source of capital…doesn’t mean I’m not influenced or affected by my spouse’s income stream? Ever heard of an “awkward holiday party”? I rest my case.

    If you’re not selling it, you’re buying…and selling something else to pay for it.

    One strike, Ben.

  30. leftistcoast says:

    ps – who is this “Dbhean”, speaking of shills…Sorry if you’re really a person, DB. But I’m not down with apologists, particularly when they’re apologizing for short phrases like the N-word…or “You’re wrong”.

  31. cheesyfru says:

    How do the “Morning Deals” work? Are these truly cheap deals your staff has scoured, or are these promotional? Either way is fine by me, but some sort of disclaimer might be nice.

  32. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    Yeah, what’s the deal with those “deals” — please explain. I’ve always hoped they weren’t compensated endorsements, but I’ve quietly and sadly suspected that that is exactly what they are. If they are compensated endorsements — i.e., advertising — I strongly agree that a disclaimer is called for. Consumerist has done a lot of good in promoting transparency in business. This should of course be applied to itself as well.

  33. Ben Popken says:

    @cheesyfru: @ThinkAboutItPlease: Dealhack and Bargainist email us some deals to choose from. That’s the extent of the arrangement. The deals at the top I pick from looking around.

  34. dbeahn says:

    @leftistcoast: Speaking of paranoid wacko’s, it’s nice to see you too leftistcoast.

    Maybe you’d like to do some research before accusing people? All you have to do is click on my freaking name and look at the plethora of other comments I’ve left, and it should be pretty apparent that I’m not a “shill”.

    “Who is this Dbehan?(I’ll ignore that you didn’t even spell it right)”; What, you want me to post my name and phone number so you “know who I am”? I don’t see much identifying information about you in the name “leftistcoast”.

    I bet you’re just here to do damage control and PR for Nick Nolte, given that your sister married his cousin! OMG OMG It’s a PR shill posting! (See what you can find when you click on someone’s name and look at their commenting history?) Actually, in one of your early comments about Costco, you sound like a shill: “Costco is a great example of a socially responsible corporation, at least with regards to their internal structure and treatment of their employees.” Thanks for the PR pitch. Or perhaps you’re a shill for the sugarcane farmers? Here’s your quote: “Beyond that, corn is one of the most erosive and petro-product dependent crops grown in the US. Sugarcane is a much better choice for producing ethanol”. (please note I’m being a sarcastic ass here. I don’t REALLY think he’s a shill)

    Most of your posts indicate you’re likely an intelligent, educated person. I’m at a loss as to why you’d decide I’m a shill.

    Just as you (obviously) feel strongly that Costco is good, and that corn is a bad source for ethanol (both opinions based on the evidence available) I’m merely saying that based on what I’ve seen on this site over the months, I don’t think Ben or Megan are “only after the ad revenue”. I think Ben thought he was telling the truth when he said that, to the best of his knowledge (perhaps he should have done a little research as well…) there hadn’t been any “Consumerist” specific ads. If you don’t believe him, that is, of course, your right and opinion.

  35. dbeahn says:

    @ThinkAboutItPlease: I always thought the “daily deals” were just some cool links rounded up and posted. I happen to check about 20 different “deal of the day” sites every morning myself, and pass along links to anyone I know that is looking for something that there’s a deal on.

    Given that it’s always Ben (I’ve never noticed one posted by Meghann or Carey) that posts the morning deal links, I figured he, like me, checked a bunch of those sites every morning and just passed them along because he thought his readers might get some benefit from them.

    I do agree tho that if they are endorsements, then there should be some notice posted. They seem pretty scattered and random to be compensated tho. Really. Best Buy, Woot, Family Video, Tanga, National Geographic, Dell, Amazon, TCBY, Office Depot, Home Depot, American Express, and the list goes on. I just have a hard time believing that ALL of them have deals with Gawker for “morning deal” space.

  36. krunk4ever says:

    @dbeahn: I have no problems with a blog making money off ads as I have ads on my blog also.

    However, I do have a problem when someone tries to deceive their readers claiming that there’s really no ads on their site any banner you see if just part of the overall network/parent company/affiliations.

    I’ve noticed the 2nd correction that Ben’s posted and am happy he’s willing to admit that some of his original claims were incorrect.

  37. hypnotik_jello says:

    Ads? What ads? you mean you guys don’t use ad blockers?

  38. seawallrunner says:

    I was wondering when the Gawker artist lineup will be updated. I love the art, I really do – but it’s been the same for the last few months. Poland girl, man and woman looking suspiciously at me from a banner ad, a group of militant barbies… Cool stuff, but man it’s been the same for over a year.

    So, how can a new artist break on through into the Gawker network? Does Gawker hold auditions or calls for artist proposals?

  39. Ben Popken says:

    @seawallrunner: Check it out:

    Gawker Media offers free exposure in its remnant ad space to artists at its discretion. Please submit your work to for consideration with these specifications.

  40. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Maybe they should screen the artists submissions and serve up images that are appropriate for certain Gawker site. For example, this image would probably be more appropriate on Fleshbot or Jezebel. I’m not a square or anything, but I do read the Consumerist at work and an image like that might be misinterpreted by someone who passes by my cubicle.

  41. Michael says:

    @Ben Popken: What about the Amazon ads?

  42. leftistcoast says:


    I did check out your other postings prior to my comment last night, though only briefly to confirm that you were not a shill (hence the apology). However, let me apologize again for questioning your real-personhood. I was being sarcastic.

    That said, I still think it was Ben’s job to dig himself out of the hole he dug himself into (as he has since done admirably in this case, as in the past with “photo-gate”). I just just felt that your comment smacked of apologism at that juncture since Ben had yet to address this issue himself, much beyond the “You’re Wrong” comment. Just my opinion…

    Back to patronizing Costco w/my tinfoil hat on…

  43. Triteon says:

    Ben is letting himself off the hook through a loophole that, for any other company, he would have lobbed snarky comments and accusations through.

    I’ll take him at his word that The Consumerist, a blog that has a published rate card for potential advertisers (via which a link is provided with information to advertise across the Gawker network), has not taken advertising dollars exclusively. So they are certainly willing to take dollars specifically on this site. The rate card does not specify how ads are accepted (is there a S&P or legal department who approves creative) so it can be implied that everyone’s favorite companies (Monsanto, Wal-Mart, JetBlue) could very well buy ads on the site. How would readers feel about that?

    In the haze of this Friday morning I can imagine the headline as written about another company:
    (Tag: Lies) Blog has rate card and advertisements, but claims they have no advertisers Follow with Flickr pic of a kitty sitting under a billboard that reads “Advertise here”.

  44. dbeahn says:

    @leftistcoast: Dood! You wear a tinfoil hat? Me too!

  45. Kornkob says:

    @Triteon: Well said.

  46. banned says:

    Even if you did sell ads, whats the big deal? If I advertised here, knowing this site, I would expect to be treated the same as any other company, possible even more harshly. If you were to advertise here, as long as the stories are not influenced, then who really cares! Seeing how none of us are paying a dime, they do have to get paid.

  47. Ben Popken says:

    @Triteon: More like we’re making a small point instead of the large point some are trying to slag us for.

  48. @Geekybiker: I agree completely — what ads?

  49. Echodork says:

    Honestly, I don’t much care to hash out the corporate-bullshit differentiation between Consumerist-specific ads, Gawker ads, Adsense and whatever else. What I do know is that the Consumerist webpage has, in the past, run ads for some of the very companies their articles vilify. My best example was reading an article about Verizon’s horrible customer service, and being greeted by a shiny new Verizon ad hawking their latest promotion.

    I don’t have a problem with Consumerist drawing advertising dollars. I don’t think you’re selling out, necessarily… I hope you do advertise, so the site can prosper. However, being a site whose primary feature is consumer-friendly activism, I do expect you to manage the companies who grace your adspace. And it doesn’t make me feel better to know that Verizon bought a network-wide ad spot vs. a Consumerist-specific block. I don’t care about that. I care about the ad’s existence on the page.

    Conclusion: You don’t need to apologize for your advertising, or try to minimize it. Just manage it responsibly, and you’ve got me.

  50. Ben Popken says:

    @Echodork: We just write the words. We have no say over the ads that run. That’s completely up to the Gawker Media Network ad team.

  51. banned says:

    Who pays attention to the ads anyway? I despise advertisers and thus have learned how not to succomb to them. If people really learned how to ignore advertising, the industry would be screwed. Advertising should only work on children, adults should know better. People need to be a lot more critical when it comes to any media. The only times I pay attention to ads are for groceries, or something else I am in the market to purchase anyway, and movies.

  52. frogpelt says:



  54. Triteon says:

    @Ben Popken: More like we’re making a small point instead of the large point some are trying to slag us for.
    That makes sense…maybe my comments were injected into the middle of a conversation.

    @rocnrule: (My quick CV: 10-yr media veteran, in both buying and sales, and also as part of a third-party media consultancy; I’ve worked through multiple agencies [including a full-service agency], and television stations both directly and as a national rep. I work with numbers, not on the creative side.)

    Who pays attention to the ads anyway?…The only times I pay attention to ads are for groceries, or something else I am in the market to purchase anyway, and movies.
    The answer to your quesions is– you. The most immediately responsive advertising occurs when the message influences someone “in the market” already. (Since you’re buying a soda anyway, why not try….)
    The secondary value of advertising is keeping a product or service “top of mind.” (I need a car…I think Brand X is a good vehicle.)

    I despise advertisers…
    You may despise the advertisers but you’re still buying their products and services.

    …and thus have learned how not to succomb to them.
    No you haven’t, you’re just conscious of being influenced when you want to be influenced. For reference, please read your own words.

    Advertising should only work on children, adults should know better.
    I hope your parnets know you’re on the internet.

    If people really learned how to ignore advertising, the industry would be screwed.
    There’s a lot of talk about this in the industry, and I haven’t yet formed a solid opinion. I will say this (note the date because I reserve the right to change my opinion in the future): I doubt it. In my experience truly creative minds are excellent at not only producing commerical images but are equally as adept in understanding media, how it is consumed and how to use the media to reach consumers. Take the revived use of product placement for example; this is a very old concept in terms of mass media, but has been used in more subtle ways over the past several years.

    People need to be a lot more critical when it comes to any media.
    This is a statement I can agree with.

  55. banned says:

    I think you’ve grossly misinterpreted my statements. When I say in the market, I mean big purchase items like a car, and even then, I seek out the advertising, I don’t allow it to come to me. Also, no amount of soda ads will make me buy one. Having no ads for a brand I am loyal to will not make me forget I like it better.
    I won’t lie and say I don’t buy extra groceries on impulse, but thats usually because I’m high.
    Yes I buy their products, unfortunately every company with money advertises and unless I choose to buy privately, or used, its unavoidable.
    Sure if I see a restaurant ad, I may get hungry, but not for them. When I read a magazine, or the newspaper, or come here, or see billboards, I do not take the time to read the ads. I see its an ad, and I instantly stop looking, by habit. When I watch tv ads, I tune them out.
    I am not against advertising as a whole. How else would I know certain products even existed. There’s a difference between “Hey, look at this new product” and “Buy this, Buy this, Buy this”. When it comes to advertisers treating us like sheep, thats where I take offence and tune out, or worse, specifically target them to assure I do not buy their products, ever. (ie Wal-Mart)
    I’m sure you are right that advertisers would figure out new ways to get to us.

  56. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    @Ben Popken: Are you compensated in any way by Dealhack or Bargainist?

    Dealhack appears to me to very much a commercial, rather than public-service, site. Their Contact Us statement includes this statement: “If you represent a company and wish to discuss working with us, send an email to”

    Bargainist is little less obviously commercial, but its own Contact Us page includes this statement: “If you’re interested in advertising on The Bargainist, or have another business related question, please contact our publishing team at Dejarik Media.”

    I think it’s a reasonable deduction that both sites make money from advertising. In the case of Dealhack, it looks like all of their content, itself, is advertising. And whether any of the stuff on either site is a “deal” or a “bargain” should always be seriously questioned. Anybody can jack up a price 30%, have a 30% off sale, and call it a “deal” or a “bargain.” You know what I’m saying?

    The whole “Morning Deals” feature as such makes me uncomfortable because I’m not sure the alleged “deals” are really being researched, and it might be rather arbitrarily lining people’s pockets. Or if it is not arbitrary, i.e., Ben or Consumerist is paid somehow (directly or indirectly) for these placements, then I’d say there needs to be a disclaimer.

    I, for one, wouldn’t miss it if the Morning Deal feature were scrapped entirely. Another argument is that it supports consumption for consumption’s sake — I know people who suddenly have a “need” for something when there is an alleged “deal” on it. Indeed, I imagine a Morning Deal feature rather heartens credit card companies, and not for pro-consumer reasons.

  57. forever_knight says:

    @GroceriesCart: that “bust” was pretty lame. plus, the ensuing media whoring done about it. :(