As Quartz’s publisher, I want to share some year-end thoughts about our approach to advertising here. When we launched back in September 2012, we had a clean canvas to paint on, which meant we were unshackled from so many of the conventions that vexed other media companies trying to find their footing on the internet. We wanted to avoid perpetuating the frustrations we all encountered daily as the result of bad design, janky tech, and crass commercial interruptions. We were—and have remained—deeply committed to the best experience for you, our users.
Many of our innovations and experiments across the web, email, and apps have been chronicled in the trade media that covers our industry. We hope it’s apparent how committed we are to providing you with credible, interesting, and important information in as frictionless and enjoyable a way as possible.
All along, that commitment to user experience has been energetically pursued in our approach to the primary way in which we fund Quartz: advertising.
The way advertising is planned, bought, and delivered has been as disrupted as any corner of the economy. If you really want to understand it more, you can read here and here. In a bygone era, advertisers wished to align with and support what they perceived as quality content in order to connect more deeply with the audiences for that content. At some level, there was an understanding that advertisers genuinely supported content that audiences loved. This could theoretically open hearts and minds to the advertiser’s message.
That idea has eroded as advertising moved away from buying and supporting specific media to buying target audiences through automated auctions that aggregate hundreds of thousands of websites in order to make buying those audiences more efficient. At the same time, it has led to many of the insidious examples of blue-chip companies supporting fake news or otherwise questionable content they’ve allowed algorithms to place their ads alongside. It is also the reason you see irrelevant ads offering discounts on durable goods you just purchased and ads sprouting up all over your screen, incessantly interrupting you.
The commercial team at Quartz has been very deliberate about not working with open automated advertising exchanges because we know it risks eroding the user experience and the trust you put in us. In order to advertise on Quartz, a brand and its ad agency has to work directly with our ad team and, in fact, customize their ads to fit our design. In other words, the advertisers on Quartz have chosen specifically and deliberately to support Quartz. They believe that you, our audience, are worth their time, money, and respect.
That makes these companies unique and particularly worthy of Quartz’s gratitude. And, I hope, of yours, too. If you enjoy the fine work of our journalists, designers, and engineers, who strive earnestly every day to provide you with credible, useful, and entertaining content in packages that surprise and delight you, if you appreciate our efforts to not assail you with terrible ad experiences, please join me in thanking these advertisers and ad agencies who have bought into that mission as well, and brought Quartz to you throughout 2017: