There are two ways to support Bill O’Reilly with ad dollars. One is via his Fox cable television show, “The O’Reilly Factor.” The other is online at his website BillOReilly.com. Two of the advertisers that remain on the website are Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) and a Queens Boulevard dealer for Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) Lincoln luxury brand.
Several other advertisers continue to market at the O’Reilly website. These include the e-commerce sites of Pier 1, Air France, GoDaddy and Cisco’s Citrix. The trouble these advertisers and others face with sites like O’Reilly’s and ultra-conservative site Breitbart is that much of the advertising bought to reach consumers online is done via programmatic systems. These target advertisers through software systems that pick sites by their demographics as much as by their content. So an advertiser can be represented on a site without its knowledge. This was a factor early on with the Breitbart boycott.
The basic functions of programmatic advertising are not an iron-clad excuse, however. Advertisers and their agencies can block websites from programmatic ad purchases. For some reason, a local Lincoln dealer and Ralph Lauren, which is advertising to bring consumers to its online store, have not done so.
At least 50 advertisers have dropped their support for O’Reilly’s television program. 24/7 Wall St. published a list of most of them recently. The list includes large corporations Allstate, Bayer, BMW, Coldwell Banker and H&R Block. Advertisers began to withdraw after a New York Times story about five women who had received $13 million among them to settle charges of “sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.” Despite the growing accusations, viewership of O’Reilly’s show has remained high.
While a large number of advertisers have left O’Reilly’s television show, at least two continue to market their products at his website. The general public is left to puzzle why Lincoln of Queens Boulevard and Ralph Lauren, among others, have stuck with the conservative TV host.