What you need to know in advertising today

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The price tag was the first clue that a once high-flying digital-media startup was in serious trouble.

In early December, Mashable agreed to sell itself to Ziff Davis – owner of an assortment of digital-media brands including PCMag and Askmen.com – for a reported $50 million.

That was a steep discount for a company that had been valued at as much as $250 million in a fundraising round just last year.

Shareholder documents reviewed by Business Insider help explain why the fire sale was necessary. The documents relate to the sale agreement and paint a bleak picture of a company that had failed to meet its own outsized expectations and was heavily exposed to a reckoning in digital advertising.

To read more about Mashable’s financial troubles, click here.

In other news:

John Skipper has unexpectedly resigned as president of ESPN, citing substance addiction. Skipper had been president of ESPN since 2012.

About.com had become a web relic, so its owner blew it up – and now it’s enjoying a surge in revenue. Since relaunching as six distinct new sites, the publisher, now known as Dotdash, has seen revenue jump 40% in the fourth quarter, with ad revenue expected to net out at $20 million.

An ad agency is trying to ‘standardize the Wild West of social media’ after a year of brand safety blow-ups. The media buying shop OMD has partnered with the data tech firm Influential to develop a way to grade social-media influencers.

Facebook removed 3 million videos, posts and ads that violated copyright in the first half of the year. The company included intellectual property-based takedown requests for the first time in its semi-annual Transparency report.

HQ Trivia was getting ready to raise money at a $100 million valuation, but some investors are reportedly backing off after learning about a founder’s ‘creepy’ behavior. The company is hoping to raise money at a $100 million valuation.

Twitter suspended Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen in a massive hate purge.President Trump was widely criticized in November for retweeting anti-Muslim videos from Fransen.

The CMO of HP says marketers should aim to bring a divided country back together. According to Antonio Lucio, marketers must not hesitate to take a stand in meaningful ways on social issues.

MoonPie is brutally roasting people who insult the snack on Twitter. This weekend, the brand got into two Twitter battles with critics of the snack.

Check out Business Insider’s 10 Best Ads as well as 10 Worst Ads of 2017.

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