Resource Center





The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.

These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center.




Search results for "online advertising" ...

  • Company's Choice Made Cars Less Safe

    General Motors removed the side airbags, at request of fleet customers, from the standard package Impalas to save money for these fleet customers. In doing so, they risked the safety of thousands of people. Enterprise Rent-A-Car was one of these fleet customers, who bought “65,000 vehicles” knowing that the airbags had been removed. Enterprise not only rented these out, but also sold them online using false advertising. After this was revealed, Enterprise and many car dealerships issued apologies and bought back these vehicles above book value.

    Tags: automobiles; cars; Chevy; used cars; safety feature; consumers; transportation; restraint system; build sheet; auto safety

    By Rick Montgomery; Dan Margolies

    Star (Kansas City, Mo.)


  • Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

    Many local business owners began to believe something bizarre was happening when sales reps from offered to remove negative reviews off of the website. The only way the negative reviews could be removed was if the local businesses would advertise with Yelp. If the business owners refused the offer, they began noticing positive reviews disappearing.

    Tags: local business owners; sales representatives; reviews; San Francisco; website; advertising; online; Internet; companies; businesses; Jeremy Stoppelman; Russel Simmons

    By Kathleen Wentz (formerly Kathleen Richards)

    East Bay Express (Emeryville, Calif.)


  • Who's in the Driver's Seat at Motor Vehicles

    The online traffic school,, had exclusive advertisement in Florida's Official Driver's Handbook through the Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department. The traffic school was also in charge of printing the booklet, offering it free on line but charging taxpayers for shipping. WTVT found that Fred Dickinson's, the executive director of the DHSMV, wife was a lobbyist for the National Safety Commission which operates the traffic school. She later resigned her position when Gov. Jeb Bush criticized the Dickinsons for the conflict of interest.

    Tags: motor vehicles; conflict of interest; state government; National Safety Commission; Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; traffic schools; lobbying; Fred Dickinson; Sherry Dickinson; driver's handbook

    By Doug Smith; Lisa Blegen; Craig Davisson

    WTVT-TV (Tampa, Fla.)


  • The Dark Side of the Internet

    Sparked by a report that U.S. companies were "supplying cops (in China) with databases, software and hardware needed to track criminals and dissidents", Business Week looks into the many "dark corners of Internet commerce." Click fraud, spyware, online advertising, identity thieves using "virtual currency" are all covered in this series of stories.

    Tags:; Direct Revenue; identity theft; online advertising; click fraud; spyware

    By Brian Grow; Ben Elgin; Bruce Einhorn;

    Business Week


  • The Deal Makers

    An investigation by the Washington Post revealed that America Online "was using a series of unconventional transactions to sustain the appearance of breakneck growth in ad revenue" -- even after the Internet boom subsided and it merged with Time Warner. " Time Warner executives were "mesmerized by the hundreds of millions of dollars in online advertising pouring into AOL ... (and) even when the bubble popped and dot-coms collapsed, AOL continued to report record-breaking growth in ad revenue, reinforcing its image as the medium of the future and overwhelming any second thoughts from Time Warner shareholders and employees." What Time Warner didn't know was that, "among other things, AOL turned legal disputes into ad deals, converted long-term contracts into one-time balloon payments, shifted revenue from one division to another, bartered ads for computer equipment and sold ads on behalf of eBay while booking all the sales as its own... (The) stories immediately prompted two federal investigations of AOL Time Warner."

    Tags: America Online; AOL; Time Warner; AOL Time Warner; Enron; advertising revenue; merger; balloon payments; contracts; Internet boom; dot-coms

    By Alec Klein

    Washington Post


  • Experts call Comcast Internet software invasive

    An investigation by the Ann Arbor News revealed that Internet service provider Comcast was using "spyware" to capture the sites customers visited. The Philadelphia-based company said it was only using that information to improve their service by storeing the most popular sites on the Internet. "But the lengthy privacy statement that customers must sign clearly showed the company had the right to share (customers) online habits with third parties, such as marketing organizations," despite Comcasts assertions that it wouldn't use that information to selectively advertise to Web users.

    Tags: Comcast; Internet service provider; information; popular; spyware; privacy statement; online habits; selective advertising

    By Scott Anderson

    News (Ann Arbor


  • On-Line Solicitors: Tangled Web

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy examines 'one-stop' charity websites, mostly run by for-profit companies. The story reveals that many charities are leery to authorize the on-line solicitors to raise money in their behalf because of the lack of applicable regulation. A major question is whether the websites qualify as professional solicitors under existing state laws. "Most state charity officials say that since there has been no outcry from donors, they are content leave on-line fund-raisers alone," the Chronicle reports.

    Tags: nonprofit; professional solicitors; Internet; computers; courts; donations; advertisement; fund raising

    By Paul Demko

    Chronicle of Philanthropy (Washington, D.C.)


  • Click Here for Britney

    Washington Monthly looks at the efforts of AOL to muscle its way into online journalism. "Chances are ... that AOL's definition of the public interest does not quite jibe with that of consumer advocates," reports the magazine. The story addresses concerns that the company may not be "committed to a clear separation between editorial and advertorial content", may not provide "unbiased coverage of its own financial interests", or may be unable to strike a balance between the vital and the trivial in the news.

    Tags: advertisement; commerce; Gerald Levin; Jonathan Sacks; Time Warner; editors; reporters; Internet; entertainment; business; objectivity

    By Brendan I. Koerner

    Washington Monthly


  • On-Line Filters

    A WFXT-TV investigation of on-line filters designed to block children's access to certain inappropriate websites reveals that they don't work as well as they're advertised. "As it turns out, filters aren't all that effective and the software companies don't advertise that fact. So parents may not be paying attention to where their kids surf on the web, thinking that filters are keeping them out of adult web sites."

    Tags: TAPE; TRANSCRIPT filters; on-line; websites; internet; computers; pornography

    By Deborah Sherman

    WFXT (Dedham, MA)


  • No title (id: 13085)

    A Marin Institute study looks at the problem of unregulated advertising in Cyberspace. As alcohol advertisers search for creative ways to reach younger audiences, more underage children are finding alcohol billboards on the Internet that inform them how to join on-line beer and wine tastings, receive free alcohol paraphernalia, color a liquor ad and keep it as a computer screen saver, and even order alcohol. Congress has ignored the problem in its latest bill on telecommunications and responsible advertisers fear that even if Congress implements stricter regulations within the United States aggressive advertisers will simply put their alcohol and tobacco pages on the Internet from countries outside the United States.(Spring 1995)

    Tags: Pertschuk Federal Communications Commission World Wide Web 12 pgs.

    By None

    Marin Institute (San Rafael, Calif.)