They are responding to straightforward economic incentives: As Facebook regularly reveals in earnings reports, a US Facebook user is worth about four times a user outside the US.
The fraction-of-a-penny-per-click of US display advertising — a declining market for American publishers — goes a long way in Veles.
For example, the most successful post Buzz Feed News found from a Macedonian site is based on a story from a fake news website.
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These sites open a window into the economic incentives behind producing misinformation specifically for the wealthiest advertising markets and specifically for Facebook, the world's largest social network, as well as within online advertising networks such as Google Ad Sense."Yes, the info in the blogs is bad, false, and misleading but the rationale is that 'if it gets the people to click on it and engage, then use it,'" said a university student in Veles who started a US politics site, and who agreed to speak on the condition that Buzz Feed News not use his name.
Using domain name registration records and online searches, Buzz Feed News identified over 100 active US politics websites being run from Veles.
Over the past year, the Macedonian town of Veles (population 45,000) has experienced a digital gold rush as locals launched at least 140 US politics websites.
These sites have American-sounding domain names such as World Politicus.com, Trump Vision365.com, USConservative Today.com, Donald Trump News.co, and USADaily
US politics is just this year's opportunity, thanks to a combination of Trump and Facebook."I stopped because I didn't really enjoy doing it and we didn't actually make any money from it since there are so many people posting already," the university student said.