The recent U.S. presidential election spurred an intense debate over the influence of news sites that target more politically conservative readers, reports New York startup Mezzobit. While the media has been filled with arguments on both sides that focus on these sites’ content, Mezzobit said it set out to understand the technology that powers the Internet “without regard to political stripe.”

“We decided to compare mainstream media (MSM) destinations against these sites, which we’ll call opinionated news (ON) sites, to answer the following question: Is there a noticeable difference in the advertising, marketing and publishing tech that powers these two types of properties?”

The answer ended up being yes.

The Mezzobit study, as reported in an AP story appearing in The Sun, stated in part:

Mezzobit’s site scanning platform examined each site and catalogued all first- and third-party code loaded into the browser, which includes ad units, analytics beacons, images, tracking pixels, Flash, media files and the like. We scanned sites from last-mile network locations in the U.S. to simulate what end users would observe.

Mezzobit also compared code signatures of these tags against a database of nearly 10,000 patterns to determine which companies owned which technology. In total, Mezzobit analyzed more than 25,000 objects in this study.

“Our core finding was that MSM sites employed almost twice as much third-party technology as ON sites. Nowhere in our data did we detect patterns on either list of sites that suggested questionable or nefarious activities, such as increased malware or site hijacking,” the report stated.

The full analysis, including infographics, is available on the Mezzobit blog.

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