If you’re one of my millions of avid readers, then you’ll no doubt remember me mentioning this ad a couple weeks ago:
I was presented with that ad when trying to view a story on a local news source via a Facebook link. I couldn’t read the story whatsoever. I was unable to go back. I couldn’t even close the window without force-closing my Facebook app. The ad basically took over the app and that’s a very frustrating and helpless feeling. I stated at the end of that blog post that I did a little more research and discovered that super intrusive and malicious ads like this one aren’t necessarily approved by the sites that host them. In all actuality, sites hate the fact that those types of ads get through to their visitors.
This article from Vox does a good job of explaining why the ad provider (Google Ad Manager, in their case) is technically responsible for the ads that display on the website you’re looking at, not the owner of the page. The ad provider receives bids from advertisers for available ad spots on a given site and posts the highest bidder’s ads within seconds after you first start to load the page. Sometimes the winning advertisers are scumbags that embed code into their ads that wait a few seconds before triggering a redirect to another site that traps you and forces you to either enter information that they will use to scam you out of money or will force you to close the app. Hopefully you choose the latter.
Now, most of these ads are fairly harmless as long as you don’t click or tap on anything but any time you come across anything on the internet that seems fishy, it’s just best practice to clear your history, data, and cookies on your device just to be safe.
If you think you have fallen victim to a scam or have reason to believe your device has a virus, please reach out to us right away so we can help to minimize the damage caused.
I would also ask that if you have any questions about something you’ve seen on the internets or have an idea for one of these amazingly well-written blog posts, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.