Readers Reporting Auto Redirecting Ads on Mobile


PetaPixel is a free-to-read blog, so we rely almost entirely on advertising to stay in business. In the past couple of weeks, however, readers have been reporting intrusive and annoying ads that redirect you to other websites while reading PetaPixel on mobile.

No, these are not intentional. We never allow things like pop-ups, pop-unders, ads that auto-play audio, or ads that redirect elsewhere.

Shady redirect ads have become a major problem in the online publishing industry over the past few years, and they’ve invaded many of the largest ad networks, including Google (which PetaPixel uses). There are many news articles about the problem from 2014, 2015, and 2016.

We’re working hard with Google to figure out which ad buyers are inserting the redirect ads, which are against Google’s policies, but tracking down the sources can be a very difficult process. For now, we’re disabled the Google ad network entirely to hopefully clear up the problem while we attempt to kill it at the source.

So, if you read PetaPixel on your phone or tablet, you may be seeing some blank ads in the near future as we work on this. We’re super sorry if you’ve experienced the redirect ads yourself — just know that we do our best to respect our readers and would never serve you that type of thing in order to make an extra buck.

Thanks so much for reading PetaPixel and sticking with us through this!

P.S. If from here on forward you still get redirected to any other website, please do let us know in the comments below. We would greatly appreciate your reports in squashing this.

Update: We’re still getting reports of redirects. We’re digging further to see if something else could be causing this.

Update: As of 3PM PST on 2/7/16, we’ve temporarily disabled all network ads on iOS. If you’re on iOS and still see a redirect, please let us know so we can narrow down the issue.

Update: If you’re still seeing redirects, could you please leave a comment and tell us mobile/desktop, operating system, and country? Thanks so much for your help, everyone!

Update: As of 8PM PST on 2/7/16, we’ve made some more changes to hopefully fix this issue. Again, if you get a redirect, please let us know with as much info as you can.

Update on 2/8/16: Redirects are still happening, and we’re still working with experts to try and figure out what’s going on.

Update on 2/9/16: We’re still working with Google in an attempt to figure out who’s placing the redirecting ads. The ads seem to target readers in the UK and in Australia. Thanks to everyone who has sent in reports.

Update on 2/11/16: With the help of a reader named Rich, we and Google were able to track down the buyer of the ad, who was targeting readers in the UK and Europe. The problem should be fixed now. Thanks Rich, and sorry to everyone who was affected over the past couple of weeks!