How To Stop Bad Ads From Showing On Your Website

How To Stop Bad Ads From Showing On Your Website

How To Stop Bad Ads From Showing On Your Website

Tired of seeing bad ads appearing on your website? All publishers hate seeing spammy ads or malicious downloads appearing on their web properties. This subjects visitors to material that the publisher almost always would rather them never see. Unfortunately, bad actors are always finding ways to game the system.
Below, I’ll explain exactly why these types of ads show on publisher sites. I’ll discuss why even the most popular sites in the world still deal with these problems, and what you can do to safeguard against their impact on your visitors.

Where do bad ads come from?

“Bad ads” are a result of bad actors who are able to leverage programmatic resources and ad platforms to distribute their spammy or malicious advertisements across publisher properties worldwide. There are few sites on the web that don’t deal with this issue to one extent or another. It is a non-exclusive problem that all ad platforms and providers deal with.
get rid of spammy ads from displaying
You’re probably wondering, what’s the incentive behind these ads? Well, it’s a simple arbitrage game for most of the bad actors. They can hack or take advantage of platform settings to distribute their ads across the web for a short period of time for a low-cost. This enables them to make a profit off of the installation of their malware or conversions from their spam.
It ends up being a pretty crummy game of numbers for these scammers. Unfortunately, the nature of how self-serve ad platforms, programmatic advertising — and ultimately digital advertising — operates makes it nearly impossible to close-off the ecosystem completely to these types of strategies.

How do I stop these spammy ads on my website?

This is NOT, and never will be a solvable problem. That’s a bold statement, but it was one that was recently made at Pubtelligence — a publishers-only event hosted at Google in August 2017.  Panelists from Ezoic and Google both harped on just how difficult it is to stop these bad actors…
dwayne lafleur pubtelligence
“It [spammy ads] has been going on since ads first appeared online and is essentially an arms race between bad actors and the networks.  It’s important to understand this as a publisher because even if your able to eliminate these ads at the moment, they WILL pop-up again; regardless of what networks, exchanges, or partners you leverage.  We work with thousands of partners and exchanges, not a single one can claim that they don’t have this problem.” – Dwayne Lafleur, CEO, Ezoic
The fundamental question publishers have to ask themselves is whether they are responsive enough to deal with this themselves or do they need to enlist help in identifying exactly when these ads start showing?  Often, partners or specialized technology providers will have much more data, resources, and know how; allowing them to identify and respond faster than the actual publisher.
pubtelligence google ads
“This isn’t a problem with a great solution. Responsiveness is what’s important for all the parties involved” – Amy Shih, Online Partnerships, Google 
One of the biggest issues with these types of issues is that publishers find out about these types of issues too late; often by browsing the site themselves or by having a reader notify them personally. This is not a trustworthy way in many cases to know when these types of ads are showing and when they aren’t.
Leveraging technology that can identify when this is happening is one way to prevent this (no-cost platforms like Ezoic can help with this). Another is by diversifying demand providers so that one bad actor cannot fully corrupt your entire site in cases that one ad partner is struggling particularly badly with these types of bad ads.

What can be done to avoid bad ads?

There is no methodology or partner that can prevent these types of ads from showing across the board; however, working with quality header bidders and ad exchanges is a good place to start. Having little diversity in where your ads come from is dangerous for multiple reasons. What’s more, we continually discuss why competition and testing are ultimately in the best interest of the publisher.

Have this problem now? What you should do…

If you have bad ads showing on your website right now, you should be able to identify where they’re coming from by looking at how and where the redirects are coming from. Any JavaScript on the site can be used to display an ad that leads to a URL that then quickly redirects to malware, spam, etc. Monitoring how the redirects occur and which ads are producing the problem ones can help you identify their source.
stop bad ads spammy ads websites
Notifying the provider of these issues can sometimes speed up their ability to remove the bad actors from their ecosystem. Giving them concrete examples of where the ads displayed and potentially what network they came from can help them settle the current situation on your site sooner.
Have additional ways that you’ve been able to solve these problems on your site yourself? Share them below and keep the conversation going for publishers that may be experiencing this problem.


By Tyler Bishop

Tyler is an award-winning digital marketer, founder of Pubtelligence, CMO of Ezoic, SEO speaker, successful start-up founder, and well-known publishing industry personality.


  1. Another thing you’ve got to worry about is Adware. The last thing you want is for your site to spread Adware. If new like that comes out you’ve got a big problem.

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