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On Malvertising

Last year, AdSense was hit by malvertising, and just a few months ago a “gratuitous act of violence against Android users” was also delivered through AdSense. Earlier this year some malvertising was directing users to porn sites. And this isn’t just Google as malvertising infects all ad networks. Last year also saw a notable malvertising exploit at Yahoo. Publishers must pay attention to this and have a process in place to prevent malvertising, otherwise their overall revenue is likely to decrease.

Even though Google does take steps to prevent malvertising on its ad networks, as should all ad networks, malvertising still breaks through from time to time because of the number of intermediaries in the ad ecosystem. Publishers can use a third party ad verification company, but still, what about the publishers that don’t? This creates a legitimate need on the part of consumers for ad blockers, to protect them from malvertising. Given this legitimate issue, how can publishers ask their readers to turn off their ad blockers and get readers to do that?

I suggest transparency is the way to go. Publishers should explain their process for responding to malvertising and how they eliminate it from their site. Publishers might also explain the steps their ad networks take to eliminate fraud,  like how Google prevents malware from third-party ads.

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