Every year, online advertising services like Facebook, Yahoo and others show billions of individual ads to users across the web. While most ads people see on your favorite websites are safe and legitimate, there are scammers that try to “game the system” to find ways to exploit consumers by getting harmful and deceptive ads published on reputable websites. In many cases, these ads – on the surface – appear normal and harmless, but may surreptitiously redirect a person to webpages that can install malware to a computer or mobile devices, direct them to scam or phishing websites, or try to sell them counterfeit goods. Some have asked, “How can bad ads appear on these and other sites?” It’s a good question, and an issue that the TrustInAds.org member companies are constantly working to address. These companies each have very comprehensive advertising policies aimed at protecting users (as well as legitimate advertisers), and preserving and enhancing the user experience.
Click to view the advertising policies of our member companies:
The extensive automated and manual review processes that each ad is subjected to prior to it being published are in place to ensure that each ad complies with these policies. Most ads that violate these policies get flagged long before a user would ever see it. However, unfortunately, some do make it through. How is this possible? Despite the technologically advanced architecture of these automated, machine learning systems, sophisticated scammers constantly look for ways to infiltrate them – as one hole is filled, scammers immediately look to find workarounds. This becomes a familiar game of “whack-a-mole.”
TrustInAds.org and its member companies want to keep the user experience positive for everyone on the web, and we have a very strong incentive to keep ads good and safe. Ads fund today’s web and help business grow, and if someone clicks on a bad ad on one platform, their behavior will likely change across the entire web, which could have a significant short- and long-term negative impact on advertisers, publishers, consumers and the entire online ads economy.
Simply put, our member companies’ advertising partners don’t want to be associated with bad ads – if we want to keep good advertisers, we have to stop bad ones. This is why each company has experts that have dedicated their careers to this work.