Advertising is an excellent way to generate a source of income for your website. However, it can turn into something of a nightmare if you are not careful about where you get your ads from. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous advertisers out there who will happily place malicious ads, especially through questionable ad networks and ad exchanges to cover their tracks. They work more like organized criminals with fake identities, shell companies, money laundering and other illegal activities. This type of advertising is often referred to as malvertising and it can have a negative impact on your site. Additionally, it also causes problems for every single person who visits your website. They might be infected without clicking on the bad ads or even seeing them visually on your site. Let’s look at some of the most common issues caused by malicious ads before looking at the best way to avoid this problem.
Security and Legal Issues
It goes without saying that any type of malware making its way onto your website creates a security issues that can be incredibly tough to deal with. You may not even be aware that these silent activities are running in the background from the ads that you are showing. It is often until a security and/or legal notice that website owners become aware that they, and their website visitors, are essentially under attack by this malicious code.
If it becomes apparent that your site is home to malicious ads, it is urgent that you take care of the problem right away. First by removing the malicious ad tags. The worst thing that can happen is being added to a block list by Google or other ad security vendors, which is something that they do to many questionable websites and ad tags every day. It’s also an exhausting process to get your site off the blacklists even after your site has been cleaned up.
Lose the Trust of your Visitors
While it is not always the fault of the website owner that these malicious ads make their way into the content, that is not necessarily how visitors to the site will see things. A loss of trust is almost inevitable in these types of situations. There is going to be a large group of people who never return, no matter how diligently you work to take care of the issue.
Lose Credibility with Advertisers
Advertisers do not want to be associated with anything negative, which is why they will flee in the complete opposite direction of your website if they know that malicious ads have been placed on there. They will not want their name associated with such issues, as their brand may then run the risk of being tarred with the same bad brush as your website.
Now that you know the problems caused by malicious ads, the question you probably have is about how to avoid them. The easiest solution is to simply deal with the advertisers directly and use your own ad server. The other option is to only deal with trusted ad networks/exchanges who take the time to check their advertisers and monitor their ad tags before putting them out to the websites that they serve. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
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