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New ad serving solution - report any dodgy adverts here


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#1 Grayson

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 14:58

As you all know, we've had some major problems with malicious ad formats over the past few months. Where our internal team hasn't sold our ad inventory directly, we allow third party advertising networks to bid for the inventory and it would seem that dodgy companies have been able to get into this bidding process to serve ad code which is hijacking your sessions or forcibly redirecting you away from Autosport.

 

We've entirely replaced the platform we were using to implement these ad partners on our site, and our developers are hoping that this should fix most of the problems. The new platform is now live on the forums (but not yet the main site) as this is where we were seeing the most problems and where I'm hoping any feedback will be quickest!

 

If everything has worked, you shouldn't notice any change whatsoever other than the fact that the worst ad formats are no longer appearing.

 

Please let me know if you're still seeing any problem ad formats or dodgy ads (we should never be running any adverts containing nudity or violence, adverts for illegal products/services, etc).



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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 09:08

It’s looking good so far. I was getting around 50 a day, but haven’t had a single one since Grayson’s post above.

:clap:

#3 Grayson

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 09:32

It’s looking good so far. I was getting around 50 a day, but haven’t had a single one since Grayson’s post above.

:clap:

 

That's a good start!



#4 Slartibartfast

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 18:25

Last week I was getting redirects with every thread I opened if on mobile. Today there have been none. A good start indeed!



#5 FirstnameLastname

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 20:57

Yep, been having constant redirects for a few months now, and it was on every single thread.

None now, superb work team 👍🏻

#6 Frood

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 23:32

Everything’s been rosy for the past few days. Thanks to you and your team, Simon!

#7 steferrari

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:55

Personally, as far as I remember I never had problems with ads redirecting me.

Maybe because I use AdBlock, don't know.

 

For me the main problem is the mobile version of the forums... it still works bad.



#8 Afterburner

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 22:12

Thank you SO much for this! Have had no issues for a while now. Much appreciated. :up:

#9 Grayson

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 09:12

For me the main problem is the mobile version of the forums... it still works bad.

 

If you mean the way that a lot of the images are missing on the mobile view - we're working on this and could have a fix in the next few days.



#10 steferrari

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 16:01

If you mean the way that a lot of the images are missing on the mobile view - we're working on this and could have a fix in the next few days.

 

I still find it occasionally slow to load (I opened a thread about this some months ago) and yeah, the top menu is missing (no back arrow, no homepage button, no right button, the one that opens the control panel).

These buttons are still working though, but they are invisible.

 

I think that icons are missing also from the control panel (screen here) since all the boxes are empty.



#11 pRy

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 18:36

I'm not sure if this falls under dodgy ad format but the new? pop up adverts appearing at the bottom of the forum are preventing the "Post" and "More Reply Options" buttons from working if the advert happens to be at the same height. 

 

Screenshot: df4yq6k.jpg


Edited by pRy, 15 November 2018 - 18:36.


#12 A3

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 18:44

What the hell is going on? I can't even hit the post button without clicking the ad away. It's stuck on every page now?

I come here to complain and this is what I get :lol:

If you guys want me gone you can just ask... :drunk:
RPc9SIF.png?1

Edited by A3, 15 November 2018 - 18:47.


#13 thegforcemaybewithyou

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 18:48

Please disable the ads at the bottom and stay with those that are embedded between the posts.

#14 Grayson

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 19:06

I come here to complain and this is what I get :lol:

RPc9SIF.png?1

 

That's very broken.

 

We're pausing that ad tag until we can get a fix in place. It might take 15 minutes or so until those ads stop appearing for everyone due to the way our site caching works.



#15 Ivanhoe

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 19:09

Please disable the ads at the bottom and stay with those that are embedded between the posts.


Yup, these pop-ups at the bottom are very annoying

#16 Myrvold

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 01:26

I just got a new one "please enable cookies in your browser - go to settings" etc.

But, I haven't disabled cookies? I have disabled whatever tracking I can, but not cookies in browser-settings.



#17 Grayson

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 09:08

I just got a new one "please enable cookies in your browser - go to settings" etc.

But, I haven't disabled cookies? I have disabled whatever tracking I can, but not cookies in browser-settings.

 

As far as I know, we should never show you a message like that (as distinct from the message we do show you if you're a first time user of the site or you're coming to the site incognito where we say that we use cookies and ask for your permission to use third party cookies).

 

Was this appearing in an ad slot or as an alert? Do you have a screenshot, or can you tell me any more about it?



#18 Myrvold

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 00:41

As far as I know, we should never show you a message like that (as distinct from the message we do show you if you're a first time user of the site or you're coming to the site incognito where we say that we use cookies and ask for your permission to use third party cookies).

 

Was this appearing in an ad slot or as an alert? Do you have a screenshot, or can you tell me any more about it?

 

It happened only once, exactly same way as those "pop-up" ads on the bottom of the screen as shown by A3 above. It looked like an advert, had the same X for closing etc. as the ad. Not had it (or any other "pop-up" ads) since.


Edited by Myrvold, 17 November 2018 - 00:41.


#19 Grayson

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 14:06

Everything should now be fixed, so we're putting the sticky banner ads (the ones appearing at the bottom of the screen) live again.

 

We've tested these in a number of different browsers, devices, operating systems, etc. but that's never going to be a match for thousands of forum members hitting the site so please let me know if anything is still broken.

 

I'm not sure if this falls under dodgy ad format but the new? pop up adverts appearing at the bottom of the forum are preventing the "Post" and "More Reply Options" buttons from working if the advert happens to be at the same height. 

 

Screenshot: df4yq6k.jpg

 

If you have this problem then you should be able to scroll the screen down slightly so that the ad is no longer at the same level as the post button or the emojis. Or at least, that's how it's been working on every browser variation I've been able to test so far, so let me know if I'm missing something...



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#20 Brackets

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 14:38

 let me know if I'm missing something...

You are missing the horrible, intrusive nature of this type of add, which doesn't only block buttons (or maybe not any longer, but I digress), but also actual content. I am now being forced to scroll to read whatever is at the bottom of my screen, when previously I didn't have to.

 

Please make them go away permanently. You may have solved 'the bug', but you certainly didn't remove the annoyance.



#21 A3

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 18:00

Yup, agreed. It's cheap.

And on mobile, the hidden buttons that finally have been restored are now hidden by an ad. No way to scroll around that one.

#22 Ivanhoe

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 19:14

I hope you’re getting well paid for this, because it’s really user unfriendly 👎👎

Edited by Ivanhoe, 22 November 2018 - 19:14.


#23 Myrvold

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 19:40

I cannot click "post" even though the button isn't hidden by the ads. I need to "x" it away first. It's bloody frustrating. I agree with Ivanhoe. I hope these weird charity ads pays good.



#24 thegforcemaybewithyou

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 20:09

When submitting my entries for the Autosport games today, the post button didn't work. I somehow always had to scroll a bit down to activate it.

#25 Grayson

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 20:16

When submitting my entries for the Autosport games today, the post button didn't work. I somehow always had to scroll a bit down to activate it.

 

 

I cannot click "post" even though the button isn't hidden by the ads. I need to "x" it away first. It's bloody frustrating. I agree with Ivanhoe. I hope these weird charity ads pays good.

 

Are you saying that the Post button is visible and that nothing happens when you click it until you dismiss the advert?

 

If so, can you let me know what browser and operating system you're using so that I can try to replicate this?

 

That's definitely something that we need to fix before we allow these ads to run...



#26 Grayson

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 20:18

And on mobile, the hidden buttons that finally have been restored are now hidden by an ad. No way to scroll around that one.

 

There should be extra padding at the bottom of the page so that you can always scroll down further so that the adverts aren't covering any content (such as any buttons). If that's not happening, can you let me know what they're covering, preferably with a screenshot?



#27 thegforcemaybewithyou

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 20:28

I used Firefox on Windows 7 when this happened. I could see the post button, but clicking on it did not cause any action. When I then scrolled the page a bit, it worked and I could send the answer.

The weird thing is that the ads at the bottom aren't visible at all when I'm using the computer(no adblock is active), for me they only show on mobile access.

#28 Cig35

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 20:49

The ads are covering the area below the "post" button in the mobile version. In that area there is a back arrow and also the "full version" button. Samsung Galaxy and the same appearance for both Chrome and Samsung's internet browser

 

6oTWLx5.jpg

 


Edited by Cig35, 22 November 2018 - 22:28.


#29 Myrvold

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 22:36

Are you saying that the Post button is visible and that nothing happens when you click it until you dismiss the advert?

 

If so, can you let me know what browser and operating system you're using so that I can try to replicate this?

 

That's definitely something that we need to fix before we allow these ads to run...

 

What you answered A3 is the case on my desktop, it's just that I rarely scroll down to the total bottom when writing posts. I stop when I need to, not going further. Not sure if that was the case on my *erhm* work laptop. I'll check that out tomorrow!



#30 baddog

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:06

Yeah the css there is definitely squirrelly, it has caught me out 4 times when I clicked the apparently visible 'post' and nothing happened. Cannot see any reason other than bad coding why clicking outside the visible ad area should be captured by that area. Sure one could scroll further down but it is not likely to ever be intuitive to remember that the button is not clickable with no visual cue.

 

See the screenshot here.. the post button should be clickable but is not. there is I assume an invisible panel over it.

 

bIqO3qp.png



#31 A3

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:58

There should be extra padding at the bottom of the page so that you can always scroll down further so that the adverts aren't covering any content (such as any buttons). If that's not happening, can you let me know what they're covering, preferably with a screenshot?


q0E0Ukv.png?1
Can't scroll any further, iPhone 5S.
Edit: I can scroll further and I can see the buttons, but when I let go off the screen it jumps back up, covering the buttons. If you know what I mean.

We can help you to fix this intrusive ads, but do they really add that much income that you feel there is no other way? Like I said, it's freaking cheap.

Edited by A3, 23 November 2018 - 08:01.


#32 goldenboy

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 08:39

Honestly this is not good if I have to close an ad every time I want to use some nav buttons.

I'm all for monetizing the site but this will 100% force me to stop using this forum after 8 or 9 years. I can't even see what I'm typing right now because of a damn pop up.

Edited by goldenboy, 23 November 2018 - 08:40.


#33 Stephen W

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 08:55

I started to reply to a post and suddenly a BL@@DY advert popped up covering the "Reply to this topic" box. It really is an annoying turn of events. Personally I would prefer the return of the adverts mixed in with the replies like we used to have. They never blocked out stuff and for me were not in the least annoying unlike the crass adverts that keep popping up!

 

:mad: 



#34 Brackets

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 09:42

Things just got worse. The popups contain adds for 'PrettyLittleThings' (which luckily is a cloth-shop, as far as I can tell) which is showing scantily clad teen girls, as well as adds for "MissGuided", showing me the same scantily clad girls, but this time they're showing me the finger.

 

Seriously.

 

Oh, and before someone jumps in with 'well what you've been googling': I browse this forum - as well as pretty much every other content online - in Private Mode, with a new window - and logon - each and every time because I'm a paranoid fool.



#35 Grayson

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 10:23

Thanks for the bug reports, guys. We've managed to replicate the issue with stuff on the same horizontal level as the ad not being clickable and our developers are looking for a solution. We're also going to look at putting the same padding into the bottom of the mobile view as the desktop view so that it's possible to scroll further down so that the part of the page that it's covering is empty.



#36 A3

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 10:26

Thanks for the bug reports, guys. We've managed to replicate the issue with stuff on the same horizontal level as the ad not being clickable and our developers are looking for a solution. We're also going to look at putting the same padding into the bottom of the mobile view as the desktop view so that it's possible to scroll further down so that the part of the page that it's covering is empty.


Can you answer why you can't get rid of this type of advertising?

#37 Grayson

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 11:10

To address the wider question about obtrusive ads...

 

We need to make money from the site somehow, and the "yield" on regular display advertising has been falling for some time. Advertisers just aren't paying as much to run a banner ad on a thousand or a million pages as they were five years ago.

 

Publishers have a few different ways of addressing this. One route is to move away from high quality content; to replace research, expertise and journalism with clickbait. I hope that this is something we never have to do. I'm proud to tell people that I work for Autosport and I'd probably start looking for another job if that ever stopped being the case.

 

Another option is charging readers directly for access to content and for a better experience on the site. We've been doing this with various levels of success for about two decades (before the merger both Atlas and Autosport had a subscription model). And my colleagues on the magazine like to remind me that we've actually been doing it since 1950. You can sign up to Autosport Plus at any time and this includes an ad-free environment across all parts of the site including the forums.

 

The final way is to run different ad formats rather than just the regular banners and square ads. We've done this already with various options such as instream video ads in our news stories and wraparound "fireplace" or "skin" ads on the homepage and we're constantly looking to find the right balance between the ad formats which make money and the ad formats which annoy our readers too much. The current sticky banners we're trying out on the forums aren't as intrusive as some alternatives, especially with a close button which means that you can get rid of it entirely until you've finished reading everything on your current page and posting.

 

The quality of the adverts themselves (ie. which companies and creatives are appearing) should get better over time in the sense of getting more relevant. As the various ad exchanges get to know what sort of people use Autosport and they get to know individual users (assuming you're not blocking trackers, going incognito or opting out of cookies), I'd expect to see fewer adverts for women's clothing shops and more adverts for cars and sports memorabilia.



#38 YoungGun

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 11:39

I am using an adblocker and while there are no ads obstructing the post button or some of the emojis as of yesterday and it's happened again this morning they are not working. I need to try multiple times by scrolling up and down in order to submit a reply or select an emoji.

 

It's just happened again while editing this post and pressing "Save Changes".


Edited by YoungGun, 23 November 2018 - 13:40.


#39 Grayson

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 16:52

As you may have noticed, we've paused these ads until we can find a fix for the bugs discussed above.

 

As I mentioned earlier, we tried to test these with a pretty wide range of devices but hadn't spotted some of the edge cases such as the ads deactivating buttons alongside them horizontally.



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#40 YoungGun

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 17:21

Thank you.  :)



#41 Myrvold

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 19:15

Publishers have a few different ways of addressing this. One route is to move away from high quality content; to replace research, expertise and journalism with clickbait. I hope that this is something we never have to do. I'm proud to tell people that I work for Autosport and I'd probably start looking for another job if that ever stopped being the case.

 

Another option is charging readers directly for access to content and for a better experience on the site. We've been doing this with various levels of success for about two decades (before the merger both Atlas and Autosport had a subscription model). 

 

Well, it does feel like this is the road it is heading anyway. Either I am have that much more knowledge now than before, or the standards have dropped quite a bit, there is a reason why I stopped my Plus early last year - and that's not solely down to the poor rally pieces by Mr.Evans.
Also, this is not an Autosport only problem. But much motorsport sites are not about journalism but reporting. You pay for top journalism, you read a report on the fly.

Also, with 25 stories free each month, charing readers are virtually done regardless. And I would imagine quite a lot of people have just moved over to motorsport.com to read the reports, as it is basically the same.

 

The thing I do miss however, is access to Forix - which may in the future cause me to subscribe again. I miss that site.

 

However, nice to see the intrusive ads being gone. I have no real issues with ads - I am the kind of guy who actually watches the ads on youtube when it's on a channel with a creator I really like :)



#42 Grayson

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 15:16

We're live with the sticky banner ads again, with the bugs discussed above sorted out.

 

Remember that there is a close button for these ads - that will stop the banner from reloading and also mean that the bottom few centimetres of content are covered up.



#43 goldenboy

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 11:41

Huge improvement for me. Much better.

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 13:24

For a couple of weeks I've found that my capacity to left click on different items ceases to work...

I have to go off the Firefox screen (good job I don't go fullscreen) and click on the desktop screen to bring it back to use.

Is this all related?

#45 jonpollak

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 17:04


Remember that there is a close button for these ads - that will stop the banner from reloading and also mean that the bottom few centimetres of content are covered up.




Can you make the tiny little “X” button bigger please ?

Every time I attempt to clear the ‘Hot Girls Just Waiting For You” ad at the bottom of the forum page I get sent ‘Hot Girls’ to my inbox because I failed to hit the tiny X ....

I wouldn’t mind if the girls were ‘hot’.... but they’re not.
Jp

Edited by jonpollak, 29 November 2018 - 17:07.


#46 thegforcemaybewithyou

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 17:12

I'm envy, I only get the Tsunami Appeal ads...

#47 Grayson

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 17:53



Can you make the tiny little “X” button bigger please ?

Every time I attempt to clear the ‘Hot Girls Just Waiting For You” ad at the bottom of the forum page I get sent ‘Hot Girls’ to my inbox because I failed to hit the tiny X ....

 

If the X is too small on mobile, could you let me know which browser you're using? And if it's on a phone, could you let me know which device? I won't make any promises here, but I'll take a look at this with our designer...

 

I'm assuming that the part about the inbox is a device and that I don't have to try to track down the malware adtech which is hooking your clicking behaviour up to your E-mail address!



#48 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 21:09

No answer about me not being able to click on the page?

W10 using Firefox...

#49 YoungGun

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 22:51

is your problem similar to this?



#50 jonpollak

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 08:58

If the X is too small on mobile, could you let me know which browser you're using? And if it's on a phone, could you let me know which device? I won't make any promises here, but I'll take a look at this with our designer...

 

I'm assuming that the part about the inbox is a device and that I don't have to try to track down the malware adtech which is hooking your clicking behaviour up to your E-mail address!

 


iPhone 6plus running IOS 12 on safari. As mentioned by Afterburner in another thread I tried the Brave browser.. That did away with the ads completely... Which I know is not ideal for the business model but solves the un-hot girls issue rather nicely. I'll have a look at my preferences to see if I've inadvertently agreed to have forwarding on ad clicks... Or something like that. This website is not the only one that does that. Linkdin was the worst at that so I quit it. Thanks Jp