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Suspicious mobile app adverts are automatically taking users to app stores.

Posted on January 7th, 2014

For a couple of months now, mobile users have been automatically redirected to their relevant app store as a prompt to download various well known games. Both Android and iOS users have been targeted, taking their respective users to games such as Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Game of War, Zelda Dungeon, and other titles.

The issue involves well known ad networks that should really be blocking and removing these ads but aren’t. Thousands of users have been effected which has led to poor user experience and a general “loss of faith” with well-respected and popular apps such as eBay, Imgur, TwitPic and many others.

In Imgur’s case, Reddit users informed the company about the problem over two months ago and have been consistently providing feedback. Just over a week ago, the company responded on its own website to state that they were looking into the issue but could not clearly identify the ad network that was at fault.

These auto re-directing ads have been affecting both Android and iOS platforms but not just on mobile devices. Desktop and mobile websites have also been affected by the third party ad networks involved. To make matters worse, the ads move around which makes them difficult to pin down and block. At the moment it is unknown which ad networks have been involved and it has been suggested that the ads change once they have been approved, making them even more difficult to identify and remove.

In addition, networks sometimes buy inventory from other networks, blurring the line as to who’s responsible but it has been reported that Google’s AdWords and AdSense have now resolved this problem.

Other apps and websites that have been effected have simply removed the gaming category of ads on their platforms which has prevented them from appearing. We’d recommend taking this action if your website or app has been effected until the issue has been resolved.

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