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Howto: Reporting bad ads

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:31 pm
by Miles
Because of how internet advertising works, it's hard to pinpoint the source of bad ads. Almost every bit of advertising is location targeted nowadays, so while a problem can exist in a certain region, other parts of the world won't be able to verify or to see it.

Without the right information, we cannot do anything about the malicious ads, but with your help, we can make the internet a safer place.

Here's a guide on how to report bad ads with Google Chrome, IE and Firefox, but it's almost the same for other browsers. On IE, press F12 to access the debugger, on Firefox, install Firebug and press F12. In Chrome, use Ctrl-Shift-I.
  • In Chrome: select the "html" element and ctrl-c ctrl-v the data into a text file, save it.
  • In IE: Ctrl-S inside the developer tools saves a version I can use. Don't use save from the IE screen.
  • In Firebug: Select the html tab, select the html node, right click and select copy innerHtml. Paste it into a text file and save.
  • Make sure there's a comment like <!-- Leaderboard NL --> in it, that part contains the information I need. The good IE save file starts with something silimar to <!-- saved from url=(0036) -->
  • Write down the following information: the page with the malicious ad, your IP (see if you don't know it), the country / network you're on.
  • Email the result to, use the tag [BA] in the subject so it get flagged for priority. Screenshots (the more the better) helps a lot too. Especially if it's a warning from any anti-virus/spyware/whatever program. If the dialog box contains a details/more info button, click it and screenshot that too.
  • Bonus point: highlight the section with the ad causing trouble. Using the developer tools, search for Leaderboard for example, you'll get something like
  • Image
  • Note: The saved html using the above steps is NOT the same as saving the page. That only saves the original page, not how the page looks like after the scripts are executed. That's why "view source" is useless for tracking down advertising. I need the one after that one <script> tag has been transformed into a wall of text, not before.
  • (In FF+Web dev toolbar, view generated source works.)

Re: Howto: Reporting bad ads

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:14 am
by Miles
Updated link in footer to point to this page; javascript same origin policy makes it impossible for us to get any useful data out of the iframe tags we've switched to, but with the right browser, this guide can get me much more information.

Re: Howto: Reporting bad ads

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:45 am
by surfmonk
I also got the malware warning from Google. Appears to be for ads from
Here is the web page I was directed to by Google for info: ... m&hl=en-us

Re: Howto: Reporting bad ads

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:35 am
by Shoyeido is the culprit.. making your site very annoying.. a good tool, but dang guys.

Re: Howto: Reporting bad ads

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:00 pm
by Miles
People don't advertise with us directly. Follow the procedures in the post, or the report will be useless. We don't deal with [], we deal with Google and a few other networks, and I need to know which of them served the bad ad.

I'll be deleting useless posts 1 week after posting.