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Are major ad networks promoting prOn?

Fresh in from the Anti-spyware Coalition workshop, I hope to be writing a bit about third party ad networks.

But this headline just caught my eye:

Major AdNetworks Promote Porn?

Probably one the most disturbing things in the industry as of late: Last week a little problem popped up on one of the networks we buy from – and turns out that several of the networks have the same problem. Not looking to name anyone, but it seems that several of the top major networks were running banner ads on a website that many people would consider pornographic.

During a reload of this banner ads, we found several major advertisers being shown while a young woman stripped and seemingly have a more than cordial relationship with her cigarette. This site also had an advertisement for CapitalOne Savings show itself while two smurfs were engaging in things that smurfs normally don’t do. It seems that Netflix, the New York Times, and even H&R Block among others, have no problem with their ads being shown on QUESTIONABLE sites. Maybe NYTIMES thinks that people who like smurf sex are interested in subscribing to their newspaper? Who knows?

Link here.

This is on the heels of comments by FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz about “shaming” advertisers who advertise through adware.

The problem is complex. Advertisers don’t necessarily buy directly from CNN, the Washington Post and other sites. They use ad networks to place ads on lots of websites. Then, these ad networks may use other ad networks to place ads — in effect, making a chain of intermediaries.

According to conversations I had at the ASC conference yesterday, there are advertisers concerned about where their ads are distributed, and are (and will be) the driving force to get reforms done by the ad networks.

I hope to write more on this subject later.

Alex is a technology CEO, with leadership, operating partner, investor, and board member roles at security firms including AutoLoop, Borland, Quarterdeck (now Symantec and Cisco WebEx), GFI/TeamViewer, Sunbelt Software (now ThreatTrack Security), BlueStripe Software, StopBadware, Knowbe4, Malwarebytes, and Runaware Holding AB. When CEO of Sunbelt he ran a security blog, and he still writes on security.