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Parasite Browser Plugins Replacing Publisher AdSense Ads

 10:44 am on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

One of my users complained about a 300x250 leaderboard that was sitting on top of my content. Basically this is not possible, because I do extensive tests in different browsers.

So I asked him to send me a screenshot and indeed, there was one ad sitting in the correct place and another leaderboard right below it, hiding some of my content.

It turned out that a plugin in Chrome and Firefox was replacing my ads on his computer showing other ad networks, but did it in a wrong way. I would have never known if there were not two ads displaying at the same time due to a bug of this crappy plugin. After deleting the plugins, everything went to normal.

This really annoys me! I found my peace with people using adblocker, but I consider this as stealing.

Besides that, it might trigger some false alarm at the Googleplex giving me more troubles.

Has anyone experience with it? Is there a way to prevent that?



 12:36 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Of course it's stealing, but as long as people download toolbars with adware in them, it's gonna keep happening. I don't know of anything you can do on your site to prevent it. There's gazillions of them.


 4:39 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would report the add-on to Google and Firefox because if anyone has a vested interest in both chrome and AdSense its Google and they may find a way to put a stop to it including legal means. Its also possible that whatever they're doing is in violation of the other ad network and you might be able to get their account revoked.

It's also possible you can detect this add-on via the user agent or in JavaScript and alert the user about the malware.

You never know until you try


 5:28 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hmm... If you're on a Windows box you can create a restore point then download the parasite plugin and test it on your site to see what kind of signature it leaves. Please report back, I'd like to see this discussion reach a solution for combating these parasites.


 8:29 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Freecorder 6 places an advert at the bottom of the page. I reverted back to Freecorder 4.


 10:35 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Freecorder 6 places an advert at the bottom of the page. I reverted back to Freecorder 4.

That's not quite as bad but your average user isn't bright enough to know the difference and will blame the site for things it's not responsible for doing.

When I was running web hosting we almost got into a major legal battle because some wackadoodle customer was seeing something happening to his logo and swore the server was hacked or we were messing with it, sent us screen shots, and nobody could reproduce it, not even other computers in his own office. His browser cache was corrupt and after I insisted he reset it and reboot many times, he finally did and all his problems mysteriously went away yet I was still staring at letters cc:'d to lawyers and impending calls from lawyers. Never heard from him again on the matter (typical) and got him off my servers at the first opportunity when he needed something and we, um, couldn't support and recommended he try a competitor :)


 12:17 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Trueman - are you seeing anything in your error log? Specifically those that end like public_html/undefined or public_html/someObscureDomain - there is/was a addon/toolbar that does what you describe and it's signature is often those errors, it's easily noticeable with enough traffic.


 3:51 pm on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've seen this before. Some pluggin was placing ads on top of my ads. I tracked it down, uninstalled it and all was well.

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