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What are banner ads, and why does deviantART have them?

Any active Internet user knows about banner ads -- the square or rectangular advertisements that appear on sites across the Web.  This form of online advertising enables sites like deviantART to earn revenue by sending traffic (aka visitors) to advertisers.  The money earned from these ads, viewable to logged-in and logged-out deviants (excluding Premium Members), enables us to bring you bigger and better features, and allows us to maintain and upgrade current ones.

By and large, deviantART is a free site.  We do offer enhanced or extra features for Premium Members, but our core art tools that give deviants the ability to publish and promote their works are free.  While many Internet enthusiasts see banner ads as annoying, the revenue they generate allows sites like us to improve the quality of their services and add new features.

A crash course in network ads

Every month, deviantART serves billions of ads across the site.  While we do employ a small ad sales team who works with premium brands and ad agencies, the bulk of the ads displayed on deviantART are delivered through outside ad networks.  These independent, third-party providers serve ads onto deviantART using a combination of advertisers they have procured themselves, as well as other ad networks they have partnered with.  As stated above, deviantART requires the ad networks we work with to adhere to a strict list of ad quality standards.  If the aforementioned types of bad ads appear, deviantART works to identify the ad network at fault so we can remove the ad, the advertiser, or the entire ad network in question.

Ad networks have become a major part of the online advertising landscape, and it's safe to say a vast majority of the ads you see across the Internet are served from ad networks.  Most networks allow advertisers to purchase ad impressions using self-service platforms and may or may not review the content of the ads before distributing to their publishing partners, such as deviantART.  Even if the ads are reviewed, it's very possible for an advertiser to swap out a good ad with a bad ad, without being caught by the ad network.  This can allow an individual advertiser, with malicious intent, to circumvent the ad review process the ad networks undergo for new advertisers.

Screenshot of deviantART units Typical ad units found on deviantART
Spider-web by mjagiellicz                     The structure of ad networks can sometimes look like spider webs, since many ad networks partner with other ad networks who partner with other ad networks, etc... (Image credit: Spider-web by *mjagiellicz)

How you can help

Ad networks are constantly improving their monitoring and scrubbing technologies to prevent bad ads from running through their systems.  Unfortunately, identifying bad ads is often a difficult process, but there are ways you can protect yourself and help combat the problem.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a government agency tasked with protecting public health and safety.  In times of crisis, the CDC utilizes the idea of "shared responsibility" -- they acknowledge their role in keeping the public safe and well-informed, but pass some of the responsibility in the form of preparedness back to the public.  It's with this concept in mind that we ask deviants to arm themselves in the fight against viruses and malware.
  • Protect your computer by downloading free anti-virus software, such as AVG or Microsoft Security Essentials, and be sure to keep the software up-to-date.
  • Use a browser that has built-in malware detection.  Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox both include this feature.
  • Deviants who want to go the extra mile can help us identify bad ads.
Download AVG
Download Microsoft Security Essentials
Report bad ads

We're in this together

These types of bad ads affect all major publishers on the Internet, not just deviantART.  Google has reported that malware attacks on the web, such as fake anti-virus programs, are a growing threat and they've seen "an upward trend" in the amount they encounter each week.  Preventing these types of ads is easier said than done.  Rest assured that we take this issue very seriously and are doing everything we can to thwart the problem.
In just the last week, using data provided by deviants, we were able to identify the source of a malware attack.  We notified our largest ad providers and asked them to turn off that specific ad network.  Some of our partners had also detected the malware and had preemptively turned off the offending network earlier in the day.  One partner didn't report detection on their own, but turned off the network based on our request.
We vigorously oppose bad ads, as they severely hinder one's deviantART experience -- an experience that we're constantly shaping and refining. Please know that this is one of our primary focuses at this time. Aside from what we've mentioned here, we're also investigating other solutions so that we can be even more proactive in the fight against malware and viruses -- including working with other social networks to share relevant information and building relationships with Internet security firms.  Thank you for taking the time to arm yourself with the knowledge to combat any malicious attacks in the future.


Recent Updates

(Updated May 6, 2011)
  • Turned off a major partner that we suspected of being the possible source of the recent malware/virus alerts.
  • Made changes to all remaining partners, requiring them to follow tighter guidelines about who they worked with and how those partnerships operated.
  • Began development of tools, that will allow deviantART staff (and possibly deviants) to better detect and identify the sources of malicious advertising.
  • Continued discussions with various third party malware/virus detection firms about monitoring deviantART ads and site content.

Add a Comment:
 
:icongreenhammerbro:
GreenHammerBro Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Have anyone went as far as even experiencing "update browser scam"?
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
GreenHammerBro Featured By Owner May 3, 2017
After you download from mediafire, you get taken to scam sites like this: freesoftwarestation.com/campai…
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
GreenHammerBro Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2017
Websites like appcloudprotected.com is also an annoyance. That happened on mediafire (a hornet's nest fill with malicious advertisements, especially after downloading something) when I want to download a free game called "I wanna kill the guy".
Reply
:iconusername-91:
Username-91 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2016  Professional Filmographer
Sticking to AdBlock!
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
GreenHammerBro Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2016
Can you imagine you are working in an office at your free time, an autoplay ad starts playing and did not know that your speakers are not muted when you surf on a website?
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
Especially, when it tries to "mouse trap" you, One time, I was looking up "game programming, health meter" and went to this site: www.gamedev.net/topic/657175-c…, randomly, redirects (URL changes to a javascript code so I can't see its true address location) to a fake virus alert and a popup message box (along with an audio voice saying about spyware) appear to prevent me from closing out of my browser, how intrusive. I cannot reproduce it.

It's almost like 123helpmypc.com, where it plays beeping sounds to try to coax you.
Reply
:iconsouthrobin:
Southrobin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016
Hi Heidi, I believe dA has a malicious ad because recently only after visiting dA does my computer have the "DNS unlocker" adware virus. They also have popups. It got so bad that it attempted to open 84 outgoing pages.

This does not occur on other sites and happens on my phone and computer. Unable to take a screenshot because the redirect happens almost instantly.

Please check with the team the ads dA allows, it started occurring recently. (Within this week)
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
I have surf various mobile websites (like bulbapedia and other art sites (more specifically Japanese art sites) on my iphone, and it is invasive that sometimes you get a message box saying "Congratulations! You are our lucky visitor! Click OK to continue" or that it says you have won a prize and follow by a redirect to a prize site. (My comment): "I'm intended to go to bulbapedia, not an ad site. I didn't even click on the ads or do any action to it".

One time, I get redirected to a fake adobe site saying that your adobe flash is out of date, and then drive-by  (automatically) downloads the installer onto my computer. Thank god that I know this is fake and that it didn't run the program automatically.

Thank god that never happened here, phew.

There is even worse malware (malicious software in general) out there, including a powerful weapon called ransomware, a type of program that restricts access to files (often encrypting them) or even your entire computer (previously, reports like false messages saying you have infringe a law and locks your PC by a law enforcement: www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/n…).

If I were you, have your backup copies saved in an off line storage area, such as a flash drive. That way, hackers cannot access them. Surfing the internet is risky as walking in an alley at night.
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
News site are also hit with such ads, such as this one: www.miaminewtimes.com/news/fsu…. (A news site about a school's network being hacked). Obviously you do not click on the pop-up ad that appears in front of you on the center of the screen (its not on a separate window, its directly from the site). However, DO NOT touch the X button to close it, as hackers manage to make it instead, opens a new tab, opens in a separate window, or even relaunch (have not experience this) the browser.
Reply
:iconcoconuthree:
Coconuthree Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm scared, viruses and malware is terrifying. Some of my deviations were favorited, and when I clicked on I to thank them, I got a congratulations your phone has been chosen and a NSFW ad and I'm very scared. The user name of the person was only some numbers.
Reply
:iconnightmare49:
Nightmare49 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I have both MalwareBtyes and Trend Micro. Both are great antivirus and internet security.
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
GreenHammerBro Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2016
This frequently happens on my iPhone 6. Espically when surfting pixiv.
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
GreenHammerBro Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2016
I know right? My reaction is "I didn't ask for this." Lesson learned: Have task manager ALWAYS ACTIVE so that if it brings up a un-closeable message box with only "ok" (and preventing your browser from closing, as your window is set to focus on the sub window) so you can force-close the window and prevent the mousetrap (if you don't know, its basically sites that prevent you from leaving: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mousetra…).

If you are using an Iphone or any other mobile smart phone, and that the browser remembers the last page you are on and causing you to be stuck even if you close it and re-open it, simply turn off your wi-fi (airplane mode if you have wifi outside your house) and refresh the page and you should get an error page that it cannot connect, then close that tab and turn the wifi back on.
Reply
:icongreenhammerbro:
Sometimes, they can hide ads using pop-under (appears under the active window). What an invasive way to hit customers. Its like you go to a store to buy something, then a random person says, hey can you have won (...) and does not let you leave the store after buying them.:scared: 
Reply
:iconroxozzieandbro:
RoxOzzieAndBro Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Please get rid of the 'Find a mate'/'Sexy Girl' advertisements, they are really disgusting and I'm more than sure that minors do not want to look at that sickening shit.

I cannot have an adblocker on my iPad, but I don't need one on it as it doesn't allow these crap ads to go through. I'm sorry, but I ALWAYS use adblock on my PC as every damn website is plagued with adverts that are filled to the brim with malware etc...
however, according to various comments on dA as well as rants or youtube videos, we can confirm that most of the malware comes from the adverts here.
Reply
:iconwwsalmon:
wwsalmon Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
That's not on DeviantArt's end, that's malicious malware on your computer causing it. For some reason viruses love to target Deviantart.

Try MalwareBytes, Adwcleaner, and Hitman Pro and see if that gets rid of the ads.
Reply
:iconroxozzieandbro:
RoxOzzieAndBro Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh and quit spamming the same comment to others.
Reply
:iconroxozzieandbro:
RoxOzzieAndBro Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't have malicious malware on my computer, and I already have Malwarebytes. Secondly, I have adblock, therefore all ads on my computer are blocked whenever I surf the web.

And lastly; It looks like you didn't properly read my comment as the ads that have the gross 'sexy girls' theme to it only show on my iPad, but as far as I'm concerned my iPad can't get malware as it isn't jailbroken, plus I was trying to get dA to notice and get rid of those ads. Oh, and it IS on dA's end, as hackers control the advertisement servers on dA and add in malware.

This has been a problem on dA for YEARS and it hasn't really been dealt with.
Reply
:iconroxya1:
roxya1 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The stupid and malicious "Firefox update" redirect needs to be handled by you ASAP, I should not be forced to miss out on good art because of bad ad quality control.
Reply
:iconwwsalmon:
wwsalmon Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
That's not on DeviantArt's end, that's malicious malware on your computer causing it. For some reason viruses love to target Deviantart.

Try MalwareBytes, Adwcleaner, and Hitman Pro and see if that gets rid of the ads.
Reply
:iconxxepicciaxx:
xXEpicCiaXx Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wwsalmon it IS on DeviantArt's end. I have more ad blockers than you can even think of and I get these. I have NO viruses on my computer, nothing is wrong. Stop copy and pasting the same ridiculous thing misinforming people at what is wrong and right. Lots of these (If not all) are on the DA side. Thanks.
Reply
:iconcerberus-chaos:
Cerberus-Chaos Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016  Student General Artist
I have Malwarebytes and Hitman Pro on my computer and use fair adblock. 
Reply
:iconchrisenlight:
Chrisenlight Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016  Professional General Artist
Sad when I no longer feel safe coming to deviantart after all these years. Hardly ever come here now and when I do I get fake virus alert redirects trying to trick me into downloading their malware. Or ads constantly setting off my malware and antivirus software. Right now I'm getting a malware alert from Malwarebytes. Bye deviantart.
Reply
:iconwwsalmon:
wwsalmon Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
That's not on DeviantArt's end, that's malicious malware on your computer causing it. For some reason viruses love to target Deviantart.

Try MalwareBytes, Adwcleaner, and Hitman Pro and see if that gets rid of the ads.
Reply
:iconchrisenlight:
Chrisenlight Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2016  Professional General Artist
No, Deviantart is allowing people to run ads with malware. The malware is NOT coming from my computer - that is completely ridiculous and your reasoning behind it is absurd. How does adwcleaner or hitman get rid of paid ads that are running on deviantart? That doesn't even make sense - these are not adblocking software.

I do use Malwarebytes and that is what is giving me the warnings every time I visit deviantart. Even Avast sometimes gets triggered.  I don't get malware warnings on youtube, twitch, artstation or anywhere else. Deviant is a legit site and we shouldn't have to worry about malware when coming here. Malware detection is not 100%. Because deviant doesn't care if its paid advertisers use malware it is too risky coming here.
Reply
:iconshahrezad:
Shahrezad Featured By Owner Edited Jun 17, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Edit: Here's a MAGNIFICENT alternative revenue source that is a virus-free choice that is ALSO AN AD! Go back to promoting your artists remember that? Deviants can pay say $35 (for 2 months of exposure) and can have their art shown throughout the site as an ad it would promote DA's main focus: THE GOD DAMN CONTENT!!!! Because how do ads about erectile dysfunction promote your website? Or ads about Insider magizines or drugs? They don't thats just the thing they just earn you a few cents here and there that's it. You'd be earning more money from all the people on this website that are dying to get noticed. Revamp that system it will pay off great dividends and PROBABLY a lot better than core because you have millions of users on this site that can actually USE the exposure. I would never pay a dime for core because it just makes my page look "pretty" whereas I could give a shit less, I'd rather have exposure for that price and more business. Both ends are rewarded: DA gets their revenue and users get the attention they actually want.

HOW do you expect us to report a virus from an ad when our computer is rendered USELESS from said ad? Your logic is SEVERELY flawed here. Instead of telling us to turn off our adblocks, which are actually protecting us from extremely malicious ads that you can't even screen as admins, why don't you actually take the time out of your lives to learn of alternative revenue sources? Then you have the balls to tell us to download anti-virus programs. Guess what? Your virus ridden ads have the ability to blow PAST some anti-virus programs, none are fool proof I'm not sure if you're aware of that. Instead of making this website a threat to everyone's computers why don't you focus on an ad/virus free experience for your users that you can also generate reveue from. You might as well add to your ToS a clause such as "DeviantArt and it's administrators take full resopnsibility for all viruses contracted from the advertisements that we blatantly put up for revenue with a disregard for your own technologic safety. By joining this website you forfeit all protection and safety you have in turn for greed of revenue."

Furthermore by creating that irritating pop up banner telling us to disable our adblockers you're only promoting people to get more creative on how to block such intrusive garbage from the website itself. You're clearly not on the side of the users but the advertisers themselves this has become extremely prominant with how ignorant you've become to your members over the years (I've been here long enough to see it). No other art website I've ever been on has been as malignant as this one..truly. When other site have this issue they clean it up by removing the problem at its source: the ads, broken code, etc. but DA.. wow.. they essentially tell you to suck it up and deal with it. I am so glad I use alternate art sites more frequently than this one, I don't NEED my experience to always be threatened by a new bug. I might eventually redirect everyone to that site and deactivate my account.

Revenue in exchange for client safety is the most stupid action I've seen from this site in years. Get your act together!!!
Reply
:iconwwsalmon:
wwsalmon Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
That's not on DeviantArt's end, that's malicious malware on your computer causing it. For some reason viruses love to target Deviantart.

Try MalwareBytes, Adwcleaner, and Hitman Pro and see if that gets rid of the ads.
Reply
:icondemonictronic:
DemonicTronic Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016
And this is why I adamantly refuse to turn off my AdBlock.  You can hang that notion up and fuhgeddaboutit.  Ads in general are nothing but trouble to me.  Poorly coded, possible malware, no mute function on some, auto-redirects on others that you can't get out of easily...

Fuck that noise.  AdBlock and Flashcontrol forever, man.  I don't care what kind of pleading anti-adblock banner you throw at me.  I'm not buying premium and I'm not nixing my AdBlock.  Period.
Reply
:iconpkgam:
PkGam Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It's funny that DA is now pushing people to not use adblock with that obnoxious overlay despite knowing that your ads contain malware... Maybe if you didn't use the highly unsafe Google ad network (They approve virtually everyone...), people wouldn't feel the need to protect themselves with adblockers.
Reply
:iconruskul:
Ruskul Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I often get a redireect while browsing deviantart that sends me to a download website for a fake flash player.  I have never had any problem like this and I only get these redirects on DA.
Reply
:iconomacfee1:
Omacfee1 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2016
I get that often too! I have no idea what is causing it, but it has only recently shown up.
Reply
:iconruskul:
Ruskul Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I realized I may have been typing in devaint instead of deviant in the url.... 
Reply
:iconjayjakejimofficial:
jayjakejimofficial Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Well, DeviantArt is awesome, but they always accept ads while you are not on Core Membership.
Reply
:iconamanda-kulp:
Amanda-Kulp Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016  Student Digital Artist
I get redirects constantly on just DeviantArt. The type of pages that in order to close out of, it requires you click on the selection that says to keep the page from creating additional dialogs. It is quite annoying especially considering it ONLY happens on DA.
Reply
:iconhiddenlotus555:
hiddenlotus555 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I can't even count how many times I've brought up my messages on my phone, and three seconds after the page loads, I'm ready to delete messages when the page jumps to the app store and shows me the damn Uber app. I don't need a taxi, I need to clean out my damn inbox.

Oh, but I'm sure this problem can easily be fixed by downloading DA's new app...which uses an OS not supported by my phone and I can't afford a better one. -_-
Reply
:iconscarabdynasty1:
ScarabDynasty1 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Could this be what is causing my current dilemma? Every time I attempt to submit a deviation, the submissions page is completely white except for a couple of adverts that cover the screen. They appear to be preventing the submissions page from loading.
Reply
:icondarkenednightwatcher:
I've been getting really bad pop ups and virus issues whenever I use dA now. Whenever I come on I'll get the false detected virus page from firefox and its the one everyone warns about not to download anything. It always redirects me to different sites and has attempted more than once to install malware and trojans onto my laptop. Ever since dA got a new runner and "manager" of sorts, the site has gone to hell when it comes to pop up ads, trojans and malware. I'm kind of getting tired of the numerous amounts of attacks I get whenever I'm on.
Reply
:iconshadowzero20:
shadowzero20 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016
Im having trouble when on deviantar my ipad. Everytime i go on it, it seems me to direct me to mobfree.click for some reason and i dont know why. But when use computer and my phone i dont seem have trouble.
Reply
:iconicykixz260:
IcyKixz260 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
I've just lately begun to be redirected to dlp.eruopaplay.com when on dA. It only happens when I'm logged in, and it usually happens just once per time I log in or not at all, and it's totally random times when it redirects me. I just go back a page and continue my business on dA when this happens, but is there any way to stop from being redirected?!
Reply
:iconrppartyqueen:
RPPartyQueen Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
I'm having a problem w pop ups on mobile devices. I'll be typing a comment and then it'll take me to a website for games and s*t. Any advice?
Reply
:iconkaesan:
kaesan Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2015
Got the RogueJS/fakecall virus on 10/3/15. Ticket was just processed 10/6/15. Doesn't look like the issue will be corrected. Terrible & complicated procedure for reporting.
Reply
:icondetective-may:
Detective-May Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015
My Avast antivirus now labels this site as malicious. Also random files that are clearly malicious are being automatically downloaded when I am on this site. Luckily I've set it so that my phone blocks this.

Please do something about it. I might have to stop using DeviantART if this continues.
Reply
:iconblueeyesgirl3:
Blueeyesgirl3 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015  Student Writer
I remember one of the worst viruses I ever got on my first laptop was from deviantART - it was so serious that even once my dad got rid of it for me, traces of it were there forever and couldn't be removed (harmless though - just a grisly reminder). I stopped using dA for months because I was so scared of suffering another attack and losing my laptop, which had important school work on it. Since I've discovered Adblocker the site has never given me any problems but when I used to login on my phone (less than a few months ago) I would often have to do an emergency shutdown of my phone because there was a shady ad I couldn't click out of and it was trying to download things. Can't remember the specific ad unfortunately, but now I just know not to go on dA without an adblocker on, which is an unfortunate thing to have to do considering the nature of the site. 
Reply
:iconnovaprime12:
Novaprime12 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I've been having extreme problems with being auto redirected to my apple App Store on my iPhone, is this known?
Reply
:iconshadowzero20:
shadowzero20 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016
Does it send mobfree.click! Cause it does that to me alot on my ipad and gets annoying.
Reply
:iconnovaprime12:
Novaprime12 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
It sends me to ripoff candy crush games mostly
Reply
:iconshadowzero20:
shadowzero20 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016
It does get annoying too
Reply
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