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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:
 
:iconmandeex88:
MANDEEx88 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  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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
:iconnovaprime12:
Novaprime12 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
And I'm always worried it's going to hack me
Reply
:iconshadowzero20:
shadowzero20 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016
It only happens on my ipad though. My phone and my computer never gets this problem and its only on deviantart that this happens too.
Reply
:icondetective-may:
Detective-May Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This has been happening to me too. Sometimes I get a popup about winning an iphone and that I should click any button to get it. This only happens when I am on Deviantart, other websites I have no problem.
Reply
:iconmrmrannoying:
MrMrannoying Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
I am getting the same thing about winning an iphone recently on my safari app :/ I can't believe a site like this of all places has these types of things still on it
Reply
:icondetective-may:
Detective-May Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Same, I hope it is fixed soon.
Reply
:icondwilliestyle:
Dwilliestyle Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2015
I have this problem. Did anyone ever make a fix for this, that you know of? (I have the first gen iPad)
Reply
:icondetective-may:
Detective-May Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't think so because it's still happening to me and I'm getting random downloads of malicious files. Plus my antivirus is now flagging this site as being malicious. I hope they do something about it soon because I might have to stop ising this website.
Reply
:icondwilliestyle:
Dwilliestyle Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015
This is starting to get crazy. Damn thing tried to redirect me as I was reading your reply.
Reply
:icondetective-may:
Detective-May Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man this sucks. DeviantART please fix this soon.
Reply
:iconmacspego:
Macspego Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015  Student Digital Artist
4 years later.... Still going on.
Reply
:iconeternalrequiem721:
eternalrequiem721 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I used to have issues with ads but I got adblock plus and noscript extensions. They block all the ads on the site. As much as I wish I could support them in efforts to make money to support the site, last time I went on this site with no protection, I got screwed by tons of viruses. Until they can figure out how to run ads without viruses in them, it's better to use protection. Through NoScript, you can guarantee no one executes anything on a site without your permission. It may seem annoying and tedious having to allow certain priveliges, but hey having viruses is even more annoying.
Reply
:icontheunfurled:
TheUnfurled Featured By Owner Edited May 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm, I use IE and I've never gotten a virus.

Okay, I'll be honest, I had a Trojan a month ago. 

Edit: I ACTUALLY got a Trojan 3 months ago and got rid of it LAST MONTH.

 Kaspersky usually works pretty good but I thought I'd have to get a new computer >.<
Reply
:iconsaya-alphaling:
Saya-Alphaling Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Idk if its my computer's problem or my chrome's problem , it just it will suddenly rediect to a hotel web site which is very very annoying D; !
Reply
:iconhg-the-hamster:
HG-The-Hamster Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Am I the only one having this problem where if I type the site wrong it redirects me to a virus page I've had this happen twice now
Reply
:iconeembuc1000:
eembuc1000 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Not sure if this is dA's fault or something else that happened, but deviantart.com redirects to pgcareers.com. It's fine if I use a VPN (which I have anyway because I live in China), but submitting deviations doesn't work using a VPN. There was no problem with dA until just now; I noticed the problem within the past hour. Does anyone else know if this is dA's problem or something else?

Edit: I forgot to mention one thing – there is no way, as far as I've noticed, to get from the pgcareers page to the dA homepage. There doesn't seem to be an X-out button or anything. It just completely redirects to a new website. 
Reply
:iconpiratehearts:
PirateHearts Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2015  Student Filmographer
I can see that im not the only one who has advertisement problems. My problem is that a blank advertisement appears on my messages!
s61.photobucket.com/user/codic…
I can't remove it, and when i click on it, (trying to removing, of course) it send me to the membership link! :/
Reply
:icontnsabregirl:
TnSabregirl Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015
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
: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
: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
: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
:iconalienette:
Alienette Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
So why aren't you doing anything about it already? Like allowing only static banners?
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
: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 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
: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
: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
: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
:icontanner28:
Tanner28 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014
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 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
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