I'm noticing that some malicious spyware and worse has been slipping through our third party ad code lately. Some of this code may even change your default homepage. It never seems to impact any of the PCs I use, so it is hard for me to track it down. I'm not sure what the difference is between the computers I use and the computers that fall victim to malicious ad code.
I just want everyone to know that we don't intentionally run these ads, nor do we profit from them. The way our ads work is this: We run third party ad code so that outside ad companies can sell the space on Newgrounds. If an ad company has the chance to sell 1 million impressions per day, but they can only fill half of that with ads, they will basically "subcontract" the other 500,000 spaces to another third party advertiser who has inventory to fill the space.
What ends up happening is, one of those third party of a third party advertisers decides to slip in some extra "fun" code, and hopes no one will trace it to them. It is hard to catch them, because no legitiment ad company wants to think malicious code is coming from their ad server.
It is also becoming very difficult because I can't seem to keep certain advertisers OFF the site. For example, one advertiser owes us for payments dating back to September 2003. They pay on a three month delay (like most ad companies), so it isn't until January that we realize we aren't getting checks anymore, and from there they are already four months behind. I removed their ad early this week, to negotiate getting caught up with payment. Within days later, the ad re-appeared on the site via a third party. The third party ad guys may be waiting three months to find out they won't get paid either.
Other times, unscrupulous advertisers will offer a lot of money to run ads that I consider too over-the-top or malicious. I'll turn them down, only to see the ad running on the site days later - only instead of getting the 100% payment, I'm just getting 50% from a third party... Or worse... The third party is getting 50% from another third party, and I'm getting 50% of that. You can see why we have to run so many ads just to cover hosting expenses, because it trickles down through so many companies in-between. Everyone takes a piece on the way to our bank account.
I'm hoping that when we launch a new site design, with superbanners on every page (the front page will only have one superbanner, not a superbanner and regular banner at the top as it currently does), we will be able to severely cut back on the pop-up code that runs on the site. I've grown tired of trying to stay on top of abusers, and it is even harder to manage while I'm out here in San Diego working on Alien Hominid! Keep those fingers crossed...