Google told EcommerceBytes on Monday it was looking into a problem impacting its AdSense advertising network after we wrote about the issue Sunday evening on the EcommerceBytes Blog.
The problem occurs when Google unwittingly serves up an infected ad from an AdWords advertiser on the website of a participating publisher in its AdSense ad program (such as EcommerceBytes.com). The ad redirects visitors to a different website disguised as a legitimate publisher, such as Good Housekeeping.
When people become aware of the redirect, many are tricked into believing it is caused by malware on their computers.
But on Google’s own forums, people identified the problem as coming from Google AdSense – and as many of them tried to figure out how to block malicious ads from appearing on their sites, they wondered why Google itself wasn’t addressing the problem.
As we noted on the blog, one webmaster wrote on the Google forums, “This has been going on for over a week now. Still no fix or official update from Google. I don’t understand how one of the largest tech companies in the world isn’t able to get this resolved faster. They should email a warning to every single Adsense user to warn them about this.”
Google responded to our inquiry with an email from the “Google Press Team” that said, “Thanks for reaching out! The team here is aware of this and looking into it.”
The problem of malicious redirects from infected ads is called malvertising. Computerworld wrote about a case on January 6th involving AOL’s ad network.