Our prizes are funded by ads, which are automated through Google, and other complicated ad platforms. It would be impossible to vet them all. Sometimes dodgy ones get through. Lately, it seems to have got worse. We’re on the case, but please be vigilant here, and on other websites.
Having finally tackled last weeks “You’ve won an iPhone” and “Congratulations Google User” ads we’ve just received fresh reports of new popups that somehow charge £4.50 to your mobile bill if you interact with them. How does this happen? Apparently through vulnerabilities in Facebook’s comments plugin (which we’ve temporarily disabled), devices and browsers. The fact that mobile phone networks allow such “Payforit” charges is another issue. More on that here.
If you’ve been charged, here’s what to do.
And here’s a helpful video explaining how these premium texts work from O2.
This is an internet-wide problem so please don’t think we’re being targeted or we’re any more vulnerable than the rest. Websites need to make money, most of us are increasingly making less of it, and it’s becoming harder and harder to manage. And then there’s GDPR, which was supposed to help, but it has only made things immeasurably worse.
We have an agency who manage our ad operations and they are in charge of plugging all of the ad sources in. As soon as we’re made aware of something like this they get straight onto it. The messages we receive are often accompanied with: “Why do you allow this to happen on your website? I’m posting all over social media and reporting you to X, Y and Z.”, which we understand, but is particularly saddening given the damage that these ads are doing to us as well.
I would LOVE to turn these ads off completely. At best, they’re annoying, slow to load and mostly irrelevant. We’re working hard to find alternatives, so please do let us know if you have any bright ideas.
We would NEVER allow popup ads, redirections, or full-page ads, so if you see something that seems too intrusive it shouldn’t be there. Please report anything like this to us here. Name of advertiser, URL that it points to and screenshots are extremely helpful.
Thanks for reading, and for being patient with us.
Chris & Team