Unwanted Pop-up Ads – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Unwanted Pop-up Ads

09-10-2018 Resolved – see below.

A number of users have reported that they have been experiencing intrusive pop-up ads when accessing the site, particularly when using an iPhone.  One user suggested that it might be the ads on the site that are causing it – as these are provided by WordPress I didn’t think this could be possible, but turning them off seems to have solved the problem.  I have reported this problem to WordPress and may need to turn the ads back on later.  Should you suffer from this, please leave a comment outlining:

It looks like this problem has now been resolved (see my Comment #7 below). Thanks for all those that provided details, especially Digby who, while not commenting on here, was my guinea pig as I tried different approaches until we narrowed it down and to Prolixic, who suggested the source of the problem a few days ago (my reaction at the time was it can’t be the ads as they are provided by WordPress – how wrong I was!).


23 comments on “Unwanted Pop-up Ads

  1. Unfortunately this is becoming more and more common on all kinds of sites, even those that don’t have ads because the phone somehow ‘recognises’ you, if nothing else your internet/phone provider which gives them an idea of location and they target ads that they hope will get you to click. I have found that most of the time you can click ‘back’ or reload and they go away but some don’t allow that so I just go back to the bookmark. It also happens on computers but not as much which is a sign of the times I suppose.

    Either way please don’t worry too much, we all appreciate you, your site, and all the people who contribute tto it.

    1. That is precisely the reason I don’t connect my phone to wi-fi, don’t do (anti)social media, refuse to watch TV and only listen to non-commercial radio.

      I find it astonishing that some people pay a fortune for TV packages which are basically an endless stream of adverts.

      No pop-ups on a Windows PC, even using Chrome browser, because I empty the cache on exit – it’s got nothing to target.

  2. At 16:18 Monday 8th October.

    Tried to access Big Dave via and iPhone 6.

    Opens but then comes up with a pop up add saying “Dear Hemsby iPhone user – Congratulations Hemsby iPhone user – you are one of 10 users we personally selected to receive a $1,000 gift card or $100 Asda card.

    Thank you for this site – it is great. I hope these issues can get sorted.

      1. It also happened on my Samsung tablet last night about 11pm-ish and again 10 minutes ago, with the exception it says ‘Congratulations Birmingham user’ – I’m not even in Birmingham though! Oh, and I can only ‘see’ the blog for today’s puzzle on my desk-top pc, no adverts on there though, but they are a pest on both my smart phone and tablet. I’m still unable to see 28864 on either or those.

    1. I get exactly the same message except it is from Telus which is my phone and internet provider. I don’t use WiFi on my phone, just the data plan from Telus.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Just logged in on my iPhone6s with no issues. Would it be helpful if people mentioned which territory they were accessing from? Doesn’t seem an issue for me (in the UK)


    1. Yes it would help. It does seem that the ads that are delivered vary from user to user – I get a lot for MusicMagpie, which is not affected.

      1. I am in rural Ontario, Canada, roughly half way between Toronto and Ottawa.

          1. Yes, not when I use this computer but yes on my phone. But like I said it really doesn’t bother me that much. I also get them on the Daily Mail site which is probably a punishment for reading that rubbish! LOL

  4. I have had a response from WordPress and this is what they said:

    We’re taking this very seriously, but need to gather a bit more details on the ads
    being served on your site. Please temporarily reactivate the ads, and let us know:
    – the IP address of an impacted visitor (can be yourself, if you’re seeing these ads)
    – the full URL of the page the advertisement redirects you to

    I will turn the ads back on at midnight BST. Please post your experiences here on this post.

    1. Well I tried just after 7.00 p.m. here, midnight in the UK and had no problems. Tried again at 2.00 a.m., 5.00 a.m. and on and off since then. No pop up ads at all! It’s a conspiracy to drive us all nuts. Well drive you lot nuts, I was already there.

    1. I live In Buckinghamshire, but have been getting the same ads as Shropshirebloke as a ‘Birmingham’ user, also ads from Ireland.

  5. The latest from WordPress.

    Oct 9, 16:17 UTC
    Hi Dave
    The offending ad network has now been removed from the WordAds program and we have started an investigation to identify what we can do to avoid anything like this in the future.
    It looks like you haven’t had any more reports since you switched ads back on?
    Dan – Happiness Engineer

    1. Oh my you have just made my day! True I have seen no more ads since last night. True I am delighted that you have found a solution and very impressed with WordPress customer service reaction.

      But most of all, seeing the job title Happiness Engineer.
      Father to prospective son-in-law: So are you employed?
      Oh yes.
      Did you go to University?
      Yes 4 years and graduated with a fist in media and communications.
      So what do you do?
      Well after 3 years of playing Goofy in a rubber suit at Disney I was headhunter by WordPress where I am a Happiness Engineer.

      With no disrespect to the HE, it’s just…………. oh!

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