We've heard from readers who say that when they try to access our site, they get a pop-up ad saying, "Congratulations." Which, yeah, is terrible. We've all been there. It's like, "Congratulations! We're not going to let you look at that website you were hoping to read!" OK, thanks, evil advertiser.
I asked our corporate ad tech team why this happens, and this is what they told me:
For better or worse, it happens to the majority of websites that use programmatic ads to fill their unsold inventory. It’s an industry-wide problem that happens randomly, and one that we’re all actively trying to address both with our programmatic ad tech partners and internally on solutions.
We get alerts that these are occurring, and we try to recreate with our tools to capture the bad actors and block. The issues occur through multiple avenues, so blocking one does not always mean you’re blocking them all. We are continuing to review these issues and get them blocked as quickly as possible.
Bottom line: it's nothing intentional on our part, it happens to a lot of websites, and we're doing our best to stamp it out.
Joe Donatelli is the Digital Director at News 5 Cleveland. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.