Rogue redirect ad (on mobile)


Hi, we’ve just signed up for Sovrn ads on our soon-to-launch site, and today we noticed some rogue ads appearing that immediately redirect the user to a spammy website with a pop-up on top.

If you press the back button in the browser, the same thing happens again. Same if you refresh the original page.

This only appears to be happening on mobile/tablet views. We have been able to reproduce it on both an Android phone in Missouri and an iPad in California.

This is obviously a significant problem and concern. What can we do to ensure these ads are blocked and never make their way through to our site again?

The site is

Screenshot below. Thanks in advance for your help.


I’ve been getting this too (mobile only) and Sovrn never owned up it came from them (legal reasons?) when I complained. My readers complain about it all the time. Supposedly they are “taking a stand”: Taking a stand against malvertising but it’s hard to take back malvertising experiences from your readers. It’s possible this is from other ad networks but I’m going to remove all Sovrn tags and see if it keeps happening.


Interesting. Sovrn is the only ad network we have present on the site at the moment, so I’m quite confident it is the source of the issue (for us, at least). Also, we just implemented our Sovrn ads a few days ago – right before we noticed the occasional redirects starting to occur. It’s really the only logical explanation on our end.

Hopefully someone from Sovrn will weigh in and help resolve this.


Good to know, I assumed it’s them lately, I thought it was PixFuture in the past but removed them and still kept getting complaints so I assume it’s them now too thanks to your input. Let’s hope they do…


We’ve been getting these types of ads for months now and yes it is Sovrn. I’ve tried working with them to resolve the issue but it continues to grow and my readers are getting upset. I’ve removed all Sovrn ad tags from our site and until I can get some assurance that this totally resolved, I will not be using them.


FYI, for anyone following this: I went ahead and emailed Sovrn support directly after posting my concern here, just to cover all the bases. I received the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with concerning these redirects.

I am sorry that you are experiencing malicious ads on your website. I understand how frustrating and damaging these ads can be, and I am here to help you.

Sovrn is actively scanning our ads for malicious activity and preventing these bad ads from reaching your page. If we detect a malicious ad, we will replace it with an alternate, approved creative. The bad actors that insert malware and redirects into ads change their practices erratically, so there is a chance that we won’t catch every instance. That’s why we’ve invested in fixing this industry scourge.

Sovrn did see a some redirects get through our filters over this past weekend. I believe we identified the source and removed it the creative from our network.

Are you still seeing redirects on your end? If you are, I have a few more blocks I can ad to your account.

We haven’t noticed any more of these as of yet this morning. Fingers crossed the issue is resolved for now…


Hello, this is Andrew from the Sovrn support team.
As mentioned earlier, I believe we identified the source of these redirects from this weekend and resolved the issue.
If you are still experiencing redirects, please email us directly at and we will be happy to take a further look at your individual case!



Little skeptical that you actually fixed it, I got a nice warm response like that too when I emailed about this months ago. Time will tell if you actually fixed it. How did you fix it and how do you know it won’t happen again?


Once we identified the source of the redirect we paused the campaign across the entire Sovrn network. We in turn blocked the specific creative at the source prior restoring the campaign responsible. Therefore, we are positive that this particular issue was resolved.

These types of ads are always changing and we are constantly trying to stay one step ahead. We recently started actively blocking redirects from being served on our network, but with any system, there is still the possibility they can occasionally slip through our filters.

We address these issues on a case by case bases and if you have any other questions or concerns please reach directly out to our support team.


Can you tell us the length of time it takes for Sovrn to track down and eliminate these redirects? Much like jayarr, I received a similar email months ago assuring me all was taken care of. Since then I’ve encountered the issue a few more times.
I understand it’s difficult to keep up with these “creative sources” who seem to want to make life a living hell for us all, but response time needs to be quick and swift. The more time these things are allowed to infest the system, the more chances there are of our site reputation suffering.
I was aware of the redirects this weekend, I didn’t send an email because, frankly, I was fed up with it. I was busy handling dozens of reader complaints that our site had just hijacked their browser. Just imagine the traffic drop we could suffer if these redirects hit enough of our readers.
I tested this myself and was redirected all 6 times I went to my site, at that point I just had to pull all Sovrn tags as I knew they were the problem.
I want to continue to use Sovrn and I think it’s a step in the right direction that you’re making the effort to get these redirects taken care of. I’d like to see a more swift response 24/7 to them though.
In the past I’ve been asked to dig into the ad code of the ads being served to help track these down, I have spent hours looking in an effort to help…but again, speaking frankly…I work 80+ hours a week and I’d like to think Sovrn’s team is more than capable of tracking down these issues on their own.

That all being said, I will continue to monitor this post and these forums to see if Sovrn is improving in this…for now, I just can’t risk the reputation of my site or the user experience my readers have come to expect.


I’ve been dealing with this problem too from mobile users to my site. My website has six Sovrn ads on it. In the last 12 hours, I have been dealing with a lot of readers complaining about ad re-directs that have made it impossible for them to read my site. This is also the busiest time of year for me, so it really sucks. I’m not sure how many people are dealing with this ad problem, though.

I’m not angry about it. I just want somebody to have a look at it and please try to prevent this from happening because it’s going to cost me visitors, which may cost me traffic and that means money too. We don’t want that obviously.

I emailed support late last night and really hope to get a reply soon. It’s very frustrating.


We are also seeing the same exact redirect, with the same exact site, occurring again as of this morning:

Starting to get seriously concerned here.


We also experienced these issues awhile back (on mobile), and I got so frustrated with the lack of action from Sovrn that I eventually pulled their ads completely from our site, It’s disheartening to see this still going on all these months later. :frowning:



We are very cognizant of how big of an issue this is for all publishers. Although, we have always done our best, we acknowledge that we have struggled in the past to track down and eliminate redirects. Unfortunately, every case is unique and complicated to track as the bad actors purposely make their malicious actions difficult for DSPs and Exchanges to detect. What we were able to do in the past was completely dependent on the information that we were provided. And at times it felt like whack-a-mole with us getting a bad ad blocked on one DSP only to find it appear in another shortly after.

We continue to investigate every reported redirect fully to determine the responsible party. We also give publishers the correct ad partner to contact, if it has been reported to us by mistake. We know that if it is hard for us to track down the source of the bad ad, then it is also difficult for our publishers. When we find ourselves to be at fault we admit it and contact our demand sources directly to fix the issue immediately. When we find that we did not serve the ad, we pass the information along to the publisher so they can take action. We have a dedicated ad quality team that is available for bad ad support if you visit

Today, we now have the tools to proactively protect publishers and to better investigate malvertisements. We recently partnered with Confiant to scan every single OpenRTB bid response looking for malware and redirects. We can align only OpenRTB demand partners upon request, allowing the publisher to be confident that sovrn will not serve any malicious creatives. The downside is that there is a marginal revenue trade off which is not ideal for everyone. This is available upon request.

We are always available at to help set this up for you, discuss your options or answer any questions you might have. Please contact us and we can give you full rundown on our new partnership with Confiant and what it means for you.

We are dedicated to eradicating these ads from our exchange and appreciate your help and input in doing so. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are reaching out to each individual publisher who has posted in this thread to be sure that we find the necessary solution and eradicate the issue, whether it be from sovrn or another ad partner, or both.

Thank you again for all the great input regarding this issue. We are always striving to get better and hearing your experiences helps us to do so.



I have reached out to support, and they are definitely helpful which is fantastic.

However, another bad ad was reported by one of our editors again today.

I completely understand how difficult of an issue this is for you guys, and its great that you have a partnership which can help mitigate - but I want to add in my thoughts of how important it is that you get rid of this… even if it costs you money.

I understand programmatic, and I understand the challenges of tracking down the kind of bad actors that do this. I also understand it happens to the best of 'em… but from Site owners and Editor’s perspective, they see one of these things and in their mind the sky is falling. I don’t want to have to rip Sovrn out of the stack in the slightest bit - but I’m getting pressure to do so from all sides.

We’re in this together, and I want to stay that way - but its nearly impossible to assist in tracking them down from our end. Editors and users (who are usually the ones that see it) are not capable of running extensive tests to track down specific calls… let alone run constant monitoring because they can’t predict when its going to happen. Add to the mix it happening on mobile only in certain Geos - and it even makes it really difficult for a developer to figure it out.

How can we better protect from this in the future? I’ve done enough programmatic to know it happens… but I’ve never seen a really good solution for just how to actually prevent this stuff. I appreciate the involvement from Sovrn on this discussion, and perhaps all of us together can come up with a better way.



Please visit and send us the information regarding the reported ad that your editor sent to you. We will look at it immediately.

Regarding your post, you now have the option to align only demand partners where we are scanning every bid request being served through your tags. If you are interested in this option, please mention so in your email and we can make that change immediately.

We also have the ability to scan the site in real time. We can use this process to find whether or not sovrn was the guilty party. We look forward to helping you.

Thank you!


Left this comment on a different thread but it’s more relevant here:

The workaround to prevent such redirects is to put ads in iFrames and use the sandbox attribute.

<iframe sandbox="allow-forms allow-scripts allow-same-origin allow-pointer-lock allow-popups" width=300 height=250 src="sovrn-ad.html"></iframe>

There is pretty good browser support for the sandbox attribute so it should work everywhere except Opera Mini.


I was helped by Andrew of the Support team and I don’t think there’s a problem on my site anymore. At least I haven’t had a user mention it for a few days. I did the thing that was mention that could lead to a slight loss in revenue, but that’s fine if they can better prevent the bad ads. Thank you Andrew for the help.


Hi All-

Just wanted to reach out and thank those of you who have contributed to this thread.

When we decided to open up a discussion about Ad Quality, there was concern internally where the conversation would lead. We hoped this thread would enable Publishers to notify us when bad ads came through, so we could stomp out the ads on our side - and collectively provide ways to clean up sites from malicious ads. We wanted to actively address the issue and collectively do something about it. This discussion could have gone either way - positive or negative. We took a chance - and thanks to those who have participated in this discussion, it’s turning into a valuable discussion for solutions.

Yesterday, Sovrn was ranked by Pixalate as the #1 seller trusted programmatic network. We’ve worked hard to get this ranking and are moving forward to stomp out these bad ads from our Publishers sites.

Thanks for your constructive discussion on this issue.



While we appreciate our Publishing Community offering work arounds to the redirect problem, since we have not tested this solution internally, we Sovrn cannot endorse this method. If anyone uses this code, it is at their own risk and we do not encourage it. Please reach out to if you are interested in our applicable solutions. Thank you!