I recently got a direct ad campaign for one of my sites. The advertiser agreed to my price without much bargaining. No contract was signed, but I had specified pre payment as part of our agreement. The advertiser is not a major network. Currently they are showing affiliate ads.

Some things about this deal seems fishy to me - The amount was direct deposited to our account, not transferred from their company account. - Just below the visible ad, I can see a hidden iframe which contains the flight search widget for a major airline (Could this be cookie stuffing?) - They are contacting me from a gmail account - They did not insist for a signed contact

How can I ensure that the advertiser is legitimate and is not using the adslot for illegal purpose?

1 Answer 1


If they direct deposited into your account that's great it's as good as cash once it's completely cleared and available. Is the flight search widget related to the advertisement they are showing? If it's completely different and the size of the iframe is 1x1 pixel they are cookie stuffing and getting 2 for 1 from your site. Meaning their display ad might get clicks, it's certainly getting viewed. Then they are stuffing each of your visitors with another cookie.

Is it bothering you that much to say something? I mean if they paid your in advance and by ACH/direct deposit i'd leave it. If the flight search widget company see's it they'll easily see the affiliate ID. You are the publisher not advertiser so your not in any trouble or risk.

If you don't like them stuffing cookies remove the ads and say it's against your TOS which you should write up now and place a link to in the footer of your site.

  • I am also happy that they cannot do a charge back or anything. But I can't think any legitimate companies will be doing that, since they to show that in their accounts. The Iframe has display:none; visibility: hidden; style attribute, but the widget gets loaded (extra 160 KB loaded per page). If they are stuffing cookies, they could also install malicious software on the user computer. I will be showing their ads to over 3 million unique visitors.
    – Joyce Babu
    Dec 5, 2012 at 10:02
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    @JoyceBabu I'd be happy about that too. Cookies are harmless .txt files. As you're logged into this site now it's placed a cookie on your computer. It's the javascript which they can put through the iframe that can be malicious. In chrome developer tool you can remove the display:none and visibility style to see what it looks like. What control do they have over the ad spot on your website? Maybe you can tell them image ads only then strip out iframes and javascript with a script on your server so it only allows say jpg, png, and gifs.
    – Anagio
    Dec 5, 2012 at 10:29
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    If you click my user name and go to my web site you can contact me i'd be happy to take a look at the iframe and see what it's doing. There may be more than just an iframe.
    – Anagio
    Dec 5, 2012 at 10:30
  • I checked the iframe. It goes to the affiliate network of the airlines, which sets a cookie with a ttl of 1 year and redirects to the airlines site. I have taken up the issue with the advertiser.
    – Joyce Babu
    Dec 5, 2012 at 13:33
  • @JoyceBabu i'm sure you'll be able to work it out with them, they paid you to run a display ad and are attempting to stuff cookies. Something they know is frowned upon on any ad network. I'd just try and keep them as a paying advertiser since it's not the worst thing in the world. The're plenty of ways to handle it peacefully.
    – Anagio
    Dec 5, 2012 at 16:18

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