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I have a few sites showing AdSense ads. The sites have a lot of older users, and they often complain if they think ads are too suggestive, e.g. one of these online game ads that show a cartoon woman with a lot of cleavage.

Yesterday I got a complaint that one of my sites was showing porn ads. Not suggestive, just real hardcore porn ads. The user in question sent me a screenshot of her screen and there were ads for russian something and web cam girls, with very explicit pictures. At first I though she might have some adware/browser extension/toolbar or something that was switching out the ads, but she sent me screenshots from two different computers, and an iPhone, and they were all getting these porn ads!

So, couple of points:

  1. This woman is the only one who has complained. I get thousands of visitors a day, I'm sure if more people were getting these ads they would have complained.
  2. The ads don't have the little grey rectangle with the X and the ad choices menu in the upper right corner, like AdSense ads usually have.
  3. This is happening on three different devices for this woman, one of which is an iPhone, and it happens consistently.

So, any ideas about what might be happening here? Rogue ads, that are only shown to this woman? A bad third party ad network that doesn't screen their ads well enough? Still seems that only one woman gets these ads, so this is all very weird!

  • When it's that localized it's almost always something related to the end user. – John Conde Feb 6 '15 at 18:02
  • Its important to note how adsense works. Ads are not always relative to the page content, if your visitors are searching for 'sex toys' and then visit your site then your ads will most likely return results of an adult theme. – Simon Hayter Feb 6 '15 at 18:13
  • @JohnConde Yes, that's also what I thought, but when she showed me screenshots from her iPhone I started doubting it again. Is there malware on iPhones? Browser extensions? – user49597 Feb 6 '15 at 19:40
  • And these ads only appear when she visits your site? – MrWhite Feb 6 '15 at 20:59
  • @w3d: She says so, but I don't know how much she uses the internet otherwise. I did ask her to try one other site, not mine, that I know uses AdSense, but she said she didn't see anything there. – user49597 Feb 6 '15 at 21:08
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AdSense will never show porn ads on your site. The closest sensitive category that they have is "References to Sex & Sexuality" which doesn't actually show porn. It only has items like dating sites, or ads that mention sex, but no pornography.

It is likely that the woman in question has malware installed on her computer. The malware is replacing ads on various sites on the internet. That way the malware will make money for its creator.

  • Yes, that's also the first thing I thought. She showed me screenshots from two different computers, they could both have malware I guess, but also a screenshot from an iPhone. Is there iPhone malware? Can you even install browser extensions on an iPhone? – user49597 Feb 6 '15 at 19:37
  • Actually, "dating services" and "sexually suggestive content" is blocked from Google. See here: support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6023699?hl=en – Don Larynx Aug 4 '15 at 1:20

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