Major brands tricked into advertising on porn sites.

Back before the days of people learning how to deal with them, big, rectangular ads ruled the internet.

They’d appear on every website, hoping to blink, flash, and auto-play their way into getting us to click on them.

James Plafke of Geek.com posted today about the sneaky ways that advertising networks are slipping mainstream ads in with porn ads, or as Plafke put it in his headline, “Major brands tricked into advertising on porn sites.”

After providing a very brief primer on the history of banner ads, which eventually gave way to pop-ups, which themselves were soon dealt with by pop-up blockers, he notes of pop-ups and the current trend, “However, they still appear from time-to-time, but mostly on porn or piracy sites, and tend to serve related ads.

Now, though, some of those porn pop-ups include ads from major recognizable brands, like Netflix and AT&T, and those major brands were duped.”

Duped, you say?! “Other major brands, like Procter & Gamble’s Gillette, and Unilever’s Dove and Axe, have also been included in the scam,” he continues, adding, “The scam is actually simple enough, and the major brands likely just didn’t notice how their ads were being served.”

The ruse works like this, claims Plafke: “When you navigate to a web page, a pop-up might invoke in the background behind the main page you’re visiting. The pop-up is full of ads — in this case, very graphic porn ads.

However, one of the ads in the porno mix is a fairly tasteful banner from a major brand… Clicking on the ad, though, would normally tell the advertiser where the traffic is coming from, and reveal the porn origins.

The sneaky bit of the scam comes into play when you click on the ad. If you happen to click on the Netflix ad that’s surrounded by porn ads, the traffic is encrypted and the porn origins are obscured. It looks like the click came from the mainstream site that you were browsing, not the porn window.”

The solution? “Major brands are going to have to pay more attention in order to put a stop to it.”

Plafke concludes, “Video auditing company Telemetry actually put together a digital calendar of the ordeal, but instead of cats sitting in baskets, each image is a major brand’s ad surrounded by graphic porn.

You can check out the calendar here, but it’s definitely not safe for work.”

[ShyToBuy_Viaman]