(Photo by Mike Scullen).
Over the weekend, on Saturday, April 5, 2008, one of our features, I is Stewpid, hit the Digg.com front page. Though we have been there before, this instance was unique in that a few spyware redirects (from TheMishMash.com, not Digg.com) were reported.
We hoped to draw attention to these reports for two reasons:
1. We hate spyware too and we wanted to apologize to the affected users; and
2. We are not tech-savy and we need help finding out how this happened. We DON'T want it happening again.
For you sleuths then, here is what we know:
b. The numbers of visitors affected was small. Though on Saturday and Sunday our approximate pageviews exceeded 170,000 there were only 35 to 40 comments/complaints about spyware, pop-up's, redirects, etc. In fact, none of us here could recreate the problem.
c. According to some Digg reader comments, affected users, after visiting the I is Stewpid
page, were presented with a misleading popup. It further appears that a
few were then directed to (DO NOT VISIT) imunizator.com. One Digg user mentioned as a possible cause "an .swf file from [again DO NOT VISIT] promoplexer.com." A third user said he/she was redirected to [DO NOT VISIT] antispywaredeluxe.com.
d. Shortly after we learned what was reported, we immediately contacted Google AdSense, a TheMishMash.com advertising provider, and requested assistance. We further blocked AdSense from displaying ads from imunizator.com, promoplexer.com and antispywaredeluxe.com. We do not, however, yet know whether any even advertise on AdSense.
e. The problem seemed to affect only visitors coming from Digg.com.
f. To our knowledge we have never approved pop-up advertising, whether through AdSense or otherwise, though we intend on Monday to verify that.
Obviously we have no idea at this point who, if anyone, or what, was to blame. It very well could have been something we did wrong; we just don't yet know.
The long and short of it? To the Digg users who were affected, we are sorry. To those readers with expertise and/or experience in these matters, help. Any suggestions, further information, clues, etc. is appreciated. Please contact us at email@example.com.
So, (1.) sorry, (2.) help, (3.) thanks in advance and (4.) fu@k spyware!