Yahoo accussed of offering 'deceptive' ads

Yahoo's ad network is offering publishers a menu of choices for what ad appears on their site - even if that kind of advert is illegal. Fake error messages, phony Windows dialogue boxes and deceptive menus are all options.

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Yahoo's ad network is offering publishers a menu of choices for what ad appears on their site - even if that kind of advert is illegal. Fake error messages, phony Windows dialogue boxes and deceptive menus are all options.

The news comes as Yahoo's planned advertising partnership with Google looks increasingly under threat as the two accompanies have struggled to convince US regulators that the tie-up poses no competition issues.

Yahoo Right Media's Direct Media Exchange gives publishers the option of running or blocking several different types of ads, based on their "deceptiveness."

These ads include graphical advertisements that are designed to look like fake error or download messages or look like genuine Windows dialogue boxes. Also included are ads that have phony "close window" buttons or pull-down menus that actually take the user to a Web site instead of closing the window or producing a pull-down menu.

Direct Media Exchange also categorises deceptive ads by language, letting publishers filter out "deceptive or questionably realistic offers," or "free" offers that do not disclose what a consumer might have to do to qualify for this free offer, according to the company's Web site.

According to data on the Direct Media Exchange Web site, viewed by the IDG News Service, these "Free with no disclosure language" ads can make up close to 18 percent of Right Media's ad inventory at certain times.

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