Was I seeing things? I don’t know. It’s never happened before.
I just visited the site of a well-known professor at a US University, Firefox alerted me to a failed pop-up ad. Curious as to what pop-ups the University researchers might be serving I refreshed the page and this time allowed the pop-ups.
They were ads for Flirtomatic and an online gambling site.
Curious, I thought.
So, I ran Spybot S&D and Adaware Personal just to double check that I hadn’t gained some trojan or spyware along the way. Of course, these two programs may have let something slip through the net but working together they pretty much catch 99%.
Nothing, perfectly clean machine.
Opened the site again, this time in Internet Explorer 7. Same result. Pop-ups blocked. Tried it from another machine offsite and asked a couple of friends to double check. Same result.
I thought for a moment it might be University policy, but no other pages produced the pop-ups. I suspect therefore that it’s someone in the department, a student with an affiliate ad account, perhaps, hoping to cash in on site visitors. I asked the webmaster at the University to look into this and within 24h they’d replied to say the ads had been removed. So, it wasn’t just me. They didn’t say whether my hunch was right or whether it was a compromised server.
Of course, Sciencebase would never stoop so low. We carry editorially independent advertising to help subsidise the site, of course, who doesn’t? But, if you ever see a pop-up let me know and I’ll advise on how to clear your site of Spyware, because it won’t have been coded at this end of the service!