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Bad ads update + What you can do to help us stop them on

Where we're at in the fight against annoying and intrusive ads spoiling your enjoyment of

Annoying ads are still being annoying but not as annoying as they were, that’s the gist of this update to the news story I wrote a few weeks back about what we’re doing - with your help - to rid of the bane of annoying and intrusive ads.

As I also said back then and hopefully won't keep repeating to the point it gets annoying, this is a problem that affects only a tiny number of users and page views, but of course if it’s a affecting you it’s bloody annoying. It's also massively annoying for us because it impacts on your enjoyment of and it increases the likelihood that you'll start using an ad blocker - if too many of  you did that it would be the death of the site at least in anything approaching its current format.

Since we launched the annoying ad reporting page last month we’ve had some success in getting rid of particular ads - and with the information you’ve given us we’ve learned a lot more about rogue ad formats and, hopefully, how to deal with them, which is helping us to filter even more of them out. 

We’ve also taken some other action, most notably changing the mix of ad platforms we use to serve as on the site. The aim there was to try and identify if a particular platform was supplying more of these bad ads than the others. It’s worth saying at this point that the ad platforms hate these ads as much as we do, as do the advertisers whose ads are annoying everyone. 

The upshot of this exercise was that we did identify one particular channel as being more vulnerable to these sorts of ads than the others - ironically it was the one we thought would be the least vulnerable. We’ve stopped using that ad source, but what we also found was that all the channels to a greater or lesser extent were serving those annoying auto-scroll ads and that none (at present) seem to have a way of stopping them. It’s also evident that if you push those ads off one channel they pop up on another. 

Where we are at at the moment is placing the bulk of our non-core ads, the ones that aren’t bike related, with the channel with the best mechanism for reporting and dealing with rogue ads. So keep on reporting them - particularly if you can give us the ad code when you do. There are also a couple of other bits of useful information you can supply, the timezone you are in and the time of day you saw the ad.

Why do ads go rogue?

You’ve probably guessed this already but the reason these ads annoy is that someone in the ad supply chain is making money out of that annoying behaviour. Generally that’s not the advertiser - whose reputation is being trashed - or their media buyer - who is being defrauded of their ad spend. That was the case with the ad for BP diesel which forced the screen to scroll down to the ad - which seems to have been a blatant attempt to inflate ad views by someone getting a slice of the pay per view revenue. 

Unfortunately as long as the digital ad market remains an overly complex and opaque place there will continue to be opportunities for unscrupulous types to try and scam a dodgy buck by making ads do things neither you, me, nor the advertiser wants them to do. Stopping these ads is an arms race, the bad guys never stay ahead for very long but they’re always looking for new ways to beat the defences against them. Only a tiny fraction of the rubbish ads out there get through to this site and, as I repeat like a broken record, those that do represent only a tiny fraction of the ads served on – it’s still too many which is why we will continue to do everything possible to eliminate annoying and intrusive ads from altogether and a possible final solution is on the horizon as much (much) bigger guns than ours are trained on solving the problem.


What we class as an annoying ad on and how to help us stop them?

  • Any ad that attempts to hijack or take over the main part of the screen
  • Any auto-play video ad - especially looped ones you can’t turn off
  • Any ad that attempts to auto-scroll your browser down the page - we REALLY hate those, but not as much as
  • Any ad that redirects your browser to the app store or to another website - usually a redirect to a betting app or site.

The latter two are the most insidious annoying ads we have to deal with, luckily they are rare - though many sites have similar problems with them.

So how can you help? Well with our new Annoying and intrusive ad reporting page we’d like your help in capturing as much information about these ads as possible – screen grabs of the offending advert, and if you can get it the ad code – we’ve even got a handy video showing you how to get the code, but basically it involves right clicking on the ad, selecting 'Inspect element' and copying the highlighted code. It would also be useful if you could tell us the time zone you were in when you saw the ad and the time of day.

That information gives the ad networks - who also want to deal with the problem – the necessary information to track down and block the sources of the offending ads.

Because of the way they work auto redirects are harder to deal with – a piece of code, which might be time limited, is injected into a seemingly innocuous ad which as it loads then deploys the redirect. The problem here being that because the redirect occurs before the page has loaded it’s hard/impossible to know which ad caused the problem. Even so, if you do find this happening to you it’s still worth you giving any information you can about what happened – obviously if by any chance the page did load before it redirected we’d love to know what was on it, but we’d also like to know where you were redirected too, and what if anything happened when you got there. We’d also like to know the browser and device you were using at the time.

Finally I'd like to say thank you to those of you who've taken the time to use the new bad ad reporting page and to those that have emailed and messaged us about dodgy ads cropping up on the site.'s founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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whobiggs | 6 years ago

I honestly haven't noticed any ads or seen the button, it just goes to show that you get desensitised to most things


RobD | 6 years ago
1 like

I think I've been quite lucky so far with not getting the annoying ads. I don't mind regular ones at the side of the page or on a header bar etc.

Keep up the good work, this is still my favourite cycling website by far

SingleSpeed | 6 years ago


Open a new Terminal window

sudo nano /etc/hosts


Add this... 
localhost ::1 localhost #[IPv6] 
# [Start of entries generated by MVPS HOSTS] # # [Misc A - Z] 

etc etc ( A full list of advertisers IP addresses can be found on the internet)

Duplicate then save the Host file.

To completely stop adverts appearing in YouTube. 

Go into the developer tools and open up a console, paste this code into the console...

document.cookie="VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=oKckVSqvaGw; path=/;";window.location.reload();

Refresh, Restart broswer

No More Ads ever...




Morgoth985 | 6 years ago
1 like

Thanks from me also, much improved.

barbarus | 6 years ago
1 like

Top marks!

alotronic | 6 years ago
1 like

Thanks for being upfront about this. I am reminded that the very first imaginer of the internet (Ted Nelson) and his project Xanadu from 1960 included micropayments baked in... and is still a better internet than the broken pile of ad-dung we have now. It's the betamax of digital.



rix | 6 years ago

What ads?!

Haven't seen any...

alansmurphy | 6 years ago
1 like

Improved massively for me from a few weeks ago. Thanks!

harman_mogul | 6 years ago

Well that is the most interesting story you have published for quite some time! And I mean that most sincerely. Takes back to its roots, Mr Farrelly!

CygnusX1 | 6 years ago

Tony - thanks for the update here, and the direct email sent a week or so back.  Keep up the good fight!

EddyBerckx | 6 years ago

Nice update, thanks and good luck with this!

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