How Propeller Ads Push Notifications Got Me Blacklisted on Twitter

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(FYI: Because of what happened, I no longer use the domain mentioned in this article.)

This is my review of the Propeller Ads Push Notifications after using it for over a day. If you are currently thinking of trying it, go ahead but I would suggest to just save yourself the trouble. From the time I’ve spent with the new format, I’ve found out that they were annoying and only delivered the type of ads you’d see from malware/virus sites. I decided to get rid of it but not before my blog got blacklisted by Twitter for delivering malicious content, which just happened to be the same time Push Notifications was enabled.

What is Propeller Ads?

It’s another popular ad network like Adsense but focuses more on CPM (Cost Per Impression) instead CPC (Cost Per Click). Meaning it doesn’t matter if the person clicked on the ad, you will still get something as long as they viewed it. They have different ad formats namely Push Notifications, Onclick, Smart link, Push up, and Interstitial. They have an upcoming format which is the Banner format but I won’t bother myself with that.

What is Push Notifications?

For mobile users, it’s those messages you see at the top of your phone that you can either swipe or open. For desktop users, it’s the ones that slide near your system tray informing you of new content.

Why I thought of using Propeller Ads?

I was actually looking for an alternative to run alongside Adsense so that I can have some other means to earn online. After reading some articles and positive reviews, I discovered Propeller Ads. I was hesitant at first because there were a lot of negative comments too. But I decided to take a shot at it. And oh boy, how much I wished I didn’t.

PropellerAds Dashboard
PropellerAds Dashboard

After signing up, I created a new zone and chose the Push Notifications format since I didn’t want it to be intrusive to my readers. I already have Adsense so I didn’t want to stick different ad networks into my articles. After I added their script, any visitor who came to my site will be asked if they would like notifications to be enabled. If they clicked yes, the first ad would start showing up around 24 hours later.

When it delivered the first ad, it came in the form of an innocent “Low CPU usage?” message. Seemed harmless at first. That is until you actually click on it which will redirect you to some crappy page that says your device is infected, even though it isn’t. To close the page, you have to click OK and close the TAB. Swiping Chrome or whatever browser you’re using from the Recent Apps window will only open the spam page again when you relaunch the app.

 

Malicious popup from one of their advertisers
Malicious popup from one of their advertisers

Once I saw the effect the new Propeller Ads’ format had on my blog, I quickly removed the script so that it wouldn’t affect future visitors. For users who already gave their approval to receive notifications, they will still receive the messages. To remove it, they will have to clear their browser cache or go to browser settings > Privacy > Notifications, and from there they can block or delete your site from the list.

What’s worse is that there doesn’t seem to be any way of deleting the zone I created in the Dashboard page. Which means that the ads will keep on coming to my past readers even if the script is no longer there, unless the user goes to their browser settings and do the fix I previously suggested. I already contacted their Support team and this is what they had to say.

PropellerAds Support email
PropellerAds Support email

Just perfect. In other words, I will just have to trust my users to know how to tinker around with their browser’s settings.

What I learned

From the experience, I decided to NEVER use Propeller Ads Push Notifications format again. If these were the kind of ads my visitors were getting, then it just wasn’t worth it.

My advice? Stick with Adsense or try their other formats. Until they properly check their advertisers, just don’t bother. I had a feeling it was bad, I just didn’t know to what extent.


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