Home > All, Security Issues > Pulse 360 (highly) targeted pop-up adverts

Pulse 360 (highly) targeted pop-up adverts

Now here’s a conundrum. I suddenly started seeing Pulse 360 adverts on my blog when using an old netbook running XP. Strange, I thought; I don’t know why they’re there. I checked on my OSX 10.6 running the very latest Firefox with NoScript. Nothing. I checked on other computers and other OS versions with older browsers. They showed on IE, Safari and Chrome. I asked my son, running Safari on OSX 10.5 with AdBlock. Nothing. He switched off AdBlock – and up they popped.

Uninvited Pulse 360 advert

Uninvited Pulse 360 advert

But it gets stranger. I asked security people what they thought. None of them could see any adverts – it only seems to be affecting me; or at least all of the computers behind my IP address.

But it’s multiple computers and multiple operating systems; so it’s not likely to be tied to a local infection. And after all, Pulse 360 is a legitimate business (yeah, right); so they wouldn’t do anything illegal. I suppose it could be something just affecting my router – that could affect internal browsers without affecting anything external. But it doesn’t seem likely.

So what are we left with? Has WordPress done a deal with Pulse 360? That doesn’t seem likely either (I’ve asked them, but haven’t had a reply yet).

What about the theme I use in WordPress? Could that have been compromised? But if so, why just pop them up on my computers and no-one else.

Or could the theme author have done a private deal with Pulse 360? By just showing the adverts to the blog owners, it could be an attempt to stay within the WordPress Terms and Conditions.

Frankly, I don’t know the answer. When I find out, I’ll let you know. Meantime, if the blog moves to Google blogs, you’ll know it was WordPress. If the theme suddenly changes, you’ll know it was the theme. But for the moment, it’s a conundrum – and I’m not happy.


For the next chapter, see WordPress Pulse360 advertising: block them with NoScript and TACO with Abine on Firefox

Categories: All, Security Issues
  1. September 3, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Neither of the ads has anything to do with the content or the title.

    WordPress states
    1. “(From time to time, we display text ads on your blog to logged-out users who aren’t regular visitors)” … and in another statement say
    2. “(we sometimes display discreet AdSense advertisements on your blog to help pay the bills)”, both contradict each other. The no ad option is to pay ($29.97/yr).

    So in theory WordPress display irrelevant un-targetted ads unknowingly, because either of the policy statements overrides each other.

    Another issue is why Pulse360 offers an opt out option http://www.pulse360.com/clear_ad_choice.html when you never opt in, sounds a lot like spam


  2. maxdmc
    September 2, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I’m similarly disgusted – As a paying user of WordPress there’s no way I should be forced to endure adverts, which sneakily don’t appear when I’m logged in, instead appearing only when the site is accessed externally. I wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t look so cheap and awful – “Mum made $500 dollars from home”. No.


  3. September 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Have noticed the same thing, ad tracker sent via pulse360.com targetted sponsored links (more like spam). Site offers opt out option ( http://www.pulse360.com/clear_ad_choice.html ) but not sure if this will exacerbate the problem and serve more irrelevant ads.

    WordPress states “From time to time, we display text ads on your blog to logged-out users who aren’t regular visitors, we sometimes display discreet AdSense advertisements on your blog to help pay the bills. This keeps free features free” Go Ad-Free ($29.97/yr)

    Block: http://content.pulse360.com/ ) via control panel > internet options > restricted sites. Delete: click.pulse360 cookies they have several.

    What I find strange … using Chrome browser normal window the ads do not appear, when using incognito windows the ad appear at bottom of the post, but not on every blog post. WordPress say ads are random and indiscrete but I’m not convinced. When the blog post refers to “Five ways Apple will never be the same without Jobs as CEO” you hardly expect to see ads for non-relevant spammy ads:

    Men Reports Marriage Revived (althena peromones added to cologne help men)
    Hey Salesperson Tired of Objections? (master the secret techniques)

    Suggesting its time to upgrade or move blog, this never happened on Blogger!


    • September 2, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Julie

      Using an old browser I can see the adverts on your blog. I guess then that all the colleagues I asked to comment were using Adblock or some other blocker when they looked at my site.

      It took about 3 days to get any response from WordPress support. They seem to want to stress that only discreet adverts, such as Adsense, are occasionally used. Pulse 360 is NOT discreet.

      I am not at all happy and waiting on further response from WordPress.

      In the meantime, WordPress has become the best advert for Adblock I’ve come across…


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