Wednesday, May 29, 2013

AOL displays unwanted ads before returning to inbox, regardless of user's wishes

Just a little note -- today, when I went into AOL, something "happened".   When I sent a new email (not a response), instead of offering me a chance to return to the Inbox, an ad would flash, usually from a mortgage company claiming to offer refinancing and inviting the visitor to click on rates.

I don't know whether this could be due to malware or is just a marketing ploy for revenue.  But it's normally improper to display an advertisement on a user's screen (this happened on a PC in an XP environment and on a laptop in a Windows 7 evnironment) when the user did not navigate to it. But companies are probably finding it harder to earn revenue.

The browser was Chrome.  I don't know if setting "do not track" could suppress the display.

And it's pretty obvious that it's dangerous to enter into financial contracts online introduced in such a cavalier manner.

Oddly, I got one cell phone call where the caller thought I was responding to a Craigslist ad.  No.  I haven't. Hope something isn't going on.

Update: May 30

Late in the day, one day after this posting, I got a call from an 866 number in northern VA (identified by Xfinity on my TV) on my (Comcast digital) home phone/  The voice was broken, and the caller said he was from AOL.  He said I needed to change my account.  This sounded suspicious.  He gave me a number to call back as "1-855-763-3147", which does not match any of the contact numbers on AOL's site (1-800-827-6364).  I tried the 855 number and it said it was AOL, but I am going to check later with the number of the site to see if this is legit.  Does anyone else know what is going on?

Later, when in a Windows 8 environment but signed on to AOL, I was visitng Major League Baseball (MLB), and when going to a Wrap for a game, I got an ad from AOL.  The problem went away when I signed out of AOL (on Google Chrome).  Weird!

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