SourceForge Strengthens Ad Blocking Program

By Community Team

Since 1999, SourceForge has provided a range of free services to Open Source software development projects, including Git SCM, ticketing, and download delivery. One way that these services are funded is through advertising appearing on the SourceForge site.

Our advertising consist of direct-sold ads which undergo direct review by our staff, and indirect ads from external ad networks like Google AdX. From time to time we receive issue reports from our users regarding indirect ad content. We act quickly on problem reports, and have blocked more than 170 ads in the past 12 months.

We’re pleased to announce changes to our BlockThis initiative to make the process for reporting problem ads clearer, to rapidly process actionable complaints, and a continuous improvement cycle to consider changes to our advertising standards to better meet community expectations.

  • Problem ads are now submitted to a public ticketing queue, increasing transparency. Instructions for submitting problem ad reports are available at: Report a Problem with Ad Content
  • Problem ad reports are reviewed within one business day and where standards are not met, blocked (direct sold) or escalated for action by our ad networks (indirect). Our parameters for deciding which ads will be blocked are available at: What Constitutes an Acceptable Ad
  • Where a reported ad is determined by our Ad Operations team to be in-spec per our ad standards, our Community Team will provide additional oversight and may drive discussion within our business about possible changes to those ad standards.

This relaunch of BlockThis sets a cycle of continuous improvement around our advertising policies and ad blocking practices. As part of these continuous improvement efforts we intend to surface the BlockThis program to our Community Panel for further guidance in coming weeks. Noting that this program involves all SourceForge users we’d love to hear from you on our Community Voice forum at: https://sourceforge.net/p/forge/discussion/communityvoice

10 Responses

  1. Steve Corbin says:

    You’d love to hear from us, but apparently don’t much care to reply or answer questions. I’ll repeat two of mine here:

    1. How useful is that reporting process to an average user who is alerted by their anti-virus software that the link they thought was to their download of free, OSS software was, in fact, to a piece of malware?

    2. How many translations is that document available in? Not everyone who visits your site speaks English as their primary language – or at all.

    • rgaloppini says:

      Hi Steve, the BlockThis initiative has a different goal: removing malicious or confusing ads. Having said that we have plans for securing delivery-side and we’ll soon run them by the newly formed Community Panel. Stay tuned for more info on that.

      The document just like every other documentation page is available only in English for now, hope we could revisit our internationalization strategy at some point later this year.

      • Steve Corbin says:

        Those malicious ads frequently link to malware. That’s the major problem with the big flashing green “DOWNLOAD” buttons that appear all over your pages.

        Your reporting process is onerous and obnoxious, even for the technically literate. Is there some reason the same system which displays your ads cannot add a ‘report’ button near them somewhere?

        • rgaloppini says:

          Later this week the BlockThis program will be brought to our Community Panel’s attention for further guidance, your feedback will be evaluated and you might see the effect in the next iteration. BlockThis initative is a process, as such it is under continuous improvement efforts.

          • Steve Corbin says:

            My ‘feedback’ is nothing new – it’s the same gripe people have had about your ad program since day one, and thus far you’ve done little to nothing to actually stop deceptive ads from appearing all over the download pages for projects. I should not have to worry about my tech-illiterate friends getting a bunch of adware installed because they clicked the wrong button on what is supposed to be an open source web site. I think if you actually cared, you would have addressed the issue long ago – maybe around the time GIMP left sf.net for less ad-ridden pastures, say.

          • rgaloppini says:

            Since we have launched Blockthis we improved the situation. Our initiative made possible to remove 170 ads in the last 12 months, and we’ll keep updating the process to improve its efficiency and effectiveness.

      • Steve Corbin says:

        You also didn’t address the fact that no one from sourceforge seems to bother reading or responding to the posts in the linked forum.