TODAY, 7:06am: Have you ever used the debugging proxy application Charles? If you have, and you’re able to reproduce MLBTR’s mobile site redirect problem, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d like to work with you on a paid project to root out the bad ads.
YESTERDAY, 3:46pm: Thousands of MLBTR readers kindly provided feedback recently on how we can improve the site. Today, I’d like to discuss our advertising.
Based on survey feedback and emails we’ve received, many of you are experiencing ads on our mobile site that automatically redirect your browser. Sometimes it goes to the app store, sometimes to other sites, but it’s always incredibly annoying. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with it. At MLBTR, we loathe these ads. We don’t make money from them; they are the result of shady ad networks violating their terms. You can read more about the issue here; it is something even Google and Apple have been unable to stop.
I don’t say that as an excuse, but just an explanation. We’ve worked to remove these redirect ads for years, but it’s been a game of Whac-A-Mole. This month I am putting additional resources toward the problem. I am also hopeful that eventually, browsers will be able to stop redirects, as was Apple’s intention for Safari in iOS 8.
In the meantime, there are a couple of options you might consider. The first is to download our free app, Trade Rumors, and use that instead of the mobile website. The app has fewer ads than our mobile site does, and has never had any redirect issues. It’s also a well-reviewed app that offers custom notifications and a sleek reading experience on mobile devices.
Another option is to sign up for Google Contributor. This paid service covers any website that shows Google ads (including all of the Trade Rumors sites) and reduces the number of ads you’ll see. Google Contributor automatically uses your monthly fee to attempt to outbid a website’s advertisers. When your bid wins, you don’t see an ad. You’ll instead see an empty space where the ad was, or pictures of cats if you prefer. While Contributor can be used across millions of websites that you can potentially visit, I personally use it exclusively to reduce the number of ads shown on my five favorite baseball websites. It removes thousands of ads per month for me on those sites, and any portion of my fee that I don’t use each month is refunded by Google. I consider Google Contributor a win-win, as I give a few bucks per month to my favorite websites and see fewer ads.
Finally, if you have experience with the web debugging proxy application Charles, you could try catching a redirect in the wild. It’s way more fun than catching Pokémon. If anyone is able to record a Charles session of a mobile redirect happening on MLBTR, please send it to me at email@example.com and I’ll make sure that offending ad is eliminated.
We’ll continue to do everything we can to root out the bad ad networks. Thanks for your patience and understanding in this matter.