Block ‘Download Now’ Advertisers in AdSense?

We’ve been fighting (not literally) to keep various “Download Now” ads off of because they confuse many end users. I would gladly block them all as a category in AdSense, if I could figure out which subcategory to block without losing too many “good” ads. But, until we have a good way to do that, we are blocking unwanted advertisers by their domain name.

I’ve searched the web briefly for a list of web sites to block… without luck. So, I’m posting our own list of misleading AdSense advertisers in this post.

This is strictly a list of misleading advertisers that have a big “Download” or “Download Now” button and a small amount of semi-relevant text. Many of these are offering 7-zip, PDFCreator, and other open source packages, presumably bundled with some sort of advertising.

If you find this list useful, please post your additions to the list in the comments, or at least post a comment.  If we know that there is interest in this list, it’s more likely that we’ll update it!

I believe that the owners of these websites continually register new domains, so this list will probably need constant updates.


We haven’t done it yet, but I suggest adding a border around your AdSense ad units in the future. I can’t see this problem going away, we’ve already purged these ads once.

Ironically, it was fashionable to color-match borders from AdSense so that the ads blend in just a few years ago!

Once again, please comment if you find this useful… and post your additions.

Update 2014-01-15: After trying to maintain a list, I gave up. These ads keep showing up for new domains and new AdWords accounts. My current practice is to log in once a week and block the entire AdWords accounts via the Review Center. I’ve probably blocked a couple hundred over the last 2 years.

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12 Responses to “Block ‘Download Now’ Advertisers in AdSense?”

  1. Eric Says:

    I’ve run into this too. I noticed when my pathetic click rate went up a bit, then realized why. I’d rather have happy visitors than a few extra AdCents!

  2. Leonard Chan Says:

    Coincidentally, AdSense has just added a new advertiser review panel that lets you block an entire AdWords account with one click. I used it today, and I suspect it will help greatly. I suspect that there aren’t that many individual AdWords accounts that are creating these misleading “download” ads… so rather than blocking ads by the domain, as per my original blog post, you can now block the entire account. I’m hoping this works well… because blocking by domain isn’t.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    This list was useful. I recorded some of these so my own list is already added in yours. Very useful.

  4. Steven Says:

    You’ll also want to block any site pushing bundles with InstallIQ too, such as;

    There’s thousands of these buggers sadly :o(

  5. Mary Williams Says:

    I reported some of those misleading adverts to Google Adsense a few weeks ago but they don’t seem to care, anyone who has seen those adverts knows that they are misleading, it is really bad for webmasters running software review sites, and I run one of those, because some users will click on the advert downloading spyware thinking that I am the one linking to them.

    I expected better from Adsense, strill trying to figure out how to block it.

  6. Eric Says:

    Another annoyance is that the ads aren’t showing up in the “shown ads” tool, so there’s no easy way to block them. I had to go into safari web developer debug tool to find my ay into the many-levels-deep html which finally contained the URL of the ad in question.

    This is really annoying :/

  7. Kevin Says:

    Remember, the new AdSense Ad Review center shows the most-shown ads first, so by going through the first few pages of shown ads you can whack the biggest offenders quickly. A large window on a big monitor helps here – you’ll see more ads per page. The Find Ads pane also lets you limit Shown Ads to ads added in the last 24 hours, 3 days, or one week – so you can hone in on the new offenders pretty easily. Another tip: use that Find Ads pane to Search for “download”, “toolbar”, and “PDF”. Every site that hits doesn’t necessarily warrant blocking, but they’re worth reviewing.

  8. Price india Says:

    Hello admin,
    Thanks for giving list.

    CPC getting very low due to this, and user on our websites click on same ad for multiple times.

    Update below 2 sites also,


  9. Grant Barrett Says:

    Thanks for this list (and for the ones in the comments). I was searching for a blocklist by using the domains of our two biggest culprits and this page came up.

  10. Hugh Grigg Says:

    Thanks so much for this, I really detest seeing those misleading “download” button ads on my sites as well. Apart from being semi-fraudulent, they just look so ugly and leap out of the interface. It’s a shame Google doesn’t let you just block these as a category (or even prevent advertisers from submitting ads like these).

  11. Eric Says:

    Thank you for this information! These ads are intrusive and shady. I would think Google would try to do something to combat this. It’s against their terms of use to place ads next to download buttons to “trick” customers. Yet this type of ad, to me, is worse.

    Again, thanks for the info!

  12. Ed. Floden Says:

    I haven’t seen one of these ads yet, but a user (heck, the owner) of says that he’s seeing “DOWNLOAD NOW” ads that point to, offering a modified Adobe Reader.

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