Ad Quality for Header Bidding

At Freestar, ad quality is very important to us because it's important to you. We've gathered the following questions to make it easier for you to get control over the ad content displayed on your site. This article only applies ad quality issues associated with header bidding.

What is an ad quality issue?

Ad quality issues can be content-related or security-related. Content-related ad quality issues are when the visual or audio components of an ad are not what you want presented on your site. Security-related issues involve the ad's code containing redirects, malicious code, or other threats to your users' privacy and safety.

What can Freestar do about ad quality issues?

Before any creative from a Freestar header bidding seat is served, the ad code is sent to Confiant and they check for security-related ad quality issues. If no issues are detected, the ad serves for the user. If any you or any other users report that you see ad quality issues, we'll work with you to ensure that the ads on your site perform as designed. 

Content-related issues

For any of the following ad content issues, Freestar will work with you to address the problem if it comes from a Freestar seat. If these issues are coming from your seat, we're limited in the action we can take, but we may be able to help in terms of offering you some guidance.

  • Blocked categories or advertisers show up in the content. There may be gaps in the block list. 
  • Non-secure ad content displays on secure sites. Non-secure ads break the security of the site.
  • Creatives don't display properly. An ad's link could be broken, or the image doesn't load properly, is the wrong size, or overlaps content.

In each of these cases, we need to identify the partner that supplied the ad. To do that, we need information (as detailed below, in What should you do when you see an ad quality issue?) from the user who saw the ad. 

Security-related issues

While Freestar handles any content-related ad quality issues, we've tasked Confiant with identifying and eliminating any security-related ad quality issues.

What is Confiant?

Freestar has partnered with Confiant to help protect our publishers' sites from security-related ad quality issues. Since we rolled out Confiant in July 2018, we've seen a dramatic reduction of security-related header-bidding ad quality issues. It maintains a database of confirmed malicious JavaScript code, unsafe creatives, and untrusted domains. 

Security issues they check for include:

  • Redirects
  • Phishing scams
  • Cryptocurrency mining
  • Pixel stuffing
  • Malware landing pages

In addition to blocking ads that are known to be an issue, if Confiant even suspects that an ad may be an issue, the creative is prevented from displaying. In the few cases that this applies, the benefits of blocking possible redirects outweigh the risks of potentially blocking legitimate ads. 

While Confiant has helped to drastically reduce the number of ad quality issues, there are always new ways to trick users and and redirect their traffic. As Confiant identifies new issues, the software is constantly learning and adding new code, creatives, and domains of untrustworthy sources to their databases. 

What should you do when you see an ad quality issue?

If you see a content- or technology-related issue, contact your Account Manager or send us an email at with as much of the following information as possible:

  • Description of the issue, including frequency
  • Screenshot of the offending creative (containing the time and date, if possible)
  • Date and time (including timezone) when it occurred
  • URL of the page on which the ad was seen
  • Platform, OS, and browser 
  • Geographical location of user (city, state, country)
  • IP address of user
  • Position of the ad on the page
  • Advertiser URL (if you click on the ad, where does it go?)
  • Text file containing the full ad HTML call

The more data points that you can provide, the quicker and more effectively we can solve the issue. 

If you have any other questions about ad quality, contact your Account Manager or send us an email at 

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