Some people are getting fed up with Candy Crush Saga ads hijacking their phones.
The “match three” puzzle game has dominated the mobile charts for the past year, but not everyone is happy with its creators, London-based King. Ads for Candy Crush Saga will sometimes take over a phone and redirect a mobile browser to the download page on the Google Play or Apple iTunes app store. This is quite a big deal since it’s one of the world’s biggest games with 700 million play sessions a day on Android and iOS. King said that it is a victim of adware created by scammers, and that has forced it to put one particular ad network on hold.
“Personally, I have no games on my phone,” one annoyed user, who wished to remain anonymous, told GamesBeat. “I do not have a Facebook account. I do not click on ads while reading articles. Yet, I can be reading a news article, and bam — my phone automatically gets redirected to the Google App Store’s Candy Crush Saga download page, and this happens over and over again within minutes. It is beyond annoying.”
If you do a Google search on “Candy Crush Saga redirecting,” you’ll see how extensive the problem is. We first asked King about this problem back in May, but mobile users are still running into the problem on both phone platforms.
In a statement, King said, “We are aware of the issues and sympathize with the users affected by this. As one of the world’s largest mobile advertisers, King is the primary target for adware implemented by scammers. King contractually prohibits these popups, redirects, and other nefarious acquisition techniques by supplier advertising networks and their downstream publishers.”
The company added, “Where we find evidence of an adware being deployed via a publisher on a specific advertising network (knowingly or unknowingly), action will be taken and penalties will apply. Despite our best efforts, cases of adware continue to crop up. Identification of those responsible can be difficult. Over the last week we have obtained specific evidence to suggest one particular downstream publisher has used adware forced redirects.”
The company said it has paused that particular ad network that contained the suspect publisher, pending its own investigation. King says it will take action against that publisher and let us know the outcome of the investigation. It also said it is consulting with all suppliers about further steps that can be taken to prevent being victimized as it has been, how cases of adware can be identified more quickly, and how it can inform affected users.
In separate news, King has reportedly filed secret documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public in an initial public offering valuing the company at $5 billion. King has declined to comment on whether it has made such a filing, but rumors have persisted about an IPO for months, largely on the strength of Candy Crush Saga’s success.