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So I accidently clicked on an Adzerk link on Super User to be redirected to careers.stackoverflow.com, which is a Stack Exchange site. I'm just wondering, are these Adzerk links on the site safe to click? They're not cheap malicious ads?

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Adzerk is the company paid by Stack Exchange to handle advertisement delivery on Stack Overflow, SuperUser and Server Fault. Ad content is handled by Stack Exchange directly.

The URL just contains Base-64 encoded JSON data with a cryptographic signature to ensure integrity; the JSON data contains:

{
    "av": 414,
    "at": 17,
    "cm": 841,
    "ch": 1178,
    "cr": 8211,
    "di": "78ad0a89f3f44367b0391d08ae47ccd4",
    "dm": 1,
    "fc": 14855,
    "fl": 2423,
    "ip": "<redacted IP address>",
    "kw": "windows-7,x-user-registered",
    "nw": 22,
    "pc": 0,
    "pr": 1568,
    "rt": 1,
    "rf": "http://superuser.com/posts/800685/edit",
    "st": 8476,
    "uk": "ue1-054c1ba141d844808c3d11e666412335",
    "zn": 47,
    "ts": 1408637336815,
    "ur": "http://careers.stackoverflow.com/"
}

e.g. it contains information as to where you came from, the time, your IP address, etc; all stuff 'publicly' extractable and commonly aggregated by advertisers.

The footer on every page links to the Stack Exchange privacy policy that outlines exactly what Stack Exchange (and by extension, Adzerk) do with this information.

For what it's worth, Adzerk is also used by Reddit and jQuery.com, and they published their company values, including Users have a right to privacy when using the internet. It's a scouts honour promise, but it is nice to see their intent published.

  • Okay, so it doesnt contain any bloat like those doubleclick ads? Its just a simple redirect which extracts my ip/os name for the advertisers? – Keyes Aug 21 '14 at 16:41
  • @Keyes: Stack Exchange prides itself in making advertisements relevant and would not allow bloat. – Martijn Pieters Aug 21 '14 at 16:42
  • privacy policy that outlines exactly what Stack Exchange (and by extension, Adzerk) do with this information Note that this is Scout's honour and not legally binding. – MrLore Aug 21 '14 at 17:22

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