I see some "ads" that show the title of a current StackExchange hot network question, with the relevant SE site name and logo below it. There is a policy against advertisements that mimic StackExchange. But I'm not sure if this is an ad or not.

Is this an ad? enter image description here

The URL points to "engine.adzerk.net/..." but if I click on it, it routes the browser back to stackexchange with no obvious ill-effect. But it looks fishy...

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    Those advertisements are automatically generated to help advertise questions on another site. They're not added by community members or advertisers. – animuson May 4 '15 at 21:31
  • Don't think it's a dupe, reopened. – Shadow9 May 11 '15 at 20:30
  • Eww. That's why I use adblock. – bjb568 May 11 '15 at 20:32
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    Uh, why wouldn't it be a dupe @ShadowWizard? It's pretty much the same question. – hichris123 May 11 '15 at 20:37
  • @ShadowWizard This was accidentally pushed to the top when I fixed the typo in the title. I was satisfied with animuson's comment as an answer. If it is put there by SO then it is not in violation. Also: Since you removed the duplicate tag, can you post a comment pointing to the "presumed" duplicate? It was relevant information. – Moby Disk May 11 '15 at 20:37
  • @hichris123 because it's not asking about adzerk ads in general, just the specific case of the auto generated hot questions ads. Answer, in my opinion, should explain what are those ads, and thus why they're 100% safe to click through. – Shadow9 May 11 '15 at 20:39
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    What UI in particular are you talking about? It doesn't have any icons, arrows, voting buttons, etc. – random May 11 '15 at 21:54

Those ads are generated and placed by Stack Exchange, to advertise other SE sites to readers of the one where you see the ad. (Or, sometimes, the same site; they don't try to filter for this. I once saw an ad for the question I was viewing, but that's rare.)

Like Hot Network Questions, the single-question ads are intended to pique your curiosity and perhaps introduce you to an interesting site you didn't know about.

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