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It appears someone is trying to promote clouds on the network. I've seen this ad on various sites, and as a sidebar and banner style ad.

What is it for? Clicking it results in nothing but selecting a part of the ad, as can be seen in below screenshot. Which makes it clear the clouds are just made up of white circles. Is there some hidden message?

strange clouds add

Edit:

Following the comments this appears to be a regression of this thread: Why an image of clouds made of dots as an ad?

Edit2:

Yesterday I encountered this sort of add out in the wild on the interwebs. So it appears to be something on the advertisers side, not specifically to SO. This happened when I went to read an article from a local newspaper through facebook, which renders a sort of primitive browser within facebook.

  • 1
    My bet is on Groen Links ... – rene Oct 9 at 8:23
  • Good one @rene, But I also wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be D66 – Luuklag Oct 9 at 8:26
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    Is it...cloud computing? – VLAZ Oct 9 at 8:31
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    This is going to be the Starfish scenario all over again, isn't it? – Bart Oct 9 at 10:06
  • might very well be @Bart, but at least the starfish was advertising something... – Luuklag Oct 9 at 10:11
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    Already asked meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/292332/… – Ankit Sharma Oct 9 at 12:32
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    @AnkitSharma well then this is a regressed bug – Luuklag Oct 9 at 12:34
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    I am really inspired by Mitchell's answer on the original question. Once I make my millions I will have to remember to pay for non-ads with pictures of my favorite animals (jerboas among them) on websites that I like – HFBrowning Oct 9 at 19:16
4

As far as I remember (from digging into it in the past), it's a generic banner used as result of internal error.

The answer by the (former) SO developer to the linked old bug report hints that as well:

The clouds are due to an ad tag being implemented improperly

"Implemented improperly" >>> Error >>> generic banner so there won't be an empty gap

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