Grindr and Hornet disable ads which auto-redirected to William Hill

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

Gay social apps Grindr and Hornet have confirmed that they have disabled ads which were redirecting users to gambling and gaming apps, including William Hill.

Users of the apps previously voiced annoyance at the auto-redirect, which was taking them out of the app, and into the iTunes store, to the William Hill betting app.

Hornet CEO Sean Howell told PinkNews: “We serve hundreds of millions of ads every month; these ads come from a variety of sources through ad network partners. Occasionally a rogue ad like this one appears. We started receiving reports from users about this William Hill ad on September 18th. We immediately contacted our ad networks and they blocked the ads for us within a matter of hours.

“Since then we have not received any more reports of this advert. There is unfortunately no way for us to pre-emptively block rogue ads like this, but we aim to find and block them on the same day we hear about one. We rely on our members to help us find and report these rogue ads, and we take each report very seriously. We know how annoying it is! We pride ourselves on our customer service and reply to all emails from our members the same or next day.”

He continued: “I was a panellist at Smaato and the German Business Counsels event ‘the future of mobile advertising’ last year and this was an issue I raised – Mobile ad networks allow for all users to see more relevant ads, which so good for everyone. However it means ads are coming from lots of sources.

“A perfect experience is to never server an ad like these. Meanwhile, when one does happen we work to punish those advertisers and the third parties they used.”

Grindr also responded to PinkNews requests to say the issue had been resolved.

The bookmakers has in the past responded to criticism from users being redirected to the site. In March 2014, a William Hill spokesman told the Mirror that the redirect was “not intentional”, and promised to “resolve the issue”.

Despite this, Grindr users took to social media to voice their disapproval at the redirect as recently as this week, some saying that they were being redirected every five minutes.

A William Hill spokesman told PinkNews: “There has been a small issue due to a link incorrectly set up by a supplier. We are working to resolve this as soon as possible and thank people for their patience.”

PinkNews briefly experienced similar issues earlier this year, which were caused by an ad network, and were quickly resolved.