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Considering leaving SparkPeople - Frustrated

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Hello friends,

I have been a member of SP for almost 6 years. I joined in 2008. And, it's been a great website. However, I am getting totally frustrated with the site over the past months and especially over the past few weeks.

I know they need ad revenue to keep the site free, and I understand that. But there have been more and more intrusive ads popping up, and I mean literally popping up. I'll be reading a blog and then I get a video playing with loud audio. Very irritating. There are ads everywhere.

Today was the worst. In my hour spent on here, I got a page that popped up asking me to update my Java (I already have the latest version) with a button to "Click here". This was a full page pop-up. A little while later I got another pop-up asking me (with a button) to update my Flash (again I have the latest version installed). And amid the video popups I got, my resident virus protection software popped up twice refusing to open two pages on people's blogs that it said was not safe and promptly closed me out of SP.

I am spending less and less time on here. I read a few blogs and leave some comments (amid the popups). I mainly use the nutrition and fitness trackers. But those are available everywhere from many similar sites with less ads. I have started to use another well known site and it is almost identical to SP.

I have referred many friends to SP but they choose not to join due to the amount of ads they see. I have messaged SP about this in the technical forums and there are tons of threads in there by people having the same issues. SP's answers seem to indicate they find nothing intrusive. They said that videos shouldn't play unless one clicks on them. Well, videos play for me without my doing anything.

SP are doing nothing about this and the ads are seemingly multiplying. I don't get frustrated easily, but this is driving me craaaazy! I don't need the stress. I don't need the frustration.

So, I am going to continue for now just to log in to enter my food and my exercise, but I'm not going to do much else. So, if I don't get around to your pages or blogs for long instances, this is the reason.

This is my rant for the day, but it's been building up for a long time. Sorry to take it out on you.

Bless you, my friends!


EDITED: Since I know I will be getting comments on this, I have my browser's ad-blocker turned on. I also have run two various virus scans and nothing shows up. I have deleted SP cookies, etc. My anti-virus (BitDefender) scans my computer continuously and I have no firewall issues. This is the ONLY site that I have a problem with. Thanks friends.

EDITED (Feb 08/14): Everything appears fine now and has been great for a couple of weeks. I tweaked some things within my browser and no popup ads or annoying audio ads. Thanks for all your help. You will be stuck with me for awhile longer.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
FRED-1947 7/2/2014 8:45PM


Thank you for your very useful website, it has really helped and motivated my wife and I to continue to work on our health.

One thing I would suggest would be:

I would like to have a way to turn off the "Nutrition Feedback Report option " that pops up constantly and causes me to lose the searches I have spent a lot of time doing causing me to go back and do it again. The buttons that say "never show this again" or "close page and do not run report" do not work. They do absolutely nothing.

(note: we'll only give you this message once a day, but you can always run this report after tracking from the top of your my Nutrition page).

This is not so, it is coming up constantly creating problems.

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LAC936 2/8/2014 12:18PM

    Go to for a free download to block ads from all websites

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    Spark a couple of years ago had enough ad revenue to keep the site running and then some. Now it's greed at the expense of us. My solution is being mailed to me: ad trap!

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BARBANNA 1/25/2014 4:58PM

    I am sorry this has caused you to consider leaving this Free web site. There are options to choose to avoid this happening and I see you have received a ton. I do hope these issues are resolved so you can enjoy the best the internet has to offer in my opinion.


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GENRE009 1/25/2014 4:29PM

    I hope I can help you with understanding where or how these have become so intrusive on your Spark pages. Well I recently had the same, and it turned out to be what they call computer bloats & cookies. These slow the computer done, I had over 29 things wrong, and yes it locked me out, where I couldn't get back into the site, and said I had illegal entry. I took it into Best buy, and they quickly got rid of these. here is what I found out, and how you might get them. Well when you connect those other sites, they track you. I stopped face book, cause of this & that I didn't want to prove that I am a social butterfly which I seem on here, yet am a loner in real life. I asked a tech which site he uses, so he said Google for music, so they have you fill out an application with your address & phone. Am not liking that, cause now people can trace you if they hack. Yet Google forces you to agrees that they let third party advertiser have their info. once they start driving you nuts, and in the middle of my spark some prayers rushed in from ytube a thing on religious prayer for my X, I freaked out. I thought How do they know. Can they access me. it's a good thing I didn't go into ebay, or have they seen my craig's listing? So after, they drive you nuts then you can go back in, and take out in your third party advertisers tracking you. then they aren't connected in any way to spark. if this is not your case cause you don't have a user name on facebook, google, or ytube, go into those other accounts, cause you might have missed something in java, or what ever that other one was. it's there, it's just so much to go thru. And have your computer checked out & have the bloats & cookies whipped out. then Have it checked for virus! I found out a week later, now having 21 different things wrong. now I thought I hate those girl sales people posing like tech's when they aren't. that I had 1 illegal attachment, & 2 virus in computer. That's what they sometimes call mall ware sickness. When you get an email & you think ok , I'll just read it & no hard cause I won't down load where many get virus, yet they have bloats, cookies, and virus for third parties attached immediately when you just read. Wow, what a world we live in on the internet. you have to swim thru the crooks, and never understand who is real! I sure hope this helped you, cause it has been nice talking to you. p.s. email me what that other diet free sit is, please. eva emoticon

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NANCYANNE55 1/15/2014 11:40AM

    Oh, and I am using Firefox for my browser. I don't think I'm getting as much garbage as others, but it's still happening.

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NANCYANNE55 1/15/2014 11:35AM

    I have the exact same thing happen, and it makes me batty. Stuff starts playing (noise), and all I was doing was sitting there reading. And I can't figure out what to turn off to make it stop. But the thing that bugs me that MOST is the add I am looking at right now to the left of this box advertising a Panasonic razor. (The advertisement changes, it's just what's up there now.) It blocks almost half of the background you have, so I can't get the proper "mood" from your blog background. Or mine.

It wouldn't bug me so blessed bad if I had the option to remove it, but I don't. It's ugly and jacks up the whole feel of your page.

I get that they need to advertise to keep it free, and I actually appreciate it. I have clicked through several times to help Spark, and even bought things from a couple of companies and consequently found some great products. But when they start putting advertisement up across our own personal backgrounds and forcing us to deal with pop-ups and hear advertisements that, for me, is intrusive and taking it too far.

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GLITTERGIRL69 1/7/2014 4:10AM

    I am on here a lot and I honesty do not have problems with this web site. I have experienced pop ups, but it is extremely rare. We use a very good ad blocker, and other things as well. I hope things get better for you! emoticon

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JOANNANOW 1/5/2014 12:58PM

    I also had a problem with Java and had to remove it from the computer as it would not go away the only way to get rid of it was to use the task manager. I don't think it is actually connected to spark. I don't get other popups but I think there are blockers on my computer to deal with that. I don't find the advertising on spark people is interfering. I hope you can resolve the ad problem without having to abandon the spark site. emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/5/2014 12:08AM

    I totally agree. And as much as SP is wonderful, they are also greedy. Not only with the number of ads, but the type they are accepting. I have left briefly before for several reasons, and this was the main one. I also have bitdefender and it's fabulous. And this site is the only one I have trouble with as well. And, the site is not free. Sure, no outlay of money, but they make a ton by the amount of time spent here. I object to the ads that are sugary products, diets that are questionable, medications, and others.

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NAYPOOIE 1/5/2014 12:03AM

    I agree, it's gotten much worse. I just had two ads going off at the same time, and couldn't shut the damn things down.

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    I totally agree!! They have gone too far with this crap!

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NATPLUMMER 1/4/2014 6:56PM


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DONNABRIGHT 1/4/2014 5:15PM


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PATTYKLAVER 1/4/2014 4:09PM

    I get frustrated with the ads and the pop up. Right now, I feel that I am at a point where, yeah, I am on a few teams, and there are a few of us that talk together frequently. This is becoming more important to me that to be on different "teams" and be asked the same questions that most times are really irrelevant. I would like to start a group that's been on here awhile. We know the sites, we know where to get answers, but we need to be able to just talk and compare notes, Cheer each other on I'm still tossing things around in my mind. Then I will post a blog about it and see what kind of response I get. I wish for you the best.

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JBARSTOW 1/4/2014 3:29PM

    First (and this goes for everyone), be cautious with Java. Java has a ton of holes in it that can be exploited by hackers, and Oracle, the owner of Java, hasn't taken the issue seriously. They continue to piecemeal little patches rather than creating a comprehensive solution. If you can do the things you want/need to do with Java turned off, you're safer.

Personally, I do most of my tracking through the mobile app for Spark (available for free for iPhone and Android). You can't blog, update statuses, etc, but if you just want to log your nutrition and exercise, it's really a better way to go. No ads, and it's in your pocket when you walk into a restaurant so you can plan your meal; no waiting till you get home and being shocked at what damage you did. I use my tablet for a lot of my blogging and the like because the browser doesn't support most of the pop ups or fly-in ads, and I only see a fraction of them.

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IAM_HIS 1/4/2014 2:59PM

    I hope you can find someone who can help you put an ad blocker on your computer. Some of the ads I found inappropriate and did report them. Unfortunately money rules and our opinions are overlooked.

I sincerely hope you hang in there and find out how to block the ads...if you have a friend who has a computer savvy grandson, ask the grandson over to look at your computer. Bet the problem will get fitted.

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EXOTEC 1/4/2014 2:34PM

    I'm becoming very frustrated with the site, too. I understand their wanting to find ways to support it financially. But they seem to be less than responsive to members' suggestions, requests, and problems these days. If it's ALL an issue of underwriting the cost - I would be willing to be offered an option as a "premium member" or something to wipe out all the adware for a small fee.

I got a terrible bit of malware last month which took me (and my IT-husband) numerous runs and reboots to remove. It was horrible. You couldn't do ANYthing, and if you touched the popup in any way, you went to their site and couldn't do a thing here. As you've mentioned, SP is the only site I've had this happen on.

We use McAfee and a new program, "Malwarebites". I run scans with both of them at least weekly, and if I notice any slowing of process I run them more often. They don't always find anything, but I feel safer having them installed. I use IE newest version as an alternate, but my primary browser is Google Chrome. I haven't used Safari, although I've heard it's good.

I wish SP would be a bit more sensitive to the desires of its members, instead of only considering its sponsors. I could wish that they'd screen the sponsors for things decidedly NOT in accordance with healthy eating, too! But that's a pipe-dream, if they won't even bother with ads in general.

As you say... there are other sites out there. I do love the tools and forums I have access to here... but it's getting annoying and unwieldy now. Perhaps simple requests aren't enough to make them sit up and take notice. The bad part is that once people go, they're not likely to come back. A shame.

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TLB1630 1/4/2014 2:07PM

    DITTO!!! And hopefully everyone will click on the emoticon - I LIKED THIS! Then it will make it to the top of the "leaderboards" for BEST BLOG of the day! Well then I wonder if SP will feature it as a "winner" for member blog post - emoticon emoticon Guess I doubt that, hu?

I've been annoyed too but just click out of these ads. My frustration is when doing recipes and need the small conversion pox and a ^%$# add pops up to block the box so I can click on SEARCH - DAH!!! How the %$## can I find the conversion then? eeeerrrrrrkkkkkk

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1CRAZYDOG 1/4/2014 1:49PM

    Have you checked out BOSS61's blogs? He had some tips. In the meantime, hoping you decide to stay, at least for now!

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WOUBBIE 1/4/2014 1:46PM

    BOSS has a blog here that explains how to block the ads, but, again, you'd be best using Firefox as your browser instead of IE or Safari. No biggie, at work I have all 3 open simultaneously sometimes:


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KEKEIKO 1/4/2014 1:46PM

    Ha, I have the same "Stress Reduction Kit". I've even downloaded it to my mp3 so while I'm out I can bang my head, LOL.

Sending you a SP mail.

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FEISTYLIZARD 1/4/2014 12:54PM

    That's terrible. You say you're using your browser's ad blocker, but what browser are you using and which ad blocker? I'm using chrome and adblock pro and have no problems, except for when I go to a challenge page and have to turn it off. Anyways, good luck in whatever you do. :)

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GERIKRAGH 1/4/2014 12:53PM

    Some of the problems could be with your server.

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HOT4FITNESS 1/4/2014 12:40PM

    It is unfortunate since Sparkpeople is such a great site!! I have left for about 6 months to a year and when I cam back there were many changes. The excess ads popping up was one of them. Take a breather, log your fitness and food and maybe some positive changes will happen along the way

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B0BBIE 1/4/2014 12:35PM

    I am dealing with the same Java update stuff...I gave in and ended up with a wicked little malware which took hours of frustration to get it out of my system....Again today, 4 times in a matter of 15 minutes that same Java update keeps popping up. My java is up to date.
I have an adblock and Avast Security....neither are stopping this. :(

This is the only site that does it to me, as well.

good luck! I too am about to give up.

hahaha as I am the flashplayer update pops up...I give up

Comment edited on: 1/4/2014 12:36:53 PM

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LILMISSRED79 1/4/2014 12:30PM

    I use two free programs called Ghostery (stops tracking done by advertisers) and AdBlock Plus. I never see ads on SP anymore! Maybe check those out?

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SPARKLISE 1/4/2014 12:20PM

    I agree that the ads are getting bad.
Not sure when they will get the hint that people are getting frustrated.


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HOUNDLOVER1 1/4/2014 12:19PM

    I agree, software problem. Try Firefox as a browser, it has a good ad blocker. I only get the ones on the sideline, no sound.

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LINDA! 1/4/2014 12:03PM

    I understand. I agree that the ads that pop up are so frustrating. But I hate to see you go.

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DREAMWEAVER1637 1/4/2014 11:43AM

    I don't have any of those issues but I too would recommend an ad blocker. My BF put one on this pc and loves it. If you do decide to leave SP though, good luck to you.

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SAINTBERNARD6 1/4/2014 11:43AM

    I agree the ads are very frustrating especially when reading an article and the ad pops up right in the middle and some of them don't have a close button or a way to X them out....very frustrating.. emoticon

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CATLADYX8 1/4/2014 11:39AM

    I also get the videos playing for no reason. I don't click on the ads but the video plays and like you said, loudly. I do enjoy SP and know that the site is free because of the advertisers. I had a problem with the Flash player too and found out it was becuase I had installed the most recent Explorer up-date. Internet explorer 11 (I think it is) is not compatible with MSN if that's what you are using. I asked SP about it several times but got no response from them, very troubling as they usually respond quickly to my questions. I finally called MSN and they resolved the problem quick as a wink. So far no more problems with the FLash issue. Hope you change your mind and stay, but I completely understand your issue.

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MAMACITA204 1/4/2014 11:06AM

    What a Beautiful tree and fall colors. I appreciate S P because it keeps my history so well. Even if I use other nutrition and fitness trackers. I can still just post my totals here and see my history. I would like to also encourage you as some others did to do a computer tune up. I was having the same issues and needed to remove a bunch of malware which really helped on this issue. Good luck to you

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TWEETYKC00 1/4/2014 11:00AM

    I understand why you are upset, it can be hard to keep up with it all. I will miss having you around here like this.

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PAULAGRIFFITH75 1/4/2014 10:59AM

    I do understand your frustration, but I might can help. You need to get an add blocker or check your firewall to see if it has an add blocker and make sure it is on. I have Norton 360, and it automatically takes care of pop up ads for me. There are many ad blockers out there such as but make sure it works for your browser. Also, check your installed programs...I started getting pop up ads even with my ad blocker and when I went into programs I discovered that a program called "adware" had been installed unknowingly. I immediately uninstalled it and problem solved. Do NOT leave SparkPeople...just see if you can fix this technical problem. Blessings to you...

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SWARD45 1/4/2014 10:58AM

    I am new and noticed the same thing. When trying to do a drop down box - I couldn't field thru the multiple ads to enter my data so I gave up. It's a great food and fitness tracker but the ads are annoying. I wish there was a way to reduce as well! emoticon

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AVANELL 1/4/2014 10:56AM

    Oh, I'm sorry you are having so much difficulty. You've given me such great encouragement in your comments on my feed, etc. I hope you will reconsider. I haven't had any trouble with pop-ups yet! (And hopefully won't)

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