Is it just me, or does Gmail actively trick you into clicking ads?

This has happened so many times to me that it’s become routine to look and realize I’m on an advertisement. I’m wondering if I’m the only one, or if Gmail is actively moving their ads to intercept clicks.

Fake emails in gmail

The setup – I see a folder with 10 or so new emails in it. I start checking off the emails for deletion. The advertisements when I start are a few down or not evident. Suddenly the view refreshes (usually I’m at about second or third checkbox tic,) and while all my check boxes for deletion are maintained the spot where I was about to click to check of another checkbox is a hyperlink to an advertisement. I’m in that advertisement now.

I originally thought my PC was just under heavy load – the things I did to the old machine were near constant load, all the time. But the new machine’s not, and I noticed now I’m clicking those Gmail ads all the time. I’m also noticing that the entire line, star, white space, etc, is all a hyperlink to the ad.

Considering I pay Google for their music, ad free YouTube, Google One (which includes Gmail storage,) Nest, this … not a great feel. (I would add we use them at work as well, but what’s coming out of my pocket is what’s annoying me at the moment)

While I’m not entirely convinced they’re deliberately intercepting my clicks, I am convinced they know I’m spending a chunk of change each month on them and those fake email ads need to go.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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5 thoughts on “Is it just me, or does Gmail actively trick you into clicking ads?

  • Avatar of Dazrin

    You have ads in your Gmail? I don’t think I’ve seen one in there (other than spam) in 10+ years. Maybe it’s because I don’t use the default or priority inboxes?

    I don’t even run an adblocker.

    • Yup – I mean there’re none if I use Mail or Exchange to connect. Going to gmail the main inbox I get ’em all the time – as described here:,ad%20with%20videos%20and%20images.

      They’ve been showing since they rolled out many years ago… not sure what country you’re in but they may not be there. My corporate Gmail account does not appear to ever display them, but my personal which pays significantly more than corporate is moving ads around.

      • Avatar of Dazrin

        Maybe I’m just lucky then (or nobody wants to target me). I’ve had my accounts since 2004 in the US and never get ads like this. I used to have sidebar ads but I don’t even see those anymore. In either of the accounts I check daily.

        My wife says she gets them on a newer account but not on her original account.

        • odd. I’ve had my gmail account since 2004 if I remember correctly (oldest email I have sent to it at work is 2005 but pretty sure I signed up as soon as I could in 2004 after it opened)

          Seems like there was a waiting list or something during the first month… been so long, but i remember when it was 1 gigabyte you got.

          It appears if you’ve opted out of tracking and if you have no emails in your inbox or folder that work for the advertising units they’re pushing you just don’t get ads. As I’ve got 17 years of emails in there I think I’m getting a lot.

          When they first introduced the ads it appears there was a way to turn it off.

  • Avatar of Young Massens

    Yes, I’m sure of it too. They move right before you click to right where you are going to. I find the best way is to clear them out and delete them before I start managing my emails. I even pay for a workspace account, but since I can’t link it to my personal account, I still have to play the dodge the ads game.


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