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Pop-up ads

Mon Jul 28 11:46:50 GMT 2003 Pop-up ads

Pop-ups are those annoying mini-windows that "pop up" when you visit certain websites. They can be useful: for example Tek-Tips and similar sites put up a small window inviting you to sign up if you aren't already a member.

More often, these are just highly annoying ads. Personally, I can't understand why any web site owner would want to run these things, but the sites that sell them are among the biggest on the internet: TrafficMarketplace sits at Alexa rank 35 as I write this!

If you are running Internet Explorer, you can download a free Alexa Toolbar that will show you site stats and also includes a pop-up blocker.

I certainly understand the need to run advertising. I tried running this web site with contributions, but although many people were quite generous (quite a few $100.00 and more contributions), it just wasn't enough. I run Google text ads now (Google Adsense) which are far less annoying and often are useful because they try to be relevant to the page you are looking at. I can't imagine doing something annoying deliberately, and pop-ups are definitely annoying.

The more recent "Pop-unders" are windows that pop up under your current page - you don't see them until you close that window. Interestingly, a person who says he invented these things says he did so to provide "more polite" advertising: http://news.com.com/2100-1023-931069.html?tag=fd_top

There are campaigns against Pop-under ads: ASAP! A Stand Against Pop-under ads! , and some web sites scorn them, but apparently the appeal is strong: Despite loathing, pop-up ads grow

Type "Pop-up ad" into Google and you'll get many thousands of matches, most of them offering ways to block them. You'd think that with all the negatives, and all the blocking software out there, that this wouldn't be such a popular ad method, but it's like email spam: it doesn't matter how many get through or how many get clicked on, it's so cheap that even teeny percentages make money for the advertiser



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