By George Johnson
Pop-up ads are a form of online advertising on the World Wide
Web intended to increase web traffic or capture email
addresses. It works when certain web sites open a new web
browser window to display advertisements. The pop-up window
containing an advertisement is usually generated by
but can be generated by other means as well.
A variation on the pop-up window is the pop-under
advertisement. This opens a new browser window, behind the
active window. Pop-unders interrupt the user less, but are not
seen until the desired windows are closed, making it more
difficult for the user to determine which Web site opened
For early advertising-supported web sites, banner ads were
sufficient revenue generators, but in the wake of the dot com
crash, prices paid for banner advertising clickthroughs
decreased and many vendors began to investigate more effective
advertising methods. Pop-up ads by their nature are difficult
to ignore or overlook, and are claimed to be more effective
than static banner ads. Pop-ups have a much higher click rate
than web banner ads do (about every 14,000th popup ad is
Pornographic web sites are among the most common users of
pop-up ads. Some particularly vicious types of pop-up ads
(again, most often seen in connection with adult entertainment
sites) appear to have either been programmed improperly or
been specifically designed to "hijack" a user's Internet
session. These forms of pop-ups sometimes spawn multiple
windows, and as each window is closed by the user it activates
code that spawns another window -- sometimes indefinitely.
is sometimes referred to by users as a "Java trap", "spam
cascade" or "Pop-up Hell" among other names. Usually the only
way to stop this is to close the browser.
Opera was the first major browser to incorporate
tools; the Mozilla browser later improved on this by blocking
only popups generated as the page loads. In the early 2000s,
all major web browsers except Internet Explorer (then the most
popular browser and still as of 2006) allowed the user to
unwanted pop-ups almost completely.
In 2004, Microsoft released Windows XP SP2, which added pop-up
blocking to Internet Explorer. Many users, however, remain
unaware of this ability, or else choose not to use it. Many
others are not able to use it at all, as they do not use
Windows XP SP2, but older versions of Windows. Some users
install non-Microsoft ad-blocking software instead.
About The Author: We are devoted to getting rid of popup ads.