wicked cousins of spam

by Michael Patrick Goad

What's the deal with these?

Do they honestly work?

Whether they work or not... I don't like them.

As far as I'm concerned, any web page or ad that appears without my asking for it is intrusive and an imposition. It's obvious that they bother a lot of other people, too, with all of the searches and ads for "popup killer," "popup stopper," and "popup blocker," to mention a few.

I made a decision quite a while ago that I will not click on any popup ad other than to close it and I will not knowingly purchase anything from any company that uses such intrusive advertising tactics. Why reward anyone that makes my online time more difficult? Geez!

It really irritates me because I have spent quite a bit of time dealing with that other evil electronic pain, spam, which I have finally managed to get under control. (how I did it)

I really don't have problem with advertising in general. I watch advertising supported TV and listen to radio which has plenty of ads. I read magazines full of advertising  and go to web sites where there is more than ads than content.

What I do have a problem with is ads that impose on me personally.

Like popups..., and like the telemarketers.

Before the "do not call" lists for telemarketers, I refused to listen to their pitch. It got to the point that I was down right rude. But, then again, how rude is it for someone you don't know to call you at home and refuse to listen to you when you say, "I'm not interested."

To me, popups (and unders) are almost as bad as telemarketers. Sure, all you have to do is click on the little x to get rid of them. But, if you spend much time on the internet, there's just so darn many popups, to the point that it really get's irritating.

So what to do about them? This is what I do:

  • Make them worthless. If I click on them, the web-site owner gets paid and I'm not going to make him money for something that imposes on me.  And I'm certainly not going to buy from advertisers who advertise through popups.  Don't even take the time to read the popup ads or look at the pictures. Just close them. Because of the intrusion, they are not worth looking at.
  • Limit rewards for the sites that use them and do so on a inverse scale. For sites that are really good, I'll sometimes put a link on one of my pages (that helps improve their chances in the search engines) and/or check out some of their sponsors (they get paid - sometimes just for me clicking on an ad, though often they don't get paid unless the visitor buys something).
    • I don't put links on any of my sites to sites that use pop ads unless the content is very good. The bar to get a link is just a little higher for them than it is for sites that use static advertising. The more pop ads that they use the higher the bar is raised.
    • I don't visit any of the non-popup sponsors on that site unless it's something that I'm specifically looking for.  Even then, I'll probably go to that sponsor's page through a search engine or by typing in the address directly rather than going through the link on the site with the popups.
  • Flee immediately from any site or domain that opens more than one pop ad per page view. I don't care what their content is. I will not stay on a site that causes multiple pages to open each time I open different content page.
  • Use a popup blocker or filter program. While I use one, it's not perfect. (I'm not about to recommend any popup killer program as I'm not familiar with any other than the one that I use and I'd just as soon that others look around for themselves and make their own decision on which one to use.)
  • Support the content sites that use less intrusive advertising.
    • In some instances, such as the ads that you see on this page, you can do it without it costing you a dime and you might find information you are really interested in or something that's worth buying. All you have to do is click on the ad that you are interested in and the site generates a few cents for its owner while you are taken to the advertisers page.
    • In other instances, you may have to make a purchase. I'm not even about to suggest that you buy something just to support a good site. The chances are, though, if it is a good site related to something that you are interested in that there will be something there that you might be interested in.
    • If you have a web-site and the site you are visiting is a good one with content that you are interested in, add a link on your web page.  That may reward them by improving their standings with search engines and, in the end, they'll get more visitors to their pages.

Do I follow my own advice?


I recently found an interesting book on copyright that I had never heard of and found a recreational vehicle site for a dealership near us that I had not yet visited.

I hate popup ads.  I hate pop-under ads

Oh, I guess I didn't mention that I don't much care for animated ads and web pages where music starts playing that someone thinks everyone else will like..., but maybe I'll write on that on another day.

July 18, 2003


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