Do Popup Ads Work?

from the haven't-we-been-over-this? dept

About a year ago, there were articles about popup (and pop under) ads everywhere. They were annoying and intrusive advertising that generally pissed people off. Then, the articles disappeared. I don’t know if I just stopped noticing them, but perhaps it was related to my own decision to make sure every browser I use does not allow pop-ups at all. It’s worked out great, and my web surfing experience is greatly enhanced. So, I was almost surprised to see an article asking if popup ads worked. As far as I’m concerned, the question no longer matters – since they’re so easily blocked. The article quotes all sorts of academics giving different reasons why the ads actually do work well in some cases – though, I think it would help if they did a better job defining popup ads. I don’t consider certain popups as ads – if they’re related specifically to the site I’m viewing. It’s the outright ads that begin to litter my desktop, and which I have no interest in (and which would occasionally crash browsers) that were the real problem. However, some in the article are right in saying that it’s nowhere near as big a problem as telemarketing or spam, especially since users could simply choose to avoid the sites that served popups altogether. Also, since popups are so easily blocked, I’m betting the usefulness of the ads has been dropping.

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Comments on “Do Popup Ads Work?”

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Smoses says:

No Subject Given

Now, who’s popups are you talking about?
Standard ads, sure those can be blocked, but what about the AOL ads? Those are annoying, and I would be even more successful because AOL users don’t seem to mind them. Sure they can be turned off for a year, but then what? Anyway, you’re right. Popups aren’t very well defined in the article. But the thing to remember mike, is that we are elite users. You’re average Joe internet user might see a popup and think “Oh gosh, I would really like to have a wireless webcam” and thus the vicious cycle continues. You and I can and will block popups by using either a program to stop them, or a web browser like Mozilla, that automatically suppresses them. But Average Joe user who doesn’t even know what a web browser is probably won’t. I feel bad for people like that.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: Other browser alternatives

I use CrazyBrowser ( which is a shell for Internet Explorer. It provides tabbed browsing (how did I ever live with out that?) and built-in pop-up blocking. Since it’s just a shell for Internet Explorer, it works well with a majority of websites that only support IE.

The problem with it and with other pop-up blockers is that some websites only work if you disable your pop-up blocker. I’m not talking about websites that have scripts to make sure you’re seeing their ads, I’m talking about poorly-designed websites that use pop-up windows as part of their design.

Creative Labs is one of the worst offenders, as it was impossible for me to download a set of drivers for my sound card with pop-ups disabled – because the download link is displayed in a pop-up window. Even after enabling pop-ups, some of the windows that popped up had no scroll bars, were a fixed size and the button you needed to click were not displayed, PageUp and PageDown didn’t work and the only way I was able to find the button was to click and drag the mouse and highlight the text in the window and keep dragging down until the button was revealed.

I haven’t checked back, but after wasting almost an hour trying to download one simple file that should be easily available to all visitors, I sent an e-mail to their webmaster begging them to change their design so it didn’t require pop-ups.

achacha (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mozilla

I use Mozilla Firebird 0.6.1, once I switched to Firebird and downloaded some extensions, I deleted Opera, Mozilla 1.5 and stopped using IE (can’t delete that without killing windows).

I can’t recommend Firebird enough, it’s truly the future of browsers. It is also the best browser for a developer to use. Did I mention it blocks popups and unrequested windows? 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Stopping the Pop ups

Since your sense of humor is still intact … even considering the terrorist threats , I must comend you and pray you do receive the wrath of the ” politically correct ” …

Dammit BOY … Get that rifle noise thing BACK !

In further podering … you may have a point, although I think I would choose the sound of breaking glass for my notification …

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