You’re wrecking the web…

Open letter to pop-up advertisers.

You’re the people who think that pop-up (or pop-under) ads on the web are the Next Big Thing. You like the fact that they involve more “creative” than regular old banner ads. And you like the fact that clickthru rates are higher than banner ads. And you like the fact that, like television commercials, your home pasture, they are intrusive.

But stop!

You’re wrecking the web, and, in the end, biting the hand that feeds you. By sticking these invasive, non-requested insanities on my screen, you are ruining the web as an easy to navigate information medium. This will only lead to user frustration, and that will lead to fewer web users.

Besides, everyone hates this type of advertising. Hatred leads to negative branding. I sit behind a lot of people, watching them browse the web. They curse and swear when they see this stuff popping up on their screen.

You are creative people. I know you are creative because I see you producing creative work, interesting work, witty work. So it’s time to put on your industry-wide thinking cap, and come up with a way of paying for your part of the web without wrecking the rest of it.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on March 31, 2002 - 15:58 Permalink

Take comfort! Some of the newer browsers are finally starting to add useful new features (instead of simply getting slower and slower with each release).

The Mozilla browser gives you fantastic control of how annoying scripts affect windows (see screenshot).

<img src=”…” border=”0” alt=”Mozilla browser settings”>

It is interesting to note though, that Netscape 6.2, which is just the commercial repackaged version of Mozilla does not have these features. Opera and a few other browsers also let you control popups. Mozilla is starting to become a viable alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (AOL is even going to use it in their next version — although you can be you won’t be able to turn off ads in that version either). I wonder if Microsoft will ever be brave enough to add a feature like this to IE? And now, to Alan McLeod for a Opera advertisement.

Alan's picture
Alan on April 1, 2002 - 03:23 Permalink

Thanks for the heads up Steve. I will have a look at unpoppery when I get back from Maine. The Fun One is actually on AOL which appears to be a service devised for pop-up masochists.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on April 1, 2002 - 05:06 Permalink

I ‘m less concerned with pop-up ads themselves than with the underlying ignorance of the advertising community that gives rise to them. If there is some sort of checkbox that I can use to turn off this stupidity, I will gladly accept directions.

dave moses's picture
dave moses on April 1, 2002 - 20:48 Permalink

Better talk with the folks at tourism, too, Pete. I was distraught as hell to learn that this year’s campaign included “pop-under” ads which arrive when you visit sites like Travelocity and According to the agency’s internet rep:”Stats show they work.”

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on April 2, 2002 - 18:34 Permalink

Anyone figure out the full URL for that “MSN.COM agrees with” thingie? I click and get a hugh page of almost nothing.