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June 16, 2005 12:02 AM

Broken: Pop-up ad

Stan Miller writes:

Visited a site today and got a popup ad -- for popup-blocking software. This is as fundamentally broken as somebody breaking into my house to sell me a security system, or kicking my teeth in to sell me dentures.


or rear-ending you and then telling you where to get it fixed for cheap

Posted by: dont start the "this isnt broken" at June 16, 2005 12:55 AM

What's broken is that there are enough stupid people in the world that will click on a pop-up ad and actually buy something that such businesses make money.

I had a college professor--a PhD in Computer Science teaching friggin' web programming--click on a banner ad THREE TIMES IN A ROW because it was disguised as a Windows error message and she didn't realize it was a banner ad even when it took her to the website of the advertiser. She was going to call the college's tech support desk--staffed by HER OWN STUDENTS--to come "fix" the computer.

Whether spam, pop-ups, pop-unders, animated banner ads, or those stupid layer ads that cover up the page you want to see until you dismiss them, there will ALWAYS be stupid people with more money than brains who actually send the creators of these things cash while bitching and moaning the whole while about spam and advertising.

What's broken are these idiots keeping the advertisers in business, not the advertisers. I guarantee they're making more money than I am (or that professor is) by putting those ads up. That's a free market economy, folks, and ain't nothin' broke about it 'cept the IQ of your average consumer.

Posted by: Hoki at June 16, 2005 02:05 AM

That is actually good targeted advertising (I'm not saying I agree with pop-ups). The people who are most likely to need popup-blocking software are people who can see popups. Admittedly the advertisers are part of the problem.

Posted by: anb at June 16, 2005 06:19 AM

... or a bunch of thugs coming into your business, busting it up, and making you pay to keep it from happening again. I.e., a protection racket.

Posted by: Chauncy at June 16, 2005 06:43 AM

I'm actually having a dilema relating to this. I'm building a new home and I'd like to put in home automatiion devices and cameras. X10 has excellent prices on the things I would need, but their popunder advertising techniques really annoyed me and led to widespread abuse. What do you guys think, look past their sleazy advertsing to buy their products or spend more on competing products?

Posted by: Joshua Wood at June 16, 2005 08:35 AM

Hoki: I still think that the fake-Windows-error banner ads are extremely unscrupulous— in fact, I'm almost tempted to classify them as 'broken', and will continue to do so for the ones that don't clearly display the word 'advertisement' or some variation thereof in the banner.

Posted by: codeman38 at June 16, 2005 08:39 AM

Oh, come on. When's the last time you got a real windows error INSIDE THE IE WINDOW? Change your window color to silver or whatever and then you'll be able to tell the difference, since ads only use XP Blue. Throw a brick through the window with a glass-smith's number on it.

Have you guys seen an ad for it pops up, in your ie window, and you can't dismiss it. you have you refresh the page, for lack of a better way to get rid of it. SO annoying.

Posted by: Bob at June 16, 2005 08:46 AM

Another reason why pop-up adds are broken.

Posted by: bmcf at June 16, 2005 09:18 AM

As a user experience, it's annoying, but from an adverstising standpoint, it's reaching the right audience. As for using X-10 cameras in the home, aside from any ethical considerations, one should realize that X-10 cameras transmit wirelessly in the clear. Anybody with a receiver close enough can also pick up your feed.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at June 16, 2005 09:39 AM

I'm not that concerned about remote transmitting, since I'll only turn on the cameras when motion is detected, and it's just looking at the entry areas, but thanks for the link it was interesting.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at June 16, 2005 10:22 AM

Use Mozilla Firebird, and you'll rarely, if ever get pop-up ads. And it has Tab browsing. It is far superior to IE.

Posted by: Tom at June 16, 2005 12:42 PM

The other day I got a pop up from a company called View Point and I tried every trick I knew to get it off my screen, but nothing worked. The worst was that it took one quarter of my screen and was ALWAYS on top of everything else. My last resource was to reboot my computer. Those people from ViewPoint are really broken assholes and if I could, I would punch them in the middle of the face with my closed fist.

Posted by: SAM at June 16, 2005 01:30 PM

Reminds me of one time I got a call from the phone company offering to sell me some sort of service that allegedly would cut down on telemarketing calls. When the person reading their script said "you can stop annoying telemarketing calls," I immediately interrupted with "you mean like this one?"

They stopped, were silent for a few seconds, and then answered, "Uh, yeah, I guess."

I didn't buy the service.

Posted by: Steve at June 16, 2005 04:15 PM

Yes, IE is broken, and no, it's not "Mozilla Firebird". It's "FireFox".

IE is a TERRIBLE browser.

Microsoft has ignored W3C standards with it's horrible rendering engine. It has no support for the :hover css selector on anything BUT hyperlinks. In fact, there's hardly any CSS2 support. For some reason they think they can create their own standards and lock web developers in.

Instead of fixing the large number of security holes and support problems, they decided to concentrate on things like tabbed browsing, which is useless if the browser sucks.

Why should web developers have to bust their asses trying to keep up with a pos browser when they could be exploring new and better web standards?

Join the fight against IE and DOWNLOAD FIREFOX!

I've NEVER heard anybody try FireFox and not like it as much as IE.


Posted by: AnyKey at June 16, 2005 04:39 PM

"Yes, IE is broken, and no, it's not "Mozilla Firebird". It's "FireFox"."

Actually, it was called Firebird back in the day before they changed it. You're BOTH wrong!

Posted by: Jello B. at June 16, 2005 05:10 PM

Yeah, everyone should use Firefox, no popups, well, popups are rare in Firefox but you do get them from time to time. It's more secure and like others have said, features tabbed browsing. Firefox will be responsible for the death of IE. Well, I hope anyway.

Posted by: Jon at June 16, 2005 10:53 PM

Not to get too incredibly off-topic, but I'm getting a fair number of popups nowadays using Firefox. Advertisers have gotten pretty clever. (This, however, is broken in and of itself: the people using pop-up blockers consists mostly of the type that would never, ever buy something from a popup out of principle.)

Posted by: Matt at June 17, 2005 03:02 AM

I am in middle school and the computers at my school always get these disguised-as-error popups that say u are infected with spyware. Everyone using the computers always runs to a techie or teacher and ask, what should i click, what should i click, it says the computer has got spyware! most of the people who come to help say to click okay, no one seems to know that its a popup and u should just x it out. it is sickening!

Posted by: socrates at June 18, 2005 07:19 PM

Well, they wouldn't have as much of that with Firefox (I assume they are using IE). Yes, popups do appear more often, even in Firefox but not nearly as often as IE (even with a pop-up blocker). I've never heard of anyone who knows anything about computers ever say to click okay for one of those things.

And seriously "u are", I'm sorry, that's in my top ten of "things that annoy me" and "x it out", let's try close the window. And, the computer probably does have spyware on it, unless they are using spybot, adaware and AntiSpyware Beta, which I highly doubt.

Posted by: Jon at June 19, 2005 11:06 PM

I tried firefox and i hated it, it sucks! use zone alarm for popups, i NEVER get popups anymore! ie is less secure, but it IS windows, not like its the most secure OS anyways... if you want security, get a mac or use Linux.

Posted by: firefoxsucks at June 20, 2005 04:48 AM

When I do have to use IE, the google toolbar does a good enough job of blocking pop-ups. But some sites are just pop-up central even with the google toolbar. Instead of saying that Firefox sucks, explain why it sucks. I like it a lot better than IE, unless you just hate the tabbed browsing feature in Firefox, which is why I got Firefox in the first place. And, the reason I have all those antispyware programs is because I'm paranoid, they never find anything.

You can add tabbed browsing to IE with the latest version of the MSN toolbar, but it makes it slightly slower and I don't like MSN search, I prefer Google, that's a preference only, though, they do provide almost the same results.

Posted by: Jon at June 20, 2005 08:33 AM

BTW, when I'm on an open Wi-Fi connection and not behind a router (hardware firewall), I use Sygate Personal Firewall (free) because it has more custom security settings than ZoneAlarm (free version) offers.

Posted by: Jon at June 20, 2005 08:51 AM

Hey Socrates- Doesn't your school use Macs? Mine does. They suck, but at least you can tell that the popups aren't real. And that is sickening. Oh well. There are constant reminders of how stupid humanity is.

Posted by: Bob at June 21, 2005 08:51 AM

Firefox is awesome, but some pop-ups still get through. I love the tabbed browsing; it makes everything easier. I would much rather use a web browser that is already secure than use IE and have to get a bunch of third party software to patch its security holes.

I don't get spyware because I use Linux. I'd advise switching to Linux, but don't get rid of Windows because you need to go back to it for a few things.

Posted by: Phantom at June 21, 2005 10:51 AM

if u use windows xp popup blocking with kerio firewall it seems it seems to eliminate 100% of popups beign that kerio firewall injects javascript into pages to keep them from popping up(?) i claim to be no expert but since i got AP2 on xp pro and enabled my kerio and popup blocker (privacy tab, internet options) i have gotten no more popups......this will do little if u already have adware/spyware though :p

Posted by: john zaro at July 2, 2005 03:21 AM

corrections : SP2 sorry for posting again

Posted by: john at July 2, 2005 03:23 AM

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