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Pop-up ads

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Pop-up_adsPop-up ads are methods of online advertising used to increase web traffic or capture the visitor”s personal contacts, such as 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 JavaScript, but can be generated by other means as well.

A different version of such advertising method 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 them.

Background

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 clicked on).

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 have 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. This 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.

Another variation of pop-up, commonly called “mousetrapping”, particularly fills an entire screen with an ad or Web page, in the process removing any menu bars or other on-screen icons by which the user can close the window. This problem mainly affects users of the Windows version of Internet Explorer. Often, access to other open windows and Web pages is denied. One way for PC users to close these ad windows is via the control-alt-delete command, which can result in all active IE windows (including those not connected to the pop-up) closing, and another way to close the mousetrapping window could be to hold down the Alt button and press F4 to close the active window. Another variant, a “static image ad”, is a pop-up ad that stays in a fixed position of a window of an ad-supported program. This kind of ad does not distract the computer”s concentration of a program window like a traditional popup ad does. One example of an ad-supported program that uses a static image ad is KaZaA.

Non-browser pop-up ads

Processes other than the Web browser can also display pop-up ads, or can direct the browser to display them. Many spyware programs do this, as well as some advertising-supported software, although the line between the two is sometimes thin.

A different sort of pop-up ad can be sent via the Messenger service in Microsoft”s Windows operating system. These pop-ups appear as Windows dialog boxes with a textual message inside, usually directing the user to a Web site. Claims have been made that this type of pop-up has been used to commit extortion. Threats of legal action against the company D Squared Solutions has caused them to stop using this technique.

Image http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pop-up_ads.jpg

Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses materials from the Wikipedia.

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