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Pop-up blocking

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Opera was the first major browser to incorporate popup-blocking tools; the Mozilla browser later improved on this by blocking only popups generated as the page loads. In the early 2000s, all major web browsers except Internet Explorer (then the most popular browser and still as of 2006) allowed the user to block unwanted pop-ups almost completely. In 2004, Microsoft released Windows XP SP2, which added pop-up blocking to Internet Explorer. Many users, however, remain unaware of this ability, or else choose not to use it. Many others are not able to use it at all, as they do not use Windows XP SP2, but older versions of Windows. Some users install non-Microsoft ad-blocking software instead.

Most modern browsers come with pop-up blocking tools; third-party tools tend to include other features such as ad filtering.

Browsers that block pop-up ads

America Online 9.0
Avant Browser
Crazy Browser
Enigma Browser
Gecko-based browsers
Mozilla Firefox
Netscape 7 & 8
Internet Explorer (with Windows XP Service Pack 2)
Slim Browser
Smart Bro

Add-on programs that block pop-up ads

Google Toolbar
Yahoo! Toolbar
MSN Toolbar
KillAd — freeware
NoAds — freeware
Super Ad Blocker
Pop-up Stopper
Pop-Up Sentry!
Bayden Systems Popup Blocker

Problems with pop-up blockers and non-advertising ‘pop-ups’

Cyworld is one of the largest Korean communities on the web, with approximately 11 million users. Each user has a home page, pre-designed and the same size, but customizable. The home page itself, however, is technically a pop-up as it is less than the size of a typical browser window (a so-called mini hompy, or miniature home page). After Windows XP SP2 was released, there was a flurry of activity as Cyworld changed its front page to explain to its 11 million users (nearly a quarter of the population) how to get past the pop-up blocker.

Circumventing pop-up blockers

Advertisers continually seek ways to circumvent such restrictions. Many of the latest pop-ups are created using Flash and have extensive animation and trickery; others use DHTML to appear in front of the browser screen.

A form of advertisement that combines elements of a pop-up and web banner is a Flash animation superimposed over a webpage in a transparent layer. The flash animation links to the advertiser’s site or product. This is a new form of advertisement, created in response to the growing popularity of pop-up blockers. Because the advertisement is an embedded flash object, it can be blocked, but with more difficulty, as most programs would view it as part of the content of the page. Methods of removing these are by using CSS, or third-party extensions such as Adblock.

On the other hand, the so called Hover Ads or DHTML pop-ups are based primarily on the JavaScript browser capabilities. Certain popup generators utilize JavaScript code that creates DOM object elements organized in a system that uses CSS and mostly the position attribute, but not solely, to produce emulative behaviors and visual effects resembling windows with chrome, content and other attributes and effects unavailable for the old fashioned and blockable popups. This technology and approach of creating popups seems to be hardest to block, as it is a fluent part of the browser’s HTML and DHTML content. A way of blocking hover ads is by disabling JavaScript of the browser, but this action leads to crippling the browser and is unacceptable.

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