Pop-up window blockers - not the usual discussion

Well, it seems there’s at least one anti-popup-blocking product out there: web sites can use it to prevent you from viewing content if you use something like Panicware’s Popup Stopper. (Every couple of weeks there’s a new thread in GQ about “How can I stop popup windows?”)

I won’t post the link to this annoying product, lest the mods think I’m advertising it (spit) - but it saddens me to think there are people that consider pop-up windows a GOOD thing. The site for this product screams:

It also claims the product:

Sigh. I see an arms race developing between popup stoppers, and anti-popup stoppers, much like the one between virus writers and anti-virus-software manufacturers.

Yep. That’s why Flash-based adverts are increasingly popular, or interstitial ad screens.

Well, here’s two people who do:

  1. The people who pay to have the ads put there and

  2. The website owners who pay their bandwidth costs from the ad revenue paid by the first group.

I’m in neither group, but I can kinda see where they’re both coming from. As much as you or I like the idea of everything on the web being free, we live in a society where the only reason air isn’t free is because no one’s figured out how to prevent non-payers from accessing it. Web hosting costs money, so web sites cost money, and that money often comes from ads.

The ideological war starts when you start to ignore the ads. It’s one thing to see the Coke ad and not buy Coke. It’s another when you prevent the Coke ad from showing up at all. And it’s yet another when you prevent any ad from showing up, even when you’ve no idea what it’s for.

You feel, and I can certainly agree with it, that if you don’t want to see ads, you have the right to block them. Okay. Likewise, they feel that they have the right to deny you access to something if you are blocking the ads that make it possible.

This is not an issue that’s going to be settled easily.

I don’t mind banner ads.

I don’t mind sidebar ads.

I don’t mind ads until they interfere with the content I am trying to read. This is why I mind pop-up ads, and Flash ads.
If I get those types of ads, I will go elsewhere to get my content. As this is usually news sites of some sort, the content is usually available elsewhere. The sites with the least intrusive advertising will get my views.

Legomancer - your points are well taken. (This is heading towards Great Debates…) I understand the point of view of the webmaster, and I understand it’s naieve to expect everything to be free online.

Boscibo - I agree with everything you wrote. I am all for commerce and people trying to make a living on the Internet. I understand that web hosting and bandwidth cost money. What I object to are the intrusive ads - I’m thinking of that stupid X10 camera and all those casino ads. I wonder how many people have been persuaded to buy an X10 from those, vs. how many people specifically boycott the product because of them? Those ads to me are just another form of spam - and for those that pay for their Internet connection on a per-minute basis, they constitute advertising that the recipient has to pay to receive! That’s like getting postage-due junk mail. And how about those ads that try to “trick” people into clicking on them? “Warning - your Internet connection is not optimized.” Right.

I don’t know. I think perhaps X10’s marketers are not as stupid as we’d like to think. If I was in the market for a mini-camera, they’d be the first name in my head. Sure, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I wouldn’t boycott a product just because it was marketed annoyingly.

Aren’t online casinos actually ILLEGAL in the U.S.?