Popups Never Die, They Just Mutate

By | April 16, 2004

In response to my post yesterday, a reader suggested that with the proliferation of pop-up ad blockers in browsers and toolbars, who needs to worry anymore about ‘contextual’ ad services like WhenU?

Since I installed the Google toolbar, I’ve forgotten what a pop-up looks like. Since I installed Win XP SP2, the “pop-ups blocked” counter on the Google toolbar hasn’t moved. In a few years, you’ll be writing a column called “Remember Popups?”

Not quite yet, unfortunately. Ben Edelman, an expert on privacy issues and a critic of services like WhenU, tells me: “WhenU doesn’t use these methods at all. Rather it uses client-side software, and popup stoppers just don’t stop this. And they can’t, easily, given 1) the way popup stoppers work, and 2) the way WhenU works.”

I’ll be looking more at this in a future column, but for now, yes, popups as we know them needn’t be much of a bother. But meantime the contextual ad industry continues, with companies like Popstitial (looked at in another earlier post) and IntelliTXT (looked at here) raising the bar.

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