Wired still gets teh irony
March 3, 2005 3:02 AM   Subscribe

Breaking News: Pop-up ads suck. Wired has a little op-ed piece about the netizens' extreme dislike of pop-up and pop-under ads. Using such choice quotes as, "A study conducted last year by Dynamic Logic found that almost 80 percent of those surveyed had a 'very negative' opinion of pop-up ads," the author goes on to chastise mainstream sites that still make use of them. Of course, his advice would be taken a great deal more seriously if his column didn't sport a massive pop-up ad for Blockbuster Online.
posted by LondonYank (30 comments total)
Damn, Wired work fast.

No sooner had I gone back to grab a screenshot of the offending ad than it appears they removed the pop-up code.

It was there, though, plain as daylight (and rather large, even on my high-res screen).
posted by LondonYank at 3:13 AM on March 3, 2005

Yeah, pop-ups do suck, apparently, but I haven't seen one myself in over a year. Modern browsers do a great job at defeating them.

Alas, I fear your link to an op-ed at Wired is going to get you popped, however.
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 AM on March 3, 2005

This is one of many reasons why people who use Firefox are better than people who use IE.
posted by Saydur at 3:25 AM on March 3, 2005

Only 80% have a 'very negative' opinion of pop up ads....

Who are the other 20% and how can I ensure I avoid them?
posted by quarsan at 3:35 AM on March 3, 2005


I went to read the article using Firefox, and as I opened it I noticed that the little tan bar appeared telling me a pop-up had been blocked. I then felt compelled to unblock just this once to see what ad justified rendering this article completely pointless.

Similarly, of course, the removal of the pop-up ad on this page has rendered my FPP completely pointless, and, as you say, I am now guilty of linking to a Wired op-ed for no apparent reason. For shame.
posted by LondonYank at 3:42 AM on March 3, 2005

such a shame you didn't manage to grab a screendump, the mere thought of a pop-up ad on this article is hilarious.
posted by dabitch at 3:46 AM on March 3, 2005

Pop-up ads have been targeting FF for some time now. This one isn't blocked by FF on my machine and it's not the only one.
posted by elgilito at 4:18 AM on March 3, 2005

Thanks to Mr Matias, we now have, drum roll please...

A screengrab of the popup!

/wipes brow and feels the warm glow of vindication spreading like an under-sheet fart on a cold winter's day...
posted by LondonYank at 4:20 AM on March 3, 2005

The supposed irony of that ad, however, becomes a lot less pertinent when you know that Wired.com is owned by TerraLycos, a completely separate company and staff from the magazine, which licenses the magazine's content. As a writer for the magazine, I promise we don't have any paper pop-up ads in it.
posted by digaman at 5:17 AM on March 3, 2005

In other words, it's a "Wired News" op-ed.
posted by digaman at 5:22 AM on March 3, 2005

If Firefox can't block them, Privoxy can.

This sort of development annoys me even though I don't see the popups. I really want the advertising model to work, but at some point the advertisers just have to stop trying so hard to make me hate them.
posted by Zonker at 5:22 AM on March 3, 2005

This one isn't blocked by FF on my machine and it's not the only one.

Blocked no problem on Firefox 1.01 OS X
posted by twistedonion at 5:23 AM on March 3, 2005

I use FF and I still get pop-ups.
posted by ScaryShrink at 6:04 AM on March 3, 2005

Zonker writes "If Firefox can't block them, Privoxy can."

Or Proxomitron. Unless I have Proxomitron down because I'm testing an app or web page, I never see pop-ups in either Firefox or IE.

It's a totally different browsing experience: whenever I use someone else's computer I'm amazed at how busy and annoying the web is. On my own machine, it's calm and quiet.
posted by orthogonality at 6:04 AM on March 3, 2005

ScaryShrink: tools/options/web features/block popup windows
posted by signal at 6:12 AM on March 3, 2005

I have no sympathy for IE users who are bothered by popups. It's like someone complaining about roaches when they leave dishes out all over the place. Either learn to live with the roaches, or clean house, dammit.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:22 AM on March 3, 2005

Blocked no problem on Firefox 1.01 OS X

Thanks, I just installed FF 1.01 (for Windows) now and it works indeed. I have the "periodically check for updates" turned on but I may have missed the announcement. I hope this will take care of the other popups I've seen in FF. It's interesting to note that this particularly sneaky one doesn't even generate a "blocked pop-up" message now that it's blocked.
posted by elgilito at 6:28 AM on March 3, 2005

Metafilter: like an under-sheet fart on a cold winter's day.
Thanks LondonYank. Now I've got coffee all over my monitor.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:56 AM on March 3, 2005

A pop-up ad? Is this something I'd have to be not running Adblock to know about?
posted by neckro23 at 6:56 AM on March 3, 2005

what are the internets?
posted by yonation at 7:11 AM on March 3, 2005

But ad firms are getting smarter and smarter and now use Flash to launch their popups. And popup blockers don't filter those out, yet.

At least that's what this guy claims, I haven't seen one in the wild.
posted by kika at 7:19 AM on March 3, 2005

Just because some of you people haven't seen them, it's still a growing problem. Firefox 1.0.1, as it's just a simple security update, still doesn't stop the Firefox-beating popups, like this gem on the Drudge Report site (you may have to reload many, many times to get it to fire, it's very random). Other sites that I can't think of off the top of my head have more of these kinds of ads, including the fake-out "You may have spyware!" dialogs. I think I may finally install Adblock, though pattern matching-based blockers like it aren't perfect either.

Flash-based popups are definitely a possibility. Look at liquidgeneration for an example of popping up a window on load with Flash. This, fortunately, is fixable with flashblock's "click to play".
posted by zsazsa at 7:47 AM on March 3, 2005

I have pop-ups blocked on Safari, but some get through. Like when I clicked on the A-Team link from the Blue. Big ol' pop-up. So, y'know, it's not like we're not trying. (I don't find firefox works well enough for my liking on the Mac. I suppose Adblock is next, though).
posted by livii at 7:57 AM on March 3, 2005

I am an RA for a prof who is studying online gambling addiction, and he wanted to get people to take his survey by using pop-ups on a few key gambling sites. As much as I tried, I couldn't convince him that pop-ups piss people off.

Why aren't people getting that. Pop-ups are evil. Pop-ups make people mad.

But advertisers will tell you the reason you see so many of them is because they work.

I use Firefox, so it is less of a problem for me, but sites that employ pop-ups that work in Firefox are sites that I never visit again. Period. These sites are trying to piss me off. Fuck 'em.
posted by Quartermass at 8:20 AM on March 3, 2005

"But advertisers will tell you the reason you see so many of them is because they work."

In the Wired article it says that 9 out of 10 people who click on pop-ups do so accidentally, while trying to close the window. That means that pop-ups only work for advertisers are trying to pay 10 times too much on click-throughs for an ad. The people who come to their site will close that window as soon as it opens, they're already in a window-closing mood.
posted by revgeorge at 9:04 AM on March 3, 2005

LondonYank posted "Of course, his advice would be taken a great deal more seriously if his column didn't sport a massive pop-up ad for Blockbuster Online."

Why? Do you think the writer sold the ad?
posted by mr.marx at 9:45 AM on March 3, 2005

That's pretty much the gist of this. It's like "busting" a pro-environmentalist for trying to get his message out on a news show on a TV network that runs ads for Exxon. Meta-ironic, sure, but not really anything.
posted by digaman at 10:30 AM on March 3, 2005

I recognize that this is not earth-shattering. It was more in the line of an ironic quibble, with which I suppose the world is well-supplied.

I have corresponded with the author and I am heartened to see that he too shares the view that this was an unfortunate consequence of content conflicting with publishing mechanism.
posted by LondonYank at 4:12 PM on March 3, 2005

Herein lies the "official correction":
Correction:1 A stream of reader e-mail has come in, pointing out the irony of a columnist (that's me) criticizing media sites for deploying pop-up ads, only to have his publisher (Wired News) serve up one (for Blockbuster) on this very same column. I hadn't encountered one on Wired.com in the eight months I've been writing this weekly media column, and my editor had assured me the site hadn't used them since even before then.

I'd now like to add Wired News to the list of clueless media sites that rely on pop-up ads for additional revenue but who, judging by the reader reaction, may instead be alienating its audience. The "money side" of the house is investigating the matter.

My apologies.
posted by LondonYank at 4:14 PM on March 3, 2005

There's lots of talk of sites that are serving pop-ups that get past Firefox. I still haven't found one. I do use Flash click to Play though.
posted by salmacis at 2:14 AM on March 4, 2005

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