I may have been an English major in college, but I still learned a thing or two about economics. And yes, I understand that if it weren't for the advertisements in this magazine, I would be out of a job. I realize too that the fabulous and free Internet wouldn't exist without ad revenue. And so I am grateful; truly I am. But lately things have got out of hand. Online advertisers aren't content simply to make us dizzy with their blinking, flashing ads. And they don't just taunt us with false dialogue boxes and CLICK HERE buttons. Like panhandlers refusing to step aside, they cause ads to pop up right in our face, partly covering the sites we want to see. This happens everywhere from our own time.com to places like amazon.com abcnews.com and lycos.com The ads won't budge unless we acknowledge their presence by clicking on them.
If you're annoyed by these so-called pop-up ads, you're sure to be really irritated by the newer "pop-under" variety, which hide out underneath your main browser window. The pop unders are a favorite of online retailers like X10.com which uses them to sell electronic gadgetry. They were the talk of a recent online-advertising forum in New York City. "I think they're terrible," said Richard Hopple, CEO of the online-ad company Unicast. New York Times Digital CEO Martin Nisenholtz said, "I'm sure people feel that these ads are very intrusive." So why not cease and desist? Because, says Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Marissa Gluck, with the online market so dismal, "advertisers and publishers are desperate to find something that works."
Until they do, here's how you can make the worst offenders disappear. On America Online, enter the Keyword "marketing preferences," then click "pop-up," "continue," "no" and "O.K." Within a day or two, the full-screen ads that pop up when you log on to AOL and the smaller ads in the bottom-right corner of the screen will pester you no more.
If you use Internet Explorer on a PC, the Pop-Up Stopper from PanicWare (at panicware.com is a simple pleasure. Even if you've never downloaded software before, it's worth a try. Using a regular modem, the download and installation take less than 10 minutes. Then, every time Stopper detects an offending ad, it buzzes like one of those fly zappers, and you will never see what you're missing.
Frankly, I wanted more. I didn't just want ads to disappear; I wanted to savor the kill. Enter PopUp Killer from xfX JumpStart. Another free download (from software.xfx.net) this PC-only program works on Navigator, Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer browsers. Because it takes longer to install and involves some tinkering to get it to work just right, it's best for more experienced users. But, oh, what joy! Not only does Killer keep a detailed log of every ad it annihilates, it makes a satisfying thunk! when it nabs one. Such a lovely way to take revenge.
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