I got your pop-up right here

I interrupt your afternoon work routine for a brief rant about pop-up ads.
I use the exquisite Firefox as my web browser of choice. Among its many virtues is the fact that it blocks pop-up ads by default; you can allow a specific site to display pop-ups, but only by deliberately adding that site to your “Allow Pop-ups from…” list.
So anyway, today I encountered a pop-up ad for the second time in about a week. When this first happened, I was momentarily confused, as I haven’t seen a pop-up in quite a while (what with the pop-up blocking) and had forgotten how annoying they are. Then it occurred to me to wonder how this pop-up was displaying in Firefox when I most certainly had not added it to my pop-up whitelist. Sure enough–checking my settings, somehow the site had been added to my “Allow pop-ups” list.
The first time it happened, I figured it was a weird fluke, or that I must have accidentally hit a button or keyboard combination that disabled the pop-up blocker. But I now think I was being foolishly naive; there are actually people out there intent on evading pop-up blockers.
This fills me with rage for a number of different reasons. For one, the idea that somebody is actually changing the privacy settings of my web browser without my knowledge makes me wonder how the marketer responsible for this will avoid an eternity in Hell. Secondly, think about the advertising strategy behind this. Potential customers indicate that they do not want to receive pop-up ads, and will even go to the effort of installing a new web browser or pop-up blocker to escape them. Advertisers respond by… investing time and money in violating said potential customers’ privacy and bypassing their stated preference.
Talk about contempt for their customers. Does anyone think that being ambushed by a pop-up like this makes somebody more likely to become a customer? To go for a real-world analogy, this is like a salesman wrapping his advertisement around a brick and chucking it through your back window because you put a “no solicitors” sign on your front door.
Sometimes I hate the Internet so very, very much.

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2 thoughts on “I got your pop-up right here

  1. O-J

    Hey,
    Great website! I found it by accident when trying to find a copy of The Destructors by Graham Greene, as mentioned in Donnie Darko. And felt I had to say something. But I now realise that this message is fairly pointless, it was intended to show you my appreciation for your DD thread, but I could have done that there instead. So I shall make it have a point; is it worth using Firebox? I know it has an ad-blocker, download manager, etc., but do you prefer its layout and compatibility to that of I.E.? And also, how often does it block things you don’t want it to? Well, that’s my ‘hello’ done for today, so bye!

  2. jrau

    Thanks for the comments and the kind words! Glad you found the DD threat interesting. As for Firefox, I prefer it over IE for a couple reasons–tabbed browsing, fewer security worries, and the ability to add user-created extras (extensions) to it. I’d say it’s certainly worth a try if you’re curious–you can always uninstall it if you don’t like it! Oh, and yes, the pop-up blocker gives you control over who is and isn’t allowed to open a pop-up window, so if you want a site to be able to do so, it’s easy to allow them.

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