August 02, 2005
The plague of pop-up ads

Might this be the beginning of the end for the cursed pop-up ad?

A new service Claria Corp. is launching this month will still deliver advertising to the computer desktops of Web surfers.

Only this time, they won't be annoying pop-ups.

So-called personalization targeting surfers with ads based on their online outings and errands was always Claria's goal, says its co-founder and chief executive, Jeff McFadden.

Pop-ups delivered via adware, which is often criticized as sneaky in its installation, were merely a stepping stone as Claria waited for the technology to improve and the behavioral-targeting market to ripen, he said.

"It was never a destination," McFadden said. "There's a lot of people who aren't fans of the pop-up model."

Some might consider that an understatement from the head of a company whose name has become synonymous with adware, which many consider a cyber parasite, or worse.

No kidding. If there's anyone reading this who is a fan of pop-up ads, please leave a comment and tell us all why. I do try to make an effort to understand the unfathomable whenever possible.

Claria is the company that gave Dwight heartburn when Microsoft was reportedly sniffing around them. I suppose one could take the view that built-in adware is marginally preferable to adware delivered by stealth, but I'm glad I'm not being forced to make that choice.

What I want to know now is when will Mozilla/Firefox come up with an option to disable those new annoying ads that display over text without spawning another browser session. These things are appearing more and more on the Dallas Morning News site, among others. I know this sort of thing is an endless arms race, I just want to be reassured that the good guys are still working on their weaponry.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 02, 2005 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack

Claria is the company formerly known as Gator (it changed its name once its name had firmly ingrained itself in PC users' brains as trash) that surreptitiously installed spyware and subsequently delivered targeted pop-up, pop-under, and toptext ads to PC users. They have also been sued by most large web publishers for infringing on their copyrighted text by modifying web pages displayed on users' computers to include ads that weren't there originally.

Posted by: Brock Batsell on August 2, 2005 12:06 PM

Often enough, just hitting Refresh (F5 in both IE and Firefox for Windows) will rid you of the text-covering ads, because most sites have an ad rotator that serves a different ad on every display of a page.

If Bill Gates starts building in adware/spyware/whateverware into Windows, that may give me the final push I need to switch to, say, Linux for personal use. (I'm stuck with Windows on most commercial jobs I do.) I don't begrudge advertising on sites, but I do take issue with tracking my surfing, installing spyware or adware on my computer, etc. Having it preloaded along with the OS does not improve my attitude toward it.

Posted by: Steve Bates on August 2, 2005 6:50 PM