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NYTimes: As Consumers Revolt, a Rush to Block Pop-Up Online Ads

The boom in Internet pop-up advertisement may be about to, well, pop.

The big ads that flash in separate windows above or below Web pages are among the most intrusive, and to many people, the most obnoxious features on the Internet. Not coincidentally, the pop-up format is also among the most effective for advertisers and the most profitable for Web site publishers.

But the potential reach of these ads is starting to be sharply curtailed as major companies, like Time Warner's AOL unit, Yahoo and Google, distribute software that blocks pop-up ads from opening. This summer, Microsoft will put a pop-up blocking feature in the next release of Internet Explorer, the dominant Web browser.

"There is a consumer revolt as forms of advertising get more intrusive," said Rob Kaiser, vice president for narrowband marketing at EarthLink, the first big Internet service provider to distribute pop-up blocking software. The reaction to pop-ups, he said, is similar to the rush to join the government's do-not-call list to block telemarketing calls and the increase in the use of video recorders to block TV commercials.

Advertising executives, in television and the Internet market, note that consumers who block the ads are undercutting the economic model that provides them with free entertainment and information.

full story (free registration required)

The end of pop-up and pop-under advertisements can't come soon enough for me. They don't bother me so much on my Mac OS machines, because Mac browsers don't necessarily command your full attention and come screaming to the front when pop-ups open, but on Windows when browser windows start intruding on my regular work, GAH!