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The Internet

Unwanted Popups Boosting Web Traffic 118

Posted by kdawson
from the stealing-eyeballs dept.
Most of us have experienced popups used for advertising. Now, some adware companies and advertiser networks are using popups (mostly from programs that users did not want installed) to directly boost traffic numbers for their customer Web sites. Net rating and measurement companies try to detect and discount such inflated traffic numbers, with mixed success.
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Unwanted Popups Boosting Web Traffic

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  • As seen on CN (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xENoLocO (773565) * on Monday December 11, 2006 @04:49PM (#17200306) Homepage
    CenterNetworks [centernetworks.com] reported this very early this morning...

    Entrepreneur.com's traffic dropped by 5 million when they stopped their popunder campaign. Pretty sad...
  • by Clever7Devil (985356) on Monday December 11, 2006 @05:02PM (#17200448)
    I myself am a Linux user. When I'm talking to someone about technology, in person, I inevitably shift the conversation towards F/OSS. But, am I the only geek getting just a little bit tired of reading these "you wouldn't have these problems if you just used Linux" posts? This is Slashdot. We know. I promise.
  • Pop-up blocker? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HAL9000_mirror (1029222) on Monday December 11, 2006 @05:07PM (#17200530)
    What happens when one uses pop-blocker which kills the pop-up window? Is that a hit? I assume the pop-blocker kills the window before a connection is established to the target server?
    --Ram
    "So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak." --Sun Tzu, in The Art of War.
  • by teebob21 (947095) on Monday December 11, 2006 @07:19PM (#17202132) Journal

    How ironic that this story appeared today.

    Just last night, I was considering submitting a Ask Slashdot question on how other users deal with otherwise trustworthy sites that serve obtrusive popup/under ads. For example Merriam Webster's dictionary pages http://www.m-w.com/ [m-w.com] which I was directed to following a link in a ./ post. But I figured....popups? So 2001. Why bother the friendly folks with such a ancient topic?

    For those thinking I don't know how to manage my unwanted ad exposure, keep in mind I am running Firefox 2.0 with Pop-up blocking; typically a solid solution. The MW website, however, delivered 2 ads that broke past FF's utility. It left me with my old tactic: A good-old-fashioned "You just lost a customer" email. I have a text template to make the process quicker, so here's last nights email to the House of Definitions:

    To Whom it may concern:

    Please be advised that I will no longer be visiting your website nor advising it to my children or students. I visited your website today and was confronted with not one, but 2 popup ads on the definitions result page. One led me directly to http://www.vonage.com/startsavingnow/ [vonage.com] and the other was a kmart ad served by tribalfusion. Bear in mind that I use the Mozilla Firefox browser with Popup blocking active, and your website contains malicious code that defeats the pop-up window feature.

    The computer I use and the programs that I run belong to me, not to you. I have no issues with your Privacy Policy, and your cookie policy. I simply request that you communicate with your third-party providers to prevent them from displaying code on your website that hijacks your customer's browser in this manner. While you are not responsible for the advertising content in said ads, you are reponsible for the user experience when visiting your site. At the present, it is not an enjoyable experience for someone who does not wish to be deluged in advertising. In addition, by continuing to host code which overrides a core browser component makes your site a possible vector for virus/malware transmission, should either your server or the servers of one of your advertisers ever be compromised.

    I realize that advertising income supports your website, and more importantly your bottom line. The days when your core business was selling hardback dictionaries are over, and business models change.

    However, upon the visit to your page, I am confronted with 8 total ads; the two popup/popunder ads mentioned previously, one for Hostgator, 2 Google ads for a Scooby-Doo DVD, one large graphical ad for Qwest, and two tolerable text links to your affiliate partners. All I wanted was a definition...not a great deal on DSL service!

    As before, I will no longer be visiting or recommending your website or your products. There are other sources for the information you provide. In order for me to return, simple changes in your advertising strategy are requested, including the removal of popup/popunder advertising.

    Sincerely,
    Terry Hall

    We shall see what kind of response I get. The message has worked in the past with some smaller sites, including my local bank's website. Why they needed pop-ups for revenue, I'll never know.

  • by Spliffster (755587) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:24AM (#17205164) Homepage Journal
    <script type=...>
    var atags = document.getElementsByName("a");
    for(current=atags.item(0); current; current=current.nextSibling)
    current.onclick = open_nasty_popup();
    function open_nasty_popup() {...}
    </scrip>

    the above code will bypass most (if not any) popup blocker. On every a tag (link) in the page, an onclick handler is added to the link. popup blocker block popups which are opened without user interaction. because a click is a user interaction, popup blocker won't normally stop such windows from opening (and that's good so, because many web applications use oclick to open additional windows).

    This is what I have observed since FF shipped. There might be nastier ways in the meanwhile.

    Cheers,
    -S

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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