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Public Outcry Over Popup Ads 435

JCMay writes: "FoxNews is reporting that more and more people are growing tired of so-called "pop-under" ads. Most fascinating I think is the comparison between these ads and gangland street violence: "They?'re like drive-by shootings," said Kipp Cheng, interactive news editor at Adweek. "Consumers will not put up with that." To FoxNews' credit, they even mention ways people can control pop-up ads, including a link to one of the worst offenders, offering a way to shut up those X-10 ads, even if for only a month." Fortunately, Konqueror allows you to disable popups with a single checkbox.
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Public Outcry Over Popup Ads

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  • by Eagle7 ( 111475 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:12AM (#103245) Homepage
    The link for the opt out is: p:// []

    I wonder if changing the DAY= value will actually work... looking at the resulting cookie didn't tell me much, but I've never actually used cookies, so I am not familiar with the format.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:14AM (#103247)
    We're going to see quite a few more of these in the very near future. My ad broker has infomed me that, GetSmart Mortgage, ConsumerInfo, GetSmart Credit Card, and LowerMyBills are going to join the same campaigns. Someone should let these companies know that this sucks before they run with it...

    Anonymous to protect my job...
  • by SaturnTim ( 445813 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:14AM (#103248) Homepage
    Hey, I hate these ad's as much as anybody, but I hate the alternative even more. If you disable the advertising on a given site, that site stops earning money from that advertising, and either turns into a pay site, or closes it's doors.

  • by Violet Null ( 452694 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:15AM (#103249)
    For Win32, all you need is regex knowledge and The Proxomitron [].
  • Here is the solution: Turn them off.

  • by Hop-Frog ( 28712 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:16AM (#103251)
    Mozilla allows this. Check out the release notes [] on the latest version. It's through JavaScript, but it's easy to see what to do. I just blocked all of them, though.


  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:16AM (#103253) Homepage Journal
    There are many ways of blocking ads.

    You can use a filtering proxy, like Junkbuster []. Unfortunately, I find that Junkbuster slows down my connections too much, and doesn't forward error messages correctly, so it's not 100% transparent.

    My favorite solution is to use /etc/hosts to list all the known ad servers and direct them to I then run a webserver on my local box with the not-found error set to redirect to a transparent image. (I use IP aliasing on the loopback device for sites that use direct IP numbers for their ad servers.) This works for most sites, though some (like slashdot) serve ads off the same server that serves regular images.

    Using the /etc/hosts method, I occasionally look through my cookies file and find indications of sites that need to be added. It's not perfect, but I'm satisfied with it.

    Browser-based solutions are a good idea. I would love to block images that match certain dimensions (1x1) or have a URL that matches some regexp (/ads/).

    Of course, the issue here is pop-up ads, which should be blocked by having browsers reject requests to open new windows that aren't in response to a mouse click.

  • JavaScript is useless for what I do with myt browser so I just tuen it off. This kills pop-over/under/beside.
  • It intrigues me that, while millions put up with television and radio advertising that literally dictates the content they can consume, it takes a frontier like the web to awaken them to the annoyance (some say "evil") that is advertising. But what do you expect if you browse the corporate web? Consumers demanding ad-free content from corporations may be living a nice dream, but if corps catch on that popups won't sell, then we'll see something else, like those ghastly flash-based quarter-page ads that appear on the short-term solution: use a good popup killer, or a browser with that feature integrated. long-term: don't browse corporate sites, or patronize corporate media. send a message that advertising doesn't sell, and that your mental space isn't for sale.

    you won't, though *grin*
  • by strredwolf ( 532 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:18AM (#103257) Homepage Journal
    KeenSpot Enterntainment [] bans popup ads on it's KeenSpot and KeenSpace networks, and encourages reporting popup ads on it's forums. It's always been their policy to thwap advertizers who want to use popup ads. It looks like they were ahead of the times in this respect.

    WolfSkunks for a better Linux Kernel

  • by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:18AM (#103258)
    I had apparently forgotten to turn Java and Javascript off when I recently installed Mozilla. Thankfully, X10 was right there to remind me to take care of that oversight. Sincerely, A Former X10 Customer
  • What limits should be on ads?

    Not allow banner ads?

    Not allow pop-overs?

    Not allow pop unders?

    Not allow ads that keep up by trapping the on-close?

    How and who should make these determinations? We have to ask for which limits apply. And then browsers will ad filters for these.

  • Why no link to this "Konqueror" thing? Anyway, I always have active scripting and 'paste operations via script' disabled. One or the other (or both) keeps pop-ups from......uhhhhh, popping up. It very rarely causes any problems with websites, as far as I can see. I'm no expert on this stuff, though. If I ever get any problems, it takes about 5 seconds to enable it again. Or I can add the site to the trusted list and my paranoid security settings won't affect it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:18AM (#103261)
    looks like you found it too....i'll find out in 30000 days ;)
  • I don't put up with ANY of them.

    Junkbuster, baby. :)

  • by cbowland ( 205263 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:20AM (#103267)
    Q: Can you turn your ads off so I never see them again?

    A: Click Here! This link will prevent your computer from having the X10 "pop-under" ads appear for the next 30 days! You must make sure you have your cookies enabled, for this link will give your computer a cookie that will disallow X10 pop-under ads from appearing on your computer as you "surf" the Internet. If you clear or delete your cookies, then it will be possible for X10's pop-under ads to appear on your machine. If you don't know what a "cookie" is, then you're probably set and don't have to worry about it - just click this link to remove the ads!
    A. Other: if you disable JavaScript in your browser the ads will not open, though this may prevent you from seeing some things you want to see. Ad-blocking software will also help with this problem.

    I love that the call their own business a "problem"!

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.

  • There's no UI for it yet, but you can edit your prefs file. See the release notes [] for details...

    user_pref(" ", "noAccess");

  • By definition, pop-up ads are invasive. They interupt the browsing experience and generate very negative reactions from users.

    The first thing I do when I see one is close down the offending window - I very rarely even look at what is being shoved down my throat.

    The pop-up ad is just a phase. Advertisers saw that traditional banner ads weren't working so the marketing people were asked to come up with something different. However, once the user feedback tricles up the chain (via complaints, usability studies, etc) they will be consigned to the bin by any ad agency worth it's salt.

    Unfortunately, as one bad idea dies a death, another one springs to life. The sucessor to the pop-up will probably be just as annoying although, eventually, the ad industry will find some form of getting the message across that 99% of the browsing public can live with.

  • by brassman ( 112558 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:22AM (#103272) Homepage
    ...there were a lot of good tips. Just this morning I screamed "!YA BASTA!" and used the /. search box to find that thread, and downloaded Webwasher [].

    Funny coincidence to see this thread "pop up" right after doing that.

  • by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:22AM (#103275) Homepage
    Apparently it does. I tried DAY=365, and even though the resulting display page said 30 days, the cookie doesn't expire for one year...

  • by Meltr ( 45049 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:22AM (#103277)
    > Fortunately, Konqueror allows you to disable popups with a single checkbox.

    Mozilla 0.9.2 can block popups, too, but there's no UI for it yet. Add this to your prefs.js file:

    user_pref("", "noAccess");

    You can also allow popups from some sites. See the 0.9.2 release notes [] for details.

  • by GuNgA-DiN ( 17556 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:23AM (#103279)
    I've used thier opt-out link a couple of times, but still get the popup ads for X10. Banner ads don't work. The click-through rates have been dropping like a stone since 1994. Nobody clicks on ads anymore.

    My question is what makes these advertisers think that we are suddenly going to say "Oh! Wow! I wasn't going to buy your product before.... but, since you popped up an ad in my face, I just changed my mind. Here's my money!"

    Maybe if we're all really lucky, the Net will revert back to the way it was. All the commercial sites will give up trying to "make a quick buck" off the Internet. They will close their doors and go away. Then, since there is no more money to be made or commercial content to be seen... all the marketing idiots will go away too.

    In the end, we will be left with text-only pages (viewable in Lynx) with no ads, no Flash, no Quicktimes, and no corporate American bullshit. I don't understand -- why is this is a bad thing again!?!? I would love to go back to the Web the way it was in 1993 - 94. No Porn. No Ads. No Bullshit. No Morons. No Commercialism. Just Net.

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:23AM (#103282) Homepage Journal localhost

    # The following is to kill off web advertisements
    # This also kills some user-tracking cookie servers.
    # This works best if you run a web server that sends a redirect to
    # a transparent image for non-found errors.
    # This list has grown up over time. No effort has been made to verify that all
    # the hosts listed here still exist.
    # A few servers serve ads with URLs based on IP numbers instead of host names.
    # The following IP numbers are for hosts that serve ads:
    # ???
    # Unfortunately, I can't deal with those here. Instead, use netconf
    # to specify ip aliases for those addresses on the loopback device.

    # The following list is based on the default blocking from Junkbuster.
    # I've cut out anything with wildcards, subdirectories, or ports.
    # Junkbuster is no longer distributing this list.
  • by joq ( 63625 )

    I guess all those people who're complaining know little about turning off java, and java script. I've managed to go months on end without seeing pop ups since I see no need for viewing sites with it enabled anyway.

    Could it be those who are complaining are the ones who end up getting bombarded with spam from porn, warez, and geoshitties pages? Personally I see more problems with cookies than I do with pop ups.
  • The link to "opt out" of their ads is as follows: p:// []

    Will altering the "DAY=30" part mean we can opt out for even longer? e.g. tp:// []

    I hope so. I'm getting dozens of these damn popup ads every day. To make matters worse I bought one of their wireless cameras over a year ago via a banner ad (one of the few times I've ever actually clicked on a banner) so am in part responsible for encouraging X10 in the first place. :o(
  • It intrigues me that, while millions put up with television and radio advertising that literally dictates the content they can consume, it takes a frontier like the web to awaken them to the annoyance (some say "evil") that is advertising.

    Um, ever heard of PBS :^) ?

    That is the only thing worth watching on TV anyway, besides the Simspons (the commercials during the Sippsons are annoying but just to hear a good Homer quote is worth it!). "Honey do you mind opening the window. The cops have daddy's prints on file"

    Or some such.

  • Browser-based solutions are a good idea. I would love to block images that match certain dimensions (1x1) or have a URL that matches some regexp (/ads/).

    The 1x1 gif is a valid, though questionable, way of doing some basic page layout, since you can easily scale it using just HEIGHT and WIDTH tags. (Mind you, I know that you're talking about blocking done when the HTML stream reports HEIGHT & WIDTH both equal to 1).

    A better solution for images is to prevent resources located on a different network from being used. For example, if at, I'd expect that "" would be on the same network, but not "". This would prevent the typical 1x1 gif trick from being used.

  • by karmawarrior ( 311177 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:26AM (#103292) Journal
    As I run my own (private, natch) name server, I put myself as "owner" of the domain in it, and had resolve to a non-existant address. I've done much the same with and other sites that have regularly pissed me off.

    The result of this isn't that the windows don't continue to pop up, they do. But as they appear under the browser, it's no great deal. Most importantly, the ads don't suck dry my limited bandwidth (across a modem link) so I can browse at a reasonable pace.

    For those who need to know, this is what I did (BIND4, as I'm using OpenBSD as my firewall/NAT-based proxy):

    I added the line:


    to my named.boot file. Then created a file in my namedb directory, reading something like this:

    @ IN SOA (
    86400 )
    ads A
    Actually, any half competent DNS admin should be able to do something similar with their setup.

    This has benefits over putting the entries in your /etc/hosts in two ways: to begin with, everything under is blocked, so if start putting out stuff as, the block will still take effect. Secondly, the file applies to every machine on your network. If you have an Intranet at home like I do, that's useful.

    Ultimately, if companies want money for their content, they'd be better off asking for it from me than bombarding me with ads. I fully intend to stop visiting certain sites, however much it pains me, until they start providing me with a way to turn off intrusive, bandwidth sucking, unstable browser crashing (y'hear me Netscape? ;-) advertising, whether it be via a subscription or some other means.

    And yep, I put my money where my mouth is. I've put in my two year sub to Salon with donation. There's stuff out there I'm willing to pay for. I want to read the site, not get too pissed at it and impatient I end up surfing somewhere else...

  • Fortunately, Konqueror allows you to disable popups with a single checkbox.

    You can disable popups in Galeon and Mozilla as well. In mozilla 0.9.2 you add the following line to your prefs.js while mozilla is not running:

    user_pref("", "noAccess");

    In galeon it's just a checkbox in the preferences, IIRC. Also, what I like to do is set all popups and new url's opened to go to a new tab. I love tabbed browsing. If it's an annoying add, I can ignore that tab or close it later.

  • by augustz ( 18082 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:27AM (#103295) Homepage
    I actually like buying X10 stuff, home automation is fun. What others companies sell this stuff on the web at reasonable prices? I'd love to take my business elsewhere and some recommendations would be great.
  • Of all the Web browsers I've seen, the experimental Macintosh browser iCab [] seems to have the most features for restricting pop-ups and other abusive JavaScript[? []]. iCab permits one to enable or disable several different JavaScript/ECMAscript functions (as well as other "features") on a per-site basis. It also offers excellent image filtering -- to the point that I don't feel the need to use my Junkbuster [] proxy when I'm using iCab.

    Sadly, the iCab folks have said they're not interested in porting to GNU/Linux. Among the GNU/Linux browsers, my favorite by far is Konqueror. Like iCab on the Macintosh, Konq is small, fast, and customizable. However, it still lags a bit behind in the way of filtering. Site-specific, function-specific JavaScript filtering would be an excellent addition to what's already easily the best browser in the Free world.

  • Turning off Java is fine, and AFAIK, many people have turned off Java. However, turning off JavaScript isn't an option for most people, because a lot of sites heavily rely on client side JavaScript to function properly.
  • The problem with both Mozilla and Konqueror is that you cannot easily re-enable popups for certain links without reconfiguring the browser. Popups don't work even if I use "open in another window" in Konqueror.
  • I think there is a difference between the mediums. When one is browsing on the web, it is an active task, ie. focussed and directional. Advertising in a pop-up is perceived as an interruption to the task, which is highly annoying.

    Radio and television are more passive tasks, as well as pre-programmed. People are not as peeved when advertising appears on television because they know or expect when the advert will appear, ie. after the introduction and before the climax, etc. This allows them to tune out any advertising or gives them an opportunity to go to the washroom or kitchen.

    None of this is based on any proof or evidence, but it's just the way I've seen things.
  • Boy, Taco has become quite the Konqueror enthusiast! The ability to quickly switch off pop-ups while keeping the rest of the (site-specific) JavaScript usage intact is one of my favorite features also.

    Anyway, since the subject of X10 ads came up -- are those ads almost overtly recommending the use of their product for hidden-camera spying on women? Or do I just have a dirty mind? Seriously, it's hard for me to me imagine what else the message is supposed to be.

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • I guess the etc/hosts thing is for Linux? Windows users can use a hosts file [] also, but it goes in the windows folder and the name has to be "hosts" with no extension. (check the link for all the info).
  • Everytime I start my browser up pops /. How do I stop this? Help.
  • by Logic Bomb ( 122875 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:32AM (#103311)
    Your question is at the crux of the advertising business. What marketers have learned is that recognition is everything. If you walk up to a grocery store shelf and recognize one brand name out of four offering a comparable product, you are far more likely to buy the one you recognize. There are good reasons for this (i.e. knowing Sony equipment is reliable), and marketers simply exploit it. No matter how annoyed people get at ads, few will say "oh, I hate those damn ads, I'm going to buy this product from a company I've never heard of instead." Companies will go to great lengths to get their name in your brain, and for good reason.
  • Browser-based solutions are a good idea. I would love to block images that match certain dimensions (1x1) or have a URL that matches some regexp (/ads/).

    Time for another link to WebWasher []. It's now available for Linux and Mac, as well as Windows. It's free for private use - and it's so damned nice that it's the only program I run on my home machine that doesn't come with source.

  • (Yah, following-up to one's own posts is perverted ....)

    The iCab folks keep a list of "10 features you don't find in other browsers" [], which would make an excellent checklist for other alternative browsers looking to add user-empowering features. Besides its abuse-blocking abilities, other iCab features that stand out include its built-in HTML validator; its recursive download manager (something like a GUIfied wget); and its "Link Manager", which summarizes all the links on a page and is quite useful when using any of the spammier search engines.

  • 'Tis true...though I thought Junkbusters worked for Win32 as well.

    I don't actually use Proxomitron anymore -- wrote my own proxy as a learning exercise a year or so back -- but yeah, that's an interesting point.
  • by punkrider ( 176796 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:37AM (#103327) Homepage
    click here [] to shut off the pop up until Tue Sep 22 12:38:09 2009, and it even redirects you to a friendly page instead of more x10 crap. By 2009 I think they should be sufficiently out of business. ;)

    Heh, actually with the trend of the market today, I probably could've set it for 60 and I would've been fine.
  • you'll never get hit with the ads, though you'll still have a harmless window with a 404 error to close.

    Hmmmm... the 404s shouldn't be too hard to fix. Just set up an Apache virtual host on your machine for "" and have it redirect all 404 errors to a page that contains some Javascript which closes the current window (perhaps after checking to make sure that you are on the first page in the window's history so as not to inadvertantly close non-pop-up windows). Of course, you'll have to add an /etc/hosts and Apache virtual host entry for each host you want to block, but that's not too big of a deal (or if it is too big of a deal, you could run an instance of Apache on it's own IP address, like, and redirect all requests to that Apache instance to the window closing script regardless of the requested host).

  • Yep... it does work. I set it for 3000 days and it expires in 2009.
  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:42AM (#103337)
    In the last year many different sizes and styles of ads have been used to try to add more value to the advertiser. is simply using a new form of advertising. Please try to understand that this type of advertising is what keeps the Internet enjoyable as it pays for operational costs behind the sites you enjoy visiting for free.

    Oh that's funny... The Internet has always been enjoyable to me. Long before people started advertising on the web.

    These people are delusional. Do they really think they are keeping the Internet enjoyable by plastering it with pop-ups and banner ads?
  • on My windows boxen I use CookieCop Plus [], which not only allows blocking of cookies, but also allows you to block the content from entire sites. And the Source Code is Included!

    Of course, almost any proxy server, firewall, etc. could likely be set up that way.

    But it is nice to see the popup try to launch, and then watch it go away.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • Oh, so simple. I resorted to editing my cookies.txt file to increase the expirey to 2006. Well as long as the end result is the same...

  • I guess the only problem is that X10 actually has to honor their own cookies. If they start noticing a bunch of cookies that have values greater than 30 days then they might just consider it invalid or issue another cookie and everyone will have to put up with those "pop-under" adds again. Then again, maybe they will get smart and just get rid of the pop-under ad alltogether... or maybe not...

  • Create your own site. It shouldn't be too hard to find a site that exports the headlines (/. does it, look in the FAQ) and you can add a google search to it by clicking this link []
    You can even customize google's output to match your own site.
    Voila! No more popups!

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • There is a way if you know what Mircosoft calls it. You have to go into the internet security settings of IE and then disable Active Scripting. Why on Earth can't they call it JavaScript like everyone else?
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:47AM (#103349) Homepage
    Right here []

  • Here is the solution: Turn them off.

    OK, so does anyone make a browser with a simple button that turns Javascript on and off? And another that turns Java on and off? And yet another that turns ActiveX on and off? MSIE can't turn them on and off individually, and they make it very hard to do that. Netscape 3 allowed us to turn them on and off window by window, but now (Netscape 4 and above) all instances of Netscape share the same process, so turn Javascript on in one window and you've turned it on in all of them (also, you crash one and all the others crash too, but that's another gripe). And even then you have to drill down through the menus and dialog boxes to do it.

    Why won't at least one browser let the users decide how they want the browser to behave? Why do they all have this arrogant attitude that they know what's best for us? Pick a browser: for every "feature" they cite as an example of why their browser is best, I can cite five reasons why their browser is crap*. They all suck**.

    * Slight exaggeration for dramatic effect.
    ** Severe understatement to avoid offending minors.

  • Most fascinating I think is the comparison between these ads and gangland street violence: "They?'re like drive-by shootings," said Kipp Cheng, interactive news editor at Adweek. "Consumers will not put up with that"

    Am I the only one who thinks this is ridiculous? I see one thing in common between drive by shootings and pop ups ads, that they are unexpected and unpleasent. But having a little shiny thing advertising a visa and having a bullet cripple or kill you are very, very different things, both in scale and in intention.

    If I was going to compare pop up ads to anything that is annoyingly found in everyday life, it would probably be dogshit or those damn sugar ants...

  • by Brownstar ( 139242 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:52AM (#103353)
    I wonder how much time he spent going through this script to remove the servers for porn adds, before posting to slashdot?;>
  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:52AM (#103354) Homepage
    Unless you're running WinNT/2k/XP, in which case the file is:


    %systemRoot% is C:\WINNT by default.

  • While it's nice that the X-10 provide a way for you to temporarily opt out of their popup ads, they still track you (even if it's only indirectly) through that same cookie that tells them not to popup their ads. That's how they know the thirty days have expired. So what's preferable, annoying popups or being tracked by company you find so annoying that you've opted out of its content? Is Junkbusters a good alternative?
    Or do you just want to shut off Javascript and be done with it?
  • by dschuetz ( 10924 ) <> on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:55AM (#103362)
    I've been mucking about with ad blocking for a while. Some problems:
    • Flash ads - haven't found anything that reliably removes the big flash ads from Excite or ZDNet or such.
    • Popups - sure, I can get rid of most of 'em, but there are a lot of sites now with little pop-up "informational" boxes that break once I've filtered them out.
    • Clever site programmers - some sites are actually splitting their javascript into multiple strings, concatenating them somehow at the browser, then "eval"ing them. Hard to catch those, as they've been stealthed past any keyword filter

    I've tried Junkbusters, WebWasher (nicest interface, but it keeps forcing automatic browser config. and that breaks FTP for me), and Proximitron. Right now, I'm using WebWasher chained through Guidescope (follow-up to Junkbusters).

    The big problem is that there are a lot of sites with valid (though usually surperfluous) uses for both flash and popups. If I turn them off globally, I lose some functionality. People talk about browsers (konquerer, IE 6, whatever -- I don't remember 'cause none of them are what I use) that allow, for example, popups only in response to a user action. That's great. Wonderful. Can somebody please roll that into webwasher so I can use it with ANY browser?

    I guess what it comes down to is every time I try to block stuff, the advertisers either get more clever, or I end up cursing my annoyance with ads whenever I have to temporarily disable the proxy to use a feature I actually want.


  • hopefully some dictator will have gotten tired of them and nuked them by then (because mine expires in 2k9 too... better add another 27000 days just to be safe)!
  • X10 provides the following link: p:// [] that sets a 30 day opt-out. Modify the DAY parameter to be 3000 and you will never see them until 2009! ttp:// []
  • They rely exlusively on sales to guys about to throw batchelor parties....
  • by krappie ( 172561 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @11:59AM (#103369)
    Yup, you can allow only certain sites to pop up ads too. Very neat.

    I also love right clicking on pictures and doing "Block Images from this Server." This feature was broken in 0.9 and 0.9.1 I think, but works again in 0.9.2. I've got a big list of servers built up, and many new pages won't have banner ads. Banner ads are far less annoying, but its nice to turn them off when you don't have much bandwidth.

  • I've recently switched to Mozilla for all of my browsing since almost every news site I go to, with the exception of Slashdot and a few others, now persistantly pop up ad windows. IE wouldn't let me easily disable popups and leave other JavaScript running (and JavaScript is useful for some things).

    Anyway, I believe that allowing the document to access properties of the document container is a mis-feature. Allowing a document to manipulate the host UI to open, close, resize, and otherwise manipulate windows breaks down the understood relationship between document and container/viewer, and should never have been implemented.

    Now, with Mozilla, I can edit JavaScript's functionality to my heart's content, thus repairing the language's feature set to make it more sane. Yay!
  • These ads are just another reason why I like the tabbed interface of galeon and skipstone. The ads do not intrude by popping up over your current page. Also, pop-under ads become obvious immediately, and you can close a tab without even looking at it, if you know you don't want to see an unsolicited popup, while still allowing pop-ups, though I have never seen a solicited pop-up, but they must exist somewhere :)
  • by MrGrendel ( 119863 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @12:01PM (#103373)
    Konqueror allows you to not only turn Java and Javascript on and off (individually), but you can set it up the behavior on a site-by-site basis, if that's what you want to do. You can also explicately turn off just the popup boxes and leave the rest of Java alone.
  • I remember there being lots of porn on Gopher & Archie back in 93 during college :)
  • There is no way for them to see that you've changed the expiry date on your cookie.

    When your browser requests a page from their site, it only sends the cookie name and value. The expiry date is never sent; it's only there to let your browser know when to delete the cookie.

    There are ways for them to get around this (I haven't seen the cookie, so I don't know what's in it,) such as embedding the date-of-issue into the cookie value, but if the cookie format is just a string which says "Opt Out", then this hack should work for as long as their opt-out program is in place.

  • With some manual tweaking, you can disable popup ads for specific sites. (I assume the converse would work, too)

    For instance, my user.js looks something like this:

    user_pref("capability.policy.strict.sites", "");
    user_pref("", "noAccess");

    Despite what the release notes say, user.js seems to be a better location for custom settings, because configuration changes made through the UI will often cause the entire prefs.js file to be overwritten.

    See the Configurable Security Policies document [] at for more info.

    Of course, it would be nicer to disable ad sites on the fly, as they are encountered. If I knew a bit more about how Mozilla worked, I could probably do it myself, but I'm lazy, and Mozilla documentation is still a bit scattered. For all I know, it might be possible to do this sort of thing now with Galeon, but I haven't tried the latest release.


  • The problem with the x10 opt-out is that the window still opens. It just closes itself right after loading for a sec. In windows, I didn't even notice this. My mac at work, however, doesn't do pop-under ads properly (they don't do the under part, but they still pop just fine...) and I usually close them in annoyance before the script checks the cookie and gets rid of it for me.

  • All the ads I see have some woman with a smile, and a hint you can put the ad "anywhere" or for "fun". Isn't clandestine taping of someone without they're knowing about it illegal? At least in places with an expectation of privacy? Could they be held accountable for encouraging ilegal activity?

    Probably not. The ads are probably subtle enough (well not subtle, but they don't explicitly state anything illegal) that nothing could happen because of that.

  • As has been mentioned in other comments to this story, iCab [] for Macintosh does such things. There is a top-level menu item that turns JavaScript on and off. If someone emailed the authors requesting it, one would probably be added for Java. One can certainly filter JavaScript by site... and not just whether it's on or off, but which of like seven specific things ("open new windows", "access referrer", "access history") scripts can do... for each and every site one adds to the filter. Good software does exist.
  • by MagikSlinger ( 259969 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @12:14PM (#103395) Homepage Journal

    First the surfer strikes back with ad-blocking and simple browser configurations. Then the advertisers strike back with Java code that seeks out your ad-blocking software, disables it, then resets your browsers configurations. Surfers will then up the ante by using firewalls and java filters that spot the ad-code, but wait: the advertisers unleash their next generation of ads.

    You innocently click on a site and laugh as you see your firewall happily report the Java counter-counter-measure has been stopped, but then you notice something's wrong with your firewall. The advertiser's website detected your counter-counter-measure and has responded with its own counter-counter-counter-measure. It procedes to hack your firewall, deletes your ad-busting software and changes your browser's executable so that you can only surf the web by going through the advertiser's site.

    This goes on until surfers are using high-powered automatic assault rifles with teflon-jacketed "cop-killer" bullets to fend off the full marketing assault team busting down your door wearing flak-jackets and using Waco-style tactics screaming, "It's the world's tiniest camera! You must buy it!" Damn those conservatives on the Supreme Court for allowing marketers these liberties under First Amendment protection! But at least they allowed you to use your Second Amendment rights to defend yourself.

    A hundred years later, civilization is in ruin. After the nuclear assault launched simultaneously by the Internet Advertising Bureau and the EFF, the world is reduced to rubble. In anger, everyone destroys their modems and Ethernet cards and a Great Burning goes up to punish those who brought the world to this. But somewhere, in a Utah monastary, monks work feverishly copying the last technological works of the 20th century: C++ User's Guide by Bjarne Stroustroupm, and Introduction to Berkley Sockets Programming. Will humanity be doomed to repeat this endless cycle of aggressive marketing?

  • There's this really funny (and tragic) article [] in the NY Times (free registration required, yadda yadda, blah blah blah) that proves just how rectocranially-inverted these Internet advertisers are. The article talks about how much "better" ads are since advertisers started using new, larger ads.
    Ms. Lyon said the new ad sizes were instrumental in getting [five well-known] designers to agree to the effort. "Before, you couldn't do as much with this medium," she said. "It's hard to jump up and down about a banner."


    In that ad, which was designed by the agency J. Walter Thompson, visitors to Yahoo's front page saw birds flying from the banner ad at the top to another ad on the right-hand side of the page. There, the birds started pecking at bird seed, revealing an image of a Ford Explorer. When users clicked on the Explorer, the Yahoo page shook as the sound of an engine started. The page finally faded to white, then gave way to a full-size photograph of the Explorer.

    "Users liked it a lot," said Murray Gaylord, Yahoo's vice president for brand marketing, "They said 'As long as you don't do this to me every page, all day long, this was fun.'"

    Is it any wonder the Internet is so ad-ridden? The ads are being placed by people who are living in their own little dream worlds--worlds where people not only like being advertised to, they crave it.

    I once thought that Pohl & Kornbluth's The Man Who Sold Venus (aka The Space Merchants) was just satire. Sadly, there's more truth to it than I realized.


  • Teriffic! Do you think the boss would notice if I ran Linux/Konqueror in a VM window on this Windoze box? :-)

    Does Konqueror have a simple button to do that, or do I have to drill down through several menus? What I want is a browser where the default is all crap (Java, cookies, style sheets, Shockwave plug-ins, etc.) OFF (call it Lynx mode) unless I push a button to turn it on for this site only. Failing that, a simple on/off toggle button for this window only is good enough. Failing that, a simple on/off toggle button for all windows is better than nothing.

    I suppose I could get Konqueror and hack the code myself, but right now I now have more money than time and I'm willing to buy a commercial product if anyone's willing to code what I want. Meanwhile, I'll stick to the free ones and bitch :-)

  • by theblackdeer ( 453464 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @12:20PM (#103403) Homepage
    no, doesnt care about the time its disabled. if you can't tell from the look/feel of the web site, it's all about selling, selling, selling. the reasing is that the people who will block the ad aren't going to buy a camera, so why care about how long it's blocked for? there are more than enough click-throughs on that ad to make it worth it.

    the web / marketing dept there at x10 is not terribly advanced, and cookies are 'oooh, krazy technology' - they're using front page, and have a special person set up to fix formatting when they can't figure it out through the WYSIWYG interface. ick.
  • Open up any newspaper, and take a look at how much of each page is advertising.

    Which, you will note, does not pop-up in front of the page you're trying to read, nor fall out the back so that when you close the paper you're left with a mosaic of little cards to pick up, nor contains animations which distract your hard-working eyeballs from the text, nor puts little tags on you that ads in other papers can read.

    Cease with the Flash, cease with the GIF animations, cease with the pop-ups and pop-unders, cease with the cookie abuse, and maybe - just maybe - it will be worth my while to turn off Junkbuster.

    Of course, I still wouldn't be clicking on the ads...

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @12:21PM (#103405)
    > I guess the only problem is that X10 actually has to honor their own cookies. If they start noticing a bunch of cookies that have values greater than 30 days then they might just consider it invalid or issue another cookie and everyone will have to put up with those "pop-under" adds again. Then again, maybe they will get smart and just get rid of the pop-under ad alltogether... or maybe not...

    This comment -- and the fact that other companies are going to start using the same technique -- is why I reject opt-out "cookie" solutions altogether.

    The popup/under/banner/whatever ad-generating code is adversary code.

    If you're going to jump through hoops to avoid these ads, might I point out that jumping through hoops to trust your adversary is a poor strategy. If you're going to jump through hoops, jump through hoops that will eliminate his ability to [ab]use your resources.

    Option 1: Hack code to place a button on your menu bar (Mozilla, sorry about you IE users) that will toggle ALL Javashit on/off. You're usually only surfing one web site at a time, right? Click to turn it all on (your bank, your broker), click to turn it all off (X10, pr0n-hunting). I do this manually through the 2-3 menu-subtrees in Nutscrape 4, and I've found that I never miss Javashit, although it has the side effect of greatly reducing my tolerance for idiot webmasters that use Javashit buttons where a simple HREF would do. Thankfully, I don't go to many such sites on a regular basis.

    Option 2: Find the location of the pop-under providers -- usually ad-servers like Doublefuck. Kill 'em in your HOSTS file on 'doze.

    Option 3: Use a local proxy like Junkbuster or Proxomitron.

    Bottom line: From a strategic perspective, it's stupid to use countermeasures that rely on either the integrity or negligence of your adversary, especially given the availability of other countermeasures that are not only more effective to begin with, but are (relatively speaking) immune from any action your adversary may take in the future.

    The enemy can't run code on your box if you don't allow him to. And the enemy can't even deliver the damn payload (be it Javashit code, huge-azz Flash and .GIF banners, or Doublefuck tracking cookies) if you've blocked his ass at the firewall or proxy.

  • by mosch ( 204 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @12:21PM (#103407) Homepage

    While you're not running mozilla, edit your prefs.js to say:

    user_pref("", "noAccess");

    Then if you want to allow certain sites to open new windows, also add the lines:

    user_pref("capability.policy.allowpopups.sites", "");
    user_pref("capability.policy.allowpopups.Window.op en", "sameOrigin");

    Mozilla's Configurable Security Policies [] document explains how you can create groups of sites with variable access to create new windows, use javascript alerts, etc.

  • is a cool FREE product called web washer, it controls cookies and allows you to do post and pre script blocking, redirect blocking as well as filters out ad banners you choose. The product will also prevent pop-up based on size :) No more pop-ups for this kid, I even turned it off to see the x10 ads..that sucks. The only ads I see on /. are the ones served by slashdot, any 3rd party domain banner shows up as broken. It is a great product :)
  • You should check out the changelog for Konqueror in KDE 2.2beta1. There is a plugin for HTML validation, a recursive downloader for offline browsing, and a DOM tree viewer (not exactly a "Link Manager", but maybe more powerful?).

    Also present in 2.2 is the option to be prompted whenever a site attempts to use popups (the old popups checkbox has been replaced with 3 radio buttons: Allow/Ask/Deny). This way you can still have popups when you need them, and just click "No" whenever you don't. A ~15 line patch by yours truly. Especially funny is when you get the prompt after closing Konqueror. Pesky onunloads! *click*

  • Mozilla lets you deny access to specific javascript functions on a per-site (or per-group-of-sites) basis, but currently you have to edit your preferences file manually. See the documentation on [] for instructions on how to set up your security preferences.
  • I use squid, its a caching proxy.

    I have some filtering in it to remove 'crap sites', but for the most part, I just filter based on directory name or hostname. (so I filter off things with banner/clickme in the path, or in a directory called 'ads' or 'adverts'. etc.

    It works well, Alost 25% of the HTTP queries made by netscape are blocked, with another 25% or so satisfied from the cache.

    As I use a modem frequently enough, this makes my web-browsing experience much better.

  • by theblackdeer ( 453464 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @12:25PM (#103418) Homepage [], and [] are the best for home automation. for cameras, go to [].
  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @12:28PM (#103425) Homepage Journal
    Just use junkbuster to allow it to send cookies back but not accept any more cookies from them. You are using Junkbuster aren't you?
  • No, you're probably right. The issue is one of degree (as it is in most things in life). Advertising can certainly be taken too far. And I do think (or hope) that in the end, most people's decisions will at least substantially take into account product quality. But I think you may overestimate people's attention to ads. I never knew, as your comment says, that X10's advertising is "aimed at enticing perverts to spy on women." I have NEVER given the content of one of X10's ads even a cursory examination. But I damn well know the X10 brand, and I know it has something to do with digital cameras. I would speculate that for most people, it's the same situation.
  • Well if nothing else you *should* be able to pay for your bandwidth with advertising.

    If you pay a cent a meg of bandwidth (and you probably pay less if you run your own server), and you use mod_gzip, you can probably get 30-50 good sized HTML pages + some graphics (including a banner ad) in a meg. Certainly you can earn a cent per 30 pages, right?

    If you can get a tenth of a cent per page, you're making a profit.

  • then set up a members area and charge for access if people won't pay then you are wasting your time, OR DOING IT BECAUSE you LOVE IT. We ALL know ADS don't work. The ad companies seem to thing that becasue they CAN measure hits that WEB ads should get them somthing more than TV ads, but they are sadly mistaken. TV ads have as bad or worse a view ratio, there is just no way for the companies to measure it so they eat the loss. Compare the return on a multi million dollar TV ad where 4/5th the people go to the restroom during, to the poor response of click-thru's and I bet they are very close. Someone sold the techno-idiots on the value of so-called targeted ads, which are in reality no different from TV ads, they just can't measure that.
  • Isn't it just a little hypocritical to be advocating removing links from someone's published web content (even if they are ads) when you cry foul at adding links to someone's published web content (smart tags)?
  • I got tired of always saying "NO". When I encounter a web site where the site is unuseable without Javascript I want to simply press a button and have the web page (i.e., the Javascript) work. I don't want to have to re-load the page. I don't want to have to say "NO" 99% of the time. I just want a simple "Javascript" button for the 1%.

    I also want this user-controlled functionality for cookies, style sheets, plug-ins, etc. It's too much to ask, I know. Just like it's too much to ask for a car with an oil pressure gage. My car's computer tells me when to change the oil; I have no need to see the oil pressure. My browser tells me when to view a pop-up window; I have no need to enable or disable it. Guess what? My money is spent on games and new hardware; I have no need to buy a web browser that does what I want.

  • Look closely, they're called X-10 controllers, even at Radio Shack. Even if you didn't buy them direct, you're still putting money in their pockets.
  • so, there will always be new pr0n sites to surf. If The Hun [] closes it's doors I always have Sublime Directory [] to fall back on. To answer the inevitable question, no I don't have anything to do with these sites. Yes, I do look at pr0n. I'm a geek. Deal.

  • wrong, wrong, and WRONG. X10 is a standard. There are many companies which manufacture products which comply with said standard. just happened to be the first to register the website. They are far from the only manufacturer of X10 Products. In fact, I have found some models of switches and appliance modules to be far superior when they come from other companies.'s stuff sometimes seems kinda cheezy and cheaply made

  • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (jllerraf)> on Friday July 06, 2001 @01:16PM (#103495) Homepage
    What if I mute my radio when Howard Stern re-runs his "personal" product endorsements?
    What if I write in the margins of my textbook?
    What if I cover the ads in the newspaper with my hands or a black marker?
    What if I skip the commercials when watching a recorded TV show/movie?
    ...What if remove the ads from a webpage?

    You're not a very good devil's advocate if you can't see that the end-user has the right to alter whatever he wants in his content, for his own fair-use.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, is a third party, and should not alter someone elses content for you BY DEFAULT, but they still could and should enable people to do it themselves if they want.

  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @01:32PM (#103507) Homepage Journal
    I would love to go back to the Web the way it was in 1993 - 94. No Porn. No Ads. No Bullshit. No Morons. No Commercialism. Just Net.

    All Male, All Students, All White. Nerdvana at last!

    If an exclusionary 'Net is what you want, go live in a cave.

  • I have to wonder.

    First, banner ads - bad. OK, maybe. But they're okay by me. Look at the top of the screen, for crying out loud! (Those not using virgin, image enabled browsers need not reply.)

    Next, Java Popups. Okay, now you're starting to get on my nerves.

    Next, in-browser java windows. These are also acceptable, to me.

    Next, Java popups of death (Hereafter referred to as JPOD's.). These bother me to no end, ya know, when i go do l33t stuff like w4ar3z hunting, or pr0n surfing. (Fer god sakes, newsgroups people. Most of them *are* ads, but they're free and you get to see what you're looking for.)

    Next, pop-unders. Not nearly as bothersome as some of the others. I really don't mind.

    Heres the reason i don't mind:

    In a capitalist society, you need money. therefore, these websites - need money. Without money these websites may go away. Some of these websites have insufficent revenue stream to provide services on the web without some form of advertising.

    My question:

    What form of advertising would you people, as slashdot dro..err users accept? Banner ads irk some of you. Bigger banner ads piss off the rest of you to no end. How would you suggest non-retail companies get revenue off the web? Slavery is illegal (Well, usually.. try explaining that to my boss). Im sure none of you would work for free, but some of you would love to work for, say, slashdot. Somehow, I don't think hemos could get by showing leg on 3rd avenue and bringing Taco's cut back to him both.

    I agree that having a chip implanted in your arm that flashes up 10 second ads in your brain every few minutes, or gives you one lucid dream a night about Tammy the Tampax superhero with leaky the wonder-pad might be a little much, but i don't quite think we're there yet.

    (On a side note, personally, i would rather see ads targeted towards me than ones not. I'd rather see a ad advertising TLC's special on ramses the great than a condom advertisement about ramses.)

    Just my $0.000000002

    Slashdot something useful. []
    Management is not a tunable parameter.
  • by kstumpf ( 218897 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @01:47PM (#103519)
    I have no problem with advertising as long as it is not intrusive. I understand advertising is vital for some internet companies, as it is for television and radio broadcasting.

    However, television and radio broadcasts are passive media, and the internet is an interactive medium. You can change the channel or turn up the volume, but other than that, TV and radio require no input from you. When you see an ad, it simply appears, does its thing, and goes away.

    When I come across an ad on the internet, very different things happen:

    1) What I was doing is interrupted. I searched, I clicked, and now this ad has intruded into whatever action I was performing. I was not expecting an ad.

    2) Resources are used. I have to request your ad (time), download your ad (bandwidth), store your ad in my cache (storage). TV inflicts no such overhead.

    3) I am forced to act. Your ad popped up, and now I have to close it. I have to stop what I was doing to get rid of your ad.

    You watch TV, but you use a computer. Ads can appear anywhere on your screen, be any size, be any shape, they may play sound, play video, or worse. A TV ad is always the same dimensions and you know what to expect.

  • by DJGreg ( 28663 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @01:48PM (#103520)

    Actually, Mozilla has some great features to deal with pop-up windows. This page [] goes over quite a few things that you can mess with that aren't available via the standard options dialog. Most notable is buried in the Other Useful Preferences section which discusses the user.js file. Within there are some great features to control when and what javascript is available to a page.. I personally love this feature.

    This will help greatly with those websites that "require" that you have javascript enabled in order to view them, while also killing any javascript that you don't want to function..

    Enjoy, and have fun.. ;)


  • by whjwhj ( 243426 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @02:08PM (#103528)
    Think: If the folks who brought you Internet Explorer were truly committed to the needs of the folks who actually RUN Internet Explorer, there would already today be many user friendly features in the browser including:
    • Javascript could be enabled/disabled site by site.
    • Java could be enabled/disabled site by site.
    • Cookies could be enabled/disabled site by site.
    • Friendly 'wizards' would explain the pros and cons of each setting and guide you through the configuration. The user could set things up however they wanted so that their browsing experience could be as full featured or lean and mean as they desired.
    This is proof, folks, that the browser wasn't written for our benefit at all. It's written for the benefit of 'content producers', if anybody.

    What's worse is that these features are very apparent and SO DAMN EASY TO IMPLEMENT. We should have seem them in IE years ago. Chances are, we never will. How can we expect the company who brought us 'Smart Tags' to look after us? Forget it.

    Good that we have some alternatives to IE. Too bad they aren't readily apparent to the ignorant masses. Solving the problem for a few geeks does not solve the problem for the rest of us. Who knows, maybe someday ...
  • by AxelBoldt ( 1490 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @03:26PM (#103568) Homepage
    Or use WebWasher [], from Siemens no less. Runs on Linux and Windows and is free as in beer. I have never seen an X10 ad, or a Slashdot banner ad for that matter. You don't need to know regexps to use it.


  • by djrogers ( 153854 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @03:46PM (#103575)
    I'm not a huge IE fan, but you can do this - turn off all scripting for the Internet zone, and add teh sites that you want to allow scripting for to the 'trusted sites' list. Or, you could add nasty sites to the restricted sites' list...

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351