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Why Your Pop-Up Blocker Doesn't Work Anymore 653

An anonymous reader writes "If you've noticed that pop-up ad windows seem to have made an unwelcome return into your life, it's because they're not using the same easily blockable technology as before. The Adimpact system uses DHTML to annoy you, and there's no immediate prospect of a solution."
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Why Your Pop-Up Blocker Doesn't Work Anymore

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  • Great article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:00AM (#26737229) Journal

    Almost completely devoid of content.

    • Re:Great article (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:15AM (#26737507) Journal

      The simplest, and most reasonable content would be:

      If people are blocking popups, and you try to force upon them a popup advertisement, you are probably being counterproductive to your cause, and are a complete RETARD.

  • by Kuroji ( 990107 ) <> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:01AM (#26737235)

    ...but I got so distracted with those shiny X10 pop-up ads.

  • by menegator ( 539434 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:04AM (#26737293)
    Adblock plus, problem solved!
  • Popups? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ppz003 ( 797487 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:04AM (#26737303) Homepage

    What popups?

    This mostly popup free browsing experience brought to you by the makers of Firefox and NoScript.

  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:05AM (#26737319)

    DHTML popups are no big deal at all. They don't open a new window. They don't "pop under". They don't re-open when you try to close them...

    The solution to them is simple and already implemented. Close the tab, and never return to that site again. Ever.

    Problem solved.

  • "Unblockable" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:05AM (#26737327)
    "The Dynamic Popup Generator can create pressure pop-ups, unblockable DHTML pop-ups, PictoPop-ups, conditional popups, instant opt-in pop-ups, and rotating pop-ups"."

    Wait, I have the answer...keep Javascript disabled for websites that do not really need it! Right now, I have Javascript enabled for...3 websites, all of which are trusted sites from either my job or my school. Popup free browsing, and incidentally, pages use less CPU time.

    Seriously, why do we need Javascript to read articles or blogs? If your web apps are abusing Javascript to display ads, maybe it is time to consider not using web apps, or finding "friendlier" companies.
    • Re:"Unblockable" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by meist3r ( 1061628 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:16AM (#26737527)

      Seriously, why do we need Javascript to read articles or blogs? If your web apps are abusing Javascript to display ads, maybe it is time to consider not using web apps, or finding "friendlier" companies.

      WE (as in users) don't need Javascript. I've been following the trends on more and more script code on websites for years now. If you really look at it most of the code is used to a) gather data about the user or b) display messages and ads to the user. There is a smaller category c) running useful code (like flash video players, online apps etc.).

      The reality is that many companies base their revenue streams on these ad systems which include addthis, google-analytics and so forth. By simply blocking these you'll have a hassle free surfing experience but will have to occasionally activate some stuff to make your site work (which at times can be quite tedious finding out which one of the fifteen cryptic script hosters is responsible for the video player itself).

      I sometimes worry if I deprive my sites of their ad revenue by blocking these shitty ads but then again I never voluntarily clicked, let alone bought something from, a banner or popup ad. As long as there are blinking, sound playing, window resizing, non-closable, code-executing messages that want to bum some attention I will block them. Firefox, Noscript. No more problems. I hate surfing on machines without those installed.

    • Re:"Unblockable" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:31AM (#26737803)

      You don't need Javascript. I want to provide a more feature rich interface than HTML by itself provides. If you're not interested, then I am not angry with you. You can ignore what I have to offer, and I can accept that you're just not interested. I really don't care whether you look at it or not; in the long run, you're such an infinitesimal minority who is part of the unique overlap of a: having the technical knowledge to be able to equate the misuse of DHTML on other sites to the usage of JavaScript within browsers in general and b: having the personal distaste for such misuse to such a degree that you would eschew the primary building block (JS) altogether except for a few very specific instances.

      To whit: I'm not going to cry about 0.00001% lost traffic, and more surprisingly, neither are my customers when I explain to them the pitfalls of making "web applications" with JavaScript. When I tell them they may lose a few geeks who are ideologically opposed to the use of JS in their "webapp", they basically just laugh and call you a retard.

      (Note: I don't feel you're a retard; I get fired up over stuff like this too, usually. For me, this isn't a hot button issue, but I have other ones and I'm sure people call me a retard for feeling that way also).

      Long story short: people want an application delivery mechanism that doesn't require a software install, update management, etc, and they're trying to make browsers be that mechanism. If you are really that against it, find a way of distributing that mechanism to every computer currently using the web, and then I can try convincing people that they should use that rather than fitting it into a browser. But until your mechanism reaches every computer a browser currently reaches, they aren't going to bite. And at the end of the day, I'm working to support my family, so if the customer really wants a "rich, dynamic Web Application Experience", then I'm going to give that to them.

      Sorry :(

  • Blocking it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:06AM (#26737355) Homepage

    I found it much less intrusive once every host in the domain started serving up 404 Not Found for all pages.

    DNS is your friend, especially when your nameserver is declared a master for that domain and the zonefile contains a wildcard record pointing all names to the IP address of your own dedicated nothing-there Web server.

  • I hadn't noticed (Score:3, Informative)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:07AM (#26737377)
    I use Firefox with the AdBlock Plus [], NoScript [], and FlashBlock [] add-ons installed. I haven't noticed any pop-up ads.
  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:10AM (#26737425) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately it would be an arms race of sorts, similar to virus definitions... requiring dom scripting to identify a particular class or id or attribute or some other unique element in the ad (possibly the image src which means it could piggy back on ad-blockers already in use)...

    The idea is to use the DOM to walk back up from the unique Ad element to the containing div or divs, then turn them off or delete them.

    Another way would be to identify the offending function in the script and set it to return false or something similar.

    Someone could play around with greasemonkey or YUI anywhere and create a sample distribution...

    I don't personally go to enough sites that do this to make the effort, so I'll leave it as an exercise for the class.

  • by utnapistim ( 931738 ) <dan.barbus@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:16AM (#26737531) Homepage

    ... are like free endorsements for Firefox + adblock plus + NoScript + ... some other extensions.

    The more they keep annoying users, the more popular the solution becomes.

  • by baomike ( 143457 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:16AM (#26737543)

    Use flash blocker.
    Also Opera has a facility to easily block a feed. Right click, click on the offending item, click done. you're done.
    How many sources does this company have? Unless they have a lot, their adds are gone.

    I don't know if FF has this or not ...

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:19AM (#26737581) Journal

    Just this week Yahoo mail started serving up ads that pop up an annoying window every time your mouse passes over it. I hope Yahoo loses a lot of market share over this. I know it was the impetus I needed to switch over to Google mail. Of course Yahoo doesn't offer mail forwarding so you lose your email address. Serves me right for ever using a provider that doesn't make it possible to migrate away.

  • by Spyder ( 15137 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:29AM (#26737773)

    Check out [] for a quick set of examples of these.

    It looks like a bit of experimentation could yeild a reasonably reliable greasemonkey script to kill these when not click initated.

  • HOSTS file FTW! (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyberjock1980 ( 1131059 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:30AM (#26737795)

    I've been using a hosts file since around 2003. It blocks out all those ads, popups, spyware,adware, stops alot of virii from calling home, you name it. I scan my computer about once a month, and I haven't had any of the 'serious outbreaks' of adware like all my friends. They all swear by their software programs to block it(ultimately, they always end up reformatting when they cant quite get rid of them all) but my solution uses no resources and doesn't require 'scanning' for them regularly.

    I use it on my parent's computer and only update it once a year at Christmas. Even with only updating once a year they haven't gotten any adware/spyware yet, and it's been 3 years.

    I highly recommend it. Give it a try, there's nothing to lose but the crapware. []

    • Re:HOSTS file FTW! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:40AM (#26737963)

      This really is the best method. Its cross-platform and no matter what strategies the ad people try, I'm still blocking their server. Not to mention ad servers are a security risk. Most "Antivirus 2009" infections are from compromised ad servers delivering fake ads for the malware. These malware ads look a lot more legitimate when served up by

      Just block them wholesale. Perhaps they will learn that we dont want overlays and popups. A simple ad that targets me really is a lot more effective than these tricks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MadKeithV ( 102058 )
      The plural of virus is viruses, not virii. []
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jgtg32a ( 1173373 )
      Hosts file is a bit too slow it wasn't designed for so many records. Just use protowall or peerguardian, they have malware lists to use.

      Note, I haven't used either of those programs in about 3 years, I have no idea if they still exist.
  • this "solution" to the return of pop ups is of course akin to curing your hangnail by cutting off your foot

    are you familiar with the phenomenon of the guy who doesn't own a television, and must remind every stranger he meets of this fact, constantly? if you look at the comments here, this article seems to have brought out the similarly quirky "look at me! i don't use javascript! i don't use flash!" brigade

    ok, so you are proud of your bare html existence. good for you

    but you might have noticed that the internet has evolved since 1994, and technologies, such as AJAX, are transforming the web browsing experience in GOOD ways, such as google maps. javascript is not merely cruft to make your anchor links animate. likewise, can you argue with the success and value of a site like youtube? which, by the way, works in flash?

    javascript and flash are not in any way absolute negatives for the internet experience. they are merely useful tools whose usage is evolving, in good and bad ways. to disavow that obvious observation and just flat out block them does not make you wiser, it makes you an odd appendix of history. trumpeting your monklike ascetic internet existence doesn't add anything of value to the conversation, because, no, blocking javascript and flash is most definitely not the solution, really

    when you announce that you don't use these technologies, all you show us is that you are indulging in some sort of odd attention-seeking disorder with a strange misplaced pride

    • by whyloginwhysubscribe ( 993688 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:39AM (#26737933)
      The firefox noscript extension doesn't permanently block javascript - it informs you when a site is trying to use javascript and gives you the choice to allow it temporarily or trust it completely.

      It is actually quite interesting to see the number of cross site scripts that are called in lots of websites. So you have complete control over that. It is not flat blocking it out...
      • are you familiar with the idiotic windows vista practice of asking you to approve every executeable before it runs? after awhile, the average user just mindlessly clicks "approve" and doesn't even read the warning. and this is perfectly appropriate behavior: its the boy who cried wolf. an alert at every false positive leads people to completely ignore the alert

        likewise, noscript is a wonderful extension... for the odd power user who likes such finetuned control over the minutiae of his browsing experience,

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Likewise, can you argue with the success and value of a site like youtube? which, by the way, works in flash?

      I want a plugin for firefox that detects "hmm, this is flash... Oh, this is flash video! Remove flash, download *.flv in the background, insert embedded mplayer."

      Then I'd dump flash faster than you can count to e^{i \pi} + 1.

    • by zoney_ie ( 740061 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:52AM (#26738203)

      Well, for some of us it's not a case of not using Flash or Javascript, but rather *us* deciding when and where we choose to allow it. I'll happily put up with the occasional ill-loaded page requiring Javascript/Flash enabling and reload (click on noscript icon in the status area and click on the servers I wish to allow, or allow all temporarily), rather than have to put up with the hideous clutter and tracking all over the web.

      I have Javascript whitelisted for a quite a number of sites I regularly visit who put it to good use. I can also put up with letting certain semi-trusted organisations have information on what I'm doing on the site as well.

      Having NoScript is perfectly sensible - particularly when performing a search on Google for example, and visiting random websites who could not only have malicious Javascript code, but could indeed just have slow-loading broken code.

      Most websites load a lot faster (no matter how fast your system/net connection) without having to wait for scripts to load from random third-party ad sites.

  • where is the news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NudeAvenger ( 1391803 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @11:53AM (#26738207)
    DHTML overlays have been around for years - I know, I've been working in the industry for years *ducks* and they've been around longer than I have. Where is the story here? [] go on - make your own.
  • by Thaelon ( 250687 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @12:51PM (#26739359)

    Sounds like someone [] is in need of a few extra visitors.

    Perhaps in the form of a distributed set of requests - that really shouldn't be denied - for service, but we surely shouldn't attack them.

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