Down With Pop-Up

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o you find pop-up ads on the Web as annoying as I do? Is it just my impression or are they increasing in size and number?

And aren't travel purveyors among the principal sponsors of these intrusive messages?

Lately when I try to sign off from the Web, I can't get out without Orbitz or someone else rearing their heads to try to grab a last-minute piece of action from me.

The practice is particularly objectionable when the unsolicited ad sits between you and your desire to log off so you can get on with your life.

I also notice that some of the country's major news organizations, apparently in a desperate struggle to generate Web advertising, are creating ad configurations that are placed prominently inside editorial content, and that sit there and occasionally flash as you try to read something.

Intrusive advertising is a time-honored practice. Consider how television commercials are relentlessly played at higher sound levels than we hear during the programs they accompany. That technique was concocted by some ad executive who decided that people go to the kitchen during commercials so the sound level better be louder. They haven't met my wife who now automatically hits the "mute" button every time a television commercial plays.

On the Web, intrusive advertising began in the form of discreet banners atop and alongside editorial content. These techniques proved insufficient to generate adequate click-throughs to advertiser sites so the people spending the money are demanding more in-your-face impressions.

While these pop-up intrusions do nothing but infuriate me, they may turn out to be effective with some portion of the Web audience.

There's an old advertising industry theory that when ads become truly irritating, they finally have made an impression on the public.

Years ago, the makers of the pain reliever, Anacin, kept the same commercial on the air for what seemed to be forever. When the headache reliever's ad agency was told that the commercials were causing, not curing, headaches, the agency replied that the sales of the product were rising at an increasing rate the longer the same old commercials were played.

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