Many webmasters, including myself have a dislike for popups, popunders, exit consoles, and the like. In the early days of the Internet they were the tactics used by unscrupulous and unethical webmasters, some of which created popup/under after popup/under in an endless stream that at times ended up crashing a user’s browser.
This gave all popups and popunders a bad reputation. So bad in fact, that a whole industry cropped up to create software that blocks both popups and popunders. Microsoft has even installed a popup blocker right into its latest version of Internet Explorer.
A ton of articles have been written about the evil of using popups and popunders and enough people have downloaded and installed some form of popup blocker that most of the unscrupulous webmasters have moved onto other methods. (Such as installing spyware on user’s computers as they enter a website, but we will leave that subject for a future article.)
There are of course still webmasters out there who misuse every tool that comes along. They will not put the same effort into making money legitimately on the web as they will to create ways to trick people into clicking something. These people will always find a way to cheat with any new or old technology that comes along.
However, there are many legitimate companies and honest webmasters that use the same technology to serve their customers in a good way.
I still have to be convinced that popups will ever be a good idea. I don’t like popups of any variety. The normal popups that jump up in front of the page I am trying to view irritate me. The ones that slide in from the side or the top or the bottom of the page annoy me as do the webmasters that claim those aren’t really popups. They don’t deserve a new name.
The newest version I really hate is the glossy ad that covers half the page over the website I want to see and you are forced to click or view the ad for the time they have allotted to it before you are allowed to see the website. I know, when you watch TV you cannot just click off the commercials and these are not different, but this isn’t TV. On TV I have a limited number of channels top switch to. Even if you have satellite TV you are still much more limited compared to the number of websites I can go to instead of waiting for your ad to finish loading.
Another “creative” type of popup is the “offcenter” popup. The one where you have to drag the window over before you can close it. Or the ones with no “x” to click to shut it down. The gurus that created these codes probably think they are really really smart and creative. Some people have way too much time on their hands and need to get a life. What do they think? “Wow, I don’t see a way to close this window. How creative! Now I must buy what they are selling!” Right.
What I have seen though is legitimate companies and webmasters that are using popunders to drive traffic in a good way. They only use one popunder per visitor. They don’t create an endless stream of them. They don’t place them offcenter or create them so they cannot be closed.
These popunders do not cover the page I am trying to view. I can close them if I do not want to visit the page being advertised. They are asking users to click something related to where the visitor just came from, so they might actually be interested in the website advertised in the popunder.
As a user, I am not bothered by these and sometimes I click through to the website being advertised if I have an interest in it. Why webmasters would want to fool me into going to a website I have no interest in is beyond me. If I am not coming there to buy something I am just using their bandwidth.
I applaud the companies that have taken the advertising by popunder to a legitimate level and will pay attention to these ads in the future. I have changed my mind about at least the use of popunders.