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Pop-up ads - To be or not to be?

By Jakob Jelling

Imagine surfing through the Internet, looking for information, or maybe just sauntering along, clicking upon whatever comes your way, not really paying attention to the content, when your eye is caught by a link to a site that claims to have content that really appeals to you at that very moment. You hopefully click upon the link, curious about what awaits you when suddenly you’re hit with one, two, three, four, five pop-up ads and they keep jumping up and hitting you from every corner of the screen. How many times have one of us been attacked by pop-up ads that don’t interest us? How many times have the efforts of the advertisers to sell their products ended up in completely ruining the happy and receptive state of mind the user in a stampede of information, hitting too soon, too suddenly and too forcefully for the user to have any favorable impression of the product.

In fact, in many cases it is observed that the content of the pop-up ads isn’t even the issue at hand. Pop-up ads by their very nature are irritating and annoying to most users of the Internet. People are not happy at being interrupted while they surf or hunt around for information. However, many site owners and web masters feel compelled to include pop-up ads in their advertising mix in order to generate revenue for slow moving sites.

According to a study conducted by the Bunnyfoot University, “The Efficacy of Pop-ups and the Resulting Effect on Brands” Internet users feel harangues and harassed by pop-up ads. The study revealed that pop-up ads precipitated dislike and annoyance with the pop-up ads and for this reason, with the web site and the site owner as well. Most users do not even wait to see the entire ad; they do not even wait till the entire ad is loaded or till the company or brand logo is displayed. More than half the pop-up ads displayed to the sample group were ignored. There were negative comments about the adverts because the users felt that the ads insulted their intelligence by assuming that they could not locate a certain item on their own. Annoyance at the appearance of the adverts also reflected that the users found them to be irrelevant and obstructive to the content of the site. These viewpoints are the opinions of the sample group selected by Bunnyfoot University to conduct their research however, considering the responses garnered from a multitude of Internet users, these opinions are shared by many users of the Internet who want to be able to view content-rich sites without being disturbed by pop-up ads.

The reasons given by the web masters for using pop-up ads is that they are not quite as repulsive and disagreeable to their users as they are portrayed. Another reason many web masters are not willing to dismiss pop-up ads is because they offer the example of Web giants like Yahoo! and Google Inc. who also offer their users pop-up ads. The site owners cite this precedent as justification for using pop-up ads on their sites. Pop-up ads are a good way to earn revenue on sites that offer quality content. The web site owners believe that they are justified in their bid to earn revenue since most of the information featured on the Internet is free for the user, and most users do not want to pay for the information offered by the content-rich sites. The site owners contest that if the users are allowed to view the content on their sites for free, the least they can do is tolerate a couple a pop-up ads that after all, help to pay for the site’ running. Even though most site owners feels justified in displaying pop-up ads on their sites, many other webmasters are resorting to pop-under ads that do not obstruct the user but wait till the user is finished with viewing the information on site. Pop-under ads are not so zealously opposed, they are far more likely to be tolerated and viewed with patience by the user, which is why increasingly more and more web masters are opting for pop-under ads to fund their sites.

About the author
Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.sitetube.com. Visit his website for the latest on planning, building, promoting and maintaining websites.

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