Pop-ups are no more annoying than TV ads
By Linda
Pop-ups, that favourite marketing tool of online casinos, are no more annoying to consumers than t.v. ads and junk mail, a breakthrough survey has found.

Love them or hate them, pop-up ads could be around for a long time because Internet users apparently aren't that annoyed.

'I hate them,' said Mary Gilly, professor of marketing at the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Irvine.

'But they're very cheap, so if there's any kind of payoff, it's worth it.

'Somebody is responding, and I don't know who you are, but I wish you'd cut it out,' she jokes.

Popular search engine Google.com banned the ads: 'We find them annoying,' a spokesperson said.

But no one's petitioning Congress for an anti-pop-up law. They help keep most web-sites free of charge. And there are signs that marketers are becoming more mindful of consumer contempt, said Marissa Gluck, senior analyst with Jupiter Media Metrix, a market-research firm in New York.

Unicast, an ad company, is gaining respect for its 'Superstitials,' or ads that limit pop-ups to once per visit.

ebay isn't stupid. It’s limiting pop-up ads to its home page, targeting visitors leaving the site. And it's pushing only ads promoting itself and its wares.

'As you well know, the jury is still out in terms of pop-up windows and banner ads,' said Kevin Pursglove, an eBay spokesman. 'It's all going to depend on feedback we get from the users.'

There's more reason for companies to distance themselves from the advertising format to preserve the dignity of their brands, said Michael Todd, senior vice president of interactive services for the T&O Group, an advertising agency in Irvine, Calif.

'Boy, that X10 ad,” says Todd. “Everybody remembers the X10 ad.'

Last year, when such ads began appearing for the wireless-camera purveyor X10, consumers found them amusing at first but quickly scorned them as the pop-ups evolved into pop-unders and multiple pop-ups, which crashed slow computers. 'Our clients come to us and say 'I want to do one just like that.''

Todd does what he can to discourage such ambitions, suggesting a less-intrusive banner ad or e-mail campaign.

People in the industry also point out that there are a number of programs designed to block pop-ups. Pop-up Stopper from Panicware can be downloaded free from panicware.com.

Smith Micro Software started selling its blocking software last month. With little advertising, the company's already sold 3,000 copies of CheckIt 86 at $20 a pop.

Though sometimes they work so well that they can prevent you from opening up windows that you want opened.

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