Pop-Ups Go From Bad to Good

Gretchen Gallen
CYBERSPACE – A study issued this week by research company Dynamic Logic delivered some good news to Internet marketers that rely on pop-up advertising to get noticed and redirect traffic.

The first part of Dynamic Logic's AdReaction Study measured consumers' reactions toward pop-ups, out-of-frame, and floating ads, all of which were not as negatively perceived as previously thought, the company said.

The issue over pop-up ads has become a hotly debated topic lately, due in part to numerous lawsuits waged by users against aggressive pop-up marketing companies, and a handful of company lawsuits over trademark violations.

Dynamic Logic discovered in the first part of its study that consumers feel the "appropriate" number of ads that appear over web content should not exceed two per hour. And while one-third of respondents felt that no pop-up ads are appropriate, two thirds of those surveyed felt that pop-ups are acceptable.

The overall sentiment among respondents was that intrusive online ad campaigns should be limited, but that controlled frequency of ads made it more likely that the ads would be looked at, as opposed to deleted.

In July of last year, a computer user filed a lawsuit against DoubleClick for distributing deceptive pop-up ads that looked like Windows error messages. Retailer U-haul filed various suits against web advertisers Gator Corporation and WhenU.com over the use of pop-up ads that obscured their page views. And in November of 2003, a federal court judge dismissed Wells Fargo and Quicken Loan's motion to block a software maker that launched rival pop-up advertisements when customers accessed its website.

Additionally, a San Diego company called D Squared Solutions won a temporary reprieve three months ago when a federal judge decided not to bar the company from exploiting a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows operating system to market an anti-pop-up software that used pop-up ads to sell itself.