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Pop-up ad


Pop-up ads or pop-ups are forms of online advertising on the World Wide Web. A pop-up is a graphical user interface (GUI) display area, usually a small window, that suddenly appears ("pops up") in the foreground of the visual interface. The pop-up window containing an advertisement is usually generated by JavaScript that uses cross-site scripting (XSS), sometimes with a secondary payload that uses Adobe Flash. They can also be generated by other vulnerabilities/security holes in browser security.

A variation on the pop-up window, the pop-under advertisement, opens a new browser window under the active window. Pop-unders do not interrupt the user immediately, but appear when the user closes the covering window, making it more difficult to determine which website created them.

Pop-up ads originated on the Tripod.com webpage hosting site in the late 1990s. Ethan Zuckerman claims he wrote the code to launch advertisements in separate windows as a response to complaints of displaced banner ads. He didn't invent the pop-up window. Zuckerman later apologized for the unforeseen nuisance pop-up ads had evolved into.

Web development and design technologies allow an author to associate any item on a pop-up with any action, including with a cancel or innocent looking button. Because of bad experiences and apprehensive of possible damage that they may cause, some users do not click on or interact with any item inside a pop-up window whatsoever, and may leave the site that generated them or block all pop-ups.

Opera was the first major browser to incorporate tools to block pop-up ads; the Mozilla browser later improved on this by blocking only pop-ups generated as the page loads. In the early 2000s, all major web browsers except Internet Explorer let users block unwanted pop-ups almost completely. In 2004, Microsoft released Windows XP SP2, which added pop-up blocking to Internet Explorer. Most modern browsers provide pop-up blocking tools; third-party tools add other features, such as ad filtering.

Users of websites and web applications continuously experience unwanted pop up ads through the course of their normal interaction with a web browser. Ordinarily, users respond by dismissing the pop-up through the "close" or "cancel" feature of the window hosting the pop-up. Because this is a typical response, some authors of pop-up advertising depend on this, and create on-screen buttons or controls that look similar to a "close" or "cancel" option. When the user chooses one of these "simulated cancel" options, however, the button performs an unexpected or unauthorized action (such as opening a new pop-up, or downloading an unwanted file on the user's system).

A hover ad or in-page pop-up uses DHTML to combine a banner ad and a pop-up window that appears in front of the browser screen. JavaScript imposes an advertisement over a webpage in a transparent layer. This advertisement can appear in a variety of forms. For example, an advertisement can contain an Adobe Flash animation that links to the advertiser's site. An advertisement can also look like a regular window. Pop-up blockers cannot block the ad because it is a part of the webpage, but it can be blocked with third-party ad blockers such as AdBlock and Adblock Plus, or by using custom style sheets.

Pop-under ads are similar to pop-up ads, but the ad window appears hidden behind the main browser window rather than superimposed in front of it. As pop-up ads became more widespread and more intrusive, often taking up whole computer screen, many users would immediately close the pop-up ads that appeared over a site without looking at them. Pop-under ads do not immediately impede the view of content, but remain unnoticed until the user closes or minimizes the main browser window.

ExitExchange.com filed for a patent in 2000 on a subset of pop-under advertising called an exit pop. After years of controversy and numerous articles on the pop-under patent, the patent was awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in April and June 2008. The respective patent numbers are U.S. Patent 7,386,555 and U.S. Patent 7,353,229. Patent 7,386,555 is related to the method of opening an exit pop from a toolbar or software application on a computing device, whereas Patent 7,353,229 covers the method used to open an exit pop from an embedded script found within a media file (e.g., JavaScript code on a web page).