Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

January 20, 2004

Endangered Media: Pop-Up Ads

Pop-up ads are becoming an endangered Net artifact, thanks to a widespread consumer backlash that has stimulated online services and browser vendors to incorporate pop-up-blocking software. Already, pop-ups - once hailed as the revenue savior for many small sites, are declining in terms of share: 8.7 percent had them in 2003. but now only 6.2 percent do, and the future looks very dim, as cited in this New York Times article. registration required)

Few will mourn the extinction of the pop-up. But future-minded media freaks might seek to save one or two operating examples - perhaps from the early X10 campaign - and create a "circa 2003 pop-up simulator" just to show people of the future how miserable life on the Web was between 2001 and 2004.

No, few classic pop-ups or pop unders - not even the cute series from Orbitz - will be saved from global erasure, even though creating them constituted a significant cottage industry for many Web designers in the last 3 years. What museum would have them? Few artists actively used the pop-up as a serious visual, much less a literary medium, most people hated them, and thus the pop-up - a true mass phenomena - will likely become completely opaque to future generations thanks to a lack of interest in documenting the form.

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