A Brief History Of The Popup Ad


 A Brief History Of The Popup Ad

In its simpler form, the popup ad is either a banner ad, or a pop-up window. It displays an advertisement to the user when they are browsing a site and is usually only seen for a short period of time. This has been one of the most common ways to advertise since before the internet became mainstream. 

The first popups were made with html in 1998 by Beebom Inc (now owned by AOL), which used these advertisements on their website as well as on other websites via tracking codes hidden in webpages returned from their search engine, Altavista. By the following year, Netscape, the company behind the Netscape Navigator web browser, had begun using popups to increase their brand awareness within their users.

In 1999, Google used a popup to promote its search engine and Czech software company NetBase used popups on their website in 2000. While other companies began using popups for advertising purposes in 2001 and 2002, it was not until 2003 that the concept would truly take off in America. The first major surge of popup ads coincided with the introduction of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5 as well as with a series of digital rights management controversies involving Apple's iTunes Music Store around that time. By 2004, eight out of ten advertisements on most major websites were popups.

While the popup may have been invented by Microsoft's Internet Explorer, most popups are seen as a way to promote third-party software and services. The majority of popup ads on the internet today are created by companies like DoubleClick and AdMob, which are the most commonly used advertising networks for social media ads in digital marketing. 

One of the earliest uses of popups occurred when Target Corporation implemented a pop-up ad to advertise for its new store format called "Toys" in 2001. Target's pop-up was implemented just before Debra Carroll got pregnant with her third child, and was meant to be humorous commentary on her life at that time.

The first popups to be banned from the internet occurred in January 2003, when Macromedia's Flash-based ads were blocked by Google's AdSense program. The ban resulted in a class action lawsuit against Google that was settled two years later. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that they were also considering implementing policies regarding popup advertisements at this time.

While countless popup advertisements have been created around the world since 2003, the most popular ones are known for their use of humor, sexuality or snarky profanities. These include those by JokePopup, eBaum's World , and a variety of spam messages from ScamStealers.com .

Popups are usually taken as a nuisance by most internet users, as they cover up the content a user was previously viewing and can often take several clicks to close. However, the most common method of closing popups is to simply click on the advertisement itself. This can present problems for advertisers because it means that even if their popup does not get clicked on, their ads still got exposure.  Because of this, advertisers must spend more money to make their popups more appealing than other options so they get views instead of getting ignored. 

There are also many types of technical countermeasures that have been created specifically for defeating popups.

Conclusion: Popup ads are a nuisance to most internet users because they can often take several clicks to close.

Popups must be replaced with more effective digital marketing and social media advertising, however, since popups have been around since the beginning of the internet.

Author: Katharine Trindle
A Brief History of the Pop Up Ad [ARTICLE END]
A CLEAR AND BROADER OVERVIEW OF POPUPS IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS CYCLES BY KATIE LUCZAK  (Lecture presented at SERC Summer Program 2015)  International finance is known for having cycles within cycles.

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