> The War of the Internet
The War of the Internet
by Reed Divertie
The Internet has proven to be the most impressive commercial breakthrough since television. The difference between television and the Internet is that the buyer can choose what is on the screen. People can see everything, from the weather to who won the football game last night. The Internet's presence has augmented drastically, so much so that a majority of middle to higher income households own a computer or computers. Because there is such a large audience on the Internet, many companies are jumping at this opportunity to advertise online. Every website is trying to get money any way they can from people. There are basically three ways to make a profit from the internet. First, commercial sites create a system where you can buy their products at your home. Secondly, some websites require people to pay a monthly fee to access their webpage. The third advertising tool has begun a so called "Battle of the Internet." This battle is over who will control the time of the user: the user or the Internet. The weapon, which the internet has been programmed to utilize against the individual, is called pop-up advertisements. For the user to win the war, he or she must know what a pop-up is, where the pop-ups come from, and how to prevent the occurrence of pop-up advertisements.
Pop-ups are extra windows advertising different products that come up with the desired page. The windows vary in size, shape, irritation, and advertisement. Some ads just pop up in a small window while others can fill up the whole screen. Pop-ups can also have animation with bright flashing icons and pictures. Some pop-ups cause the user to lose control of the browser. The consumer cannot move back or forward, making him or her close the window and start over again. Other pop-ups when closed will open many other pop-up windows and sometimes cause the computer to lock up. There are programmers today that come up with new twists including pop-ups that can install programs into computer. The programs can create viruses on the computer or cause the computer to become a pop-up distributor. One other type of pop-up is a pop-under. A pop-under opens behind the original window making the window unseen until the user has closed the original window. The point of these sneaky, offensive, and invading advertisements are to frustrate the user causing him or her to read and click on the ads.
Pop-ups are created by a variety of different product companies or websites. Some examples of pop-up ads include: credit cards, electronics, porn sites, Dell computers, casinos, and mortgage finders. These advertisers have spent 11.3 billion dollars the first half of 2002 on pop-up ads alone. These ads open with more pop-ups and send the screen through a mess of windows finally dropping the individual onto a page that asks for a credit card number. Looking at the number of people that click on the pop-up ads, a statistic says only five to six percent actually click on the pop-up. Advertisers say rating the "click through" rate is false and should not represent the actual degree of success of pop-ups. Debra Brown, a CEO of United Virtualities, states pop-ups should be judged based more on their branding effect instead of "click through" rate.
Advertisers have decided that a pop-up is a new form of commercial; however commercials are nothing like pop-ups and should not be related. Commercials on the television can be turned off, muted, or just ignored. Pop-ups come up randomly when trying to see a website, making the user have no control over seeing or not seeing them. Commercials do not trick the consumer into buying the product; a commercial merely gives the person a chance to see the product. Pop-ups try to sneak behind the individual's mouse, making him or her click on it and asking for a credit card. When the television was invented, commercials were a large debate. The advertisers won the war against the consumer; on the other hand, this war is in favor of the user.
The personal computer revolution has offered many options that allow the user to avoid or prevent pop-up advertisements. The best way to avoid pop-ups is to go to websites that have promised never to utilize pop-ups. But most users do not want to be limited to a few websites. These users download a so called "pop-up stopper." A pop-up stopper is a program downloaded from the Internet to automatically close pop-up windows. A few sites where you can find these free programs are: www.buypin.com/akiller.php and www.adkiller.com. Unfortunately, these programs work for only a few pop-ups; if the user is adamant about a pop-up stopper, he or she must update it every few days.
A user on the Internet can defeat pop-ups completely only if he or she can start speaking out against pop-ups. These advertisements should be outlawed because the consumer has no control over his or her own person computer. Consumers must band together to force the advertisers not to use pop-ups. Such a band would give consumers the strength to win the battle against advertisements finally having control over his or her computer, time, and pleasure.
Goldsborough, Reid. "Black Issues in Higher Education." The Battle of the Banner Ads 18.6 (2001): 38.
Jenett, Joe. "A Stand Against Pop-under ads." 1 Sep. 2001. 18 Sep. 2002
Martin, David & Ryan, Marc. "Pop-ups Abound, But Most Advertisers Remain Inline." 2002
Olsen, Stefanie. "Online ads get in your face." 13 July 2001. 18 Sep. 2002
About the AuthorI am Reed Divertie. I wrote this paper for my College Writing course at Elon University in North Carolina. I am strongly against pop-ups and like most teens use my computer everyday. I have a website at and am a freshman who wants to be a film major.
Copyright 2002 © Reed Divertie