It's happened to almost all of us at some point in our Web surfing experience -- you're visiting a new site when all of a sudden your screen begins to fill with boxes advertising goods and services from every corner of the Internet. Marketing firms claim that pop-up ads get more clicks than static advertising banners, though that could be due to user error rather than user intent. In other words, someone trying to close a pop-up ad might accidentally click on the ad link, giving the advertiser a false positive.
Some pop-up ads contain extensive animations or sound elements that can be distracting to surfers or even make it impossible to navigate through a Web page. Sometimes a user might prompt three more windows to open just as he manages to close the first one. Even worse, some pop-ups contain malicious code like spyware or computer viruses.
Enter the pop-up blocker. The earliest pop-up blockers appeared on the Internet scene in the mid '90s. The then-most popular blocker was PopUp Killer, created by Xavier Flix. Today, pop-up blockers come packaged in most Web browsers, and dozens of commercial and free programs also keep your browsing window clutter-free.
In this article, we'll look at what a pop-up blocker does, the different kinds of blockers you can use to reduce pop-ups and the potential issues you might encounter when you've activated a pop-up blocker.