AOL Allowing Users to Block Pop-Up Ads

Once derided for flurries of pop-up advertisements, America Online says it will soon offer its customers the ability to banish the litter of unsolicited windows that appear atop and underneath its Web pages. AOL Web Pop-Up Controls was to be available to customers Wednesday for download, and will appear in future versions of AOLs software, the company said. Users will be able to block outside ads, as well as those authored by AOL and the other media companies within AOL Time Warner, its corporate parent, said AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein.

"AOLs new Pop-Up Controls will allow our members to explore the Web without being trapped in pop-up purgatory," said David Gang, AOLs executive vice president for marketing. "We asked our members to tell us how we can continue to improve the AOL service, and this was near the top of their wish list." AOL trails Internet service provider EarthLink, which last year began offering its customers a free program called Pop-Up Blocker.

Pop-ups are like oil spills on the Internet ? they pollute without adding value, said Jakob Nielsen, an Internet usability expert with Nielsen Norman Group. "One the one hand, its good for AOL to offer a pop-up blocker," Nielsen said. "But on the other hand, thats like an oil tanker carrying a clean-up crew because the captain knows hes going to spill the cargo. Repairing the ship before leaving port would be the better choice."

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News source: Yahoo

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