Browsers Beware: Ad Technology Retools Toolbar

Newfangled browsers that radically change the face of toolbars soon will pop up all over the Web, thanks to the latest in online ad technology aimed at capturing surfers' attention.

Ooqa Ooqa, a creation of United Virtualities, will be launched "soon," company officials said, without specifying a launch date. And the new ad form is unlikely to get unanimous approval of Web surfers, some of whom have had it with pop-up and pop-under ads for everything from pitches for financial publications to Web casinos.

A demo of the new technology examined by Newsbytes showed a standard, battleship-gray toolbar give way to a version displaying the client company's logo in the background. Toolbar mainstays such as "Edit," become sponsored links.

Surfers who encounter Ooqa Ooqa have options, starting with the power to go back to their usual browser with a simple command, said Michelle Ross, strategic alliance director of New York-based United Virtualities.

"You can opt out for the session, or you can opt out and never see Ooqa Ooqa ever again," Ross told Newsbytes. "So we give the user the ability to choose if they want to see this type of branding." A user who initially opts in can opt out later, and is able to do away with some functions while retaining others, the company said.

Ooqa Ooqa, like Shoshkeles, is far more effective for the advertiser and less annoying than the much-maligned pop-up and pop-under ads, the company says. And the browsers can be made into shapes other than square, the company said, hinting that a cloud-shaped version is in the works.

But United Virtualities, noting that pop-up ads must be closed every time they open, says Ooqa Ooqa's opt-out-forever feature requires action just once.

The company, though, believes that users will want the advantages offered by a customizable browser. It beats the "uniformity" of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape browsers, a company executive said. "Your browser becomes contextually active to your browsing," the executive said. "You choose what to see, you choose how to see it, you choose when to see it. This is a totally opt-in environment."

News source: Newsbytes

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