Google Says No To Pop-ups

By: Andrew Gordon

(Adweek Magazines’ Technology Marketing) Google is taking a firm stand against pop-up ads, letting its users know that if they encounter pop-up ads, it’s not the Mountain View, Calif. company’s fault.

In response to numerous inquiries about pop-up ads, Google has a link on its main page that asserts “Google does not display pop-up advertising. Here’s why.” By clicking on the link, users find three reasons why they might be encountering pop-up ads: squatters who have URLs similar to Google.com in hopes that users will accidentally type in a wrong address; pop-under ads from other sites that are still hiding under the window when users arrive at Google; and users might be using file-sharing software that includes other software enabling pop-up ads to appear.

“We’re not saying all pop-ups are bad,” says Google software engineer Matt Cutts. “If someone wants pop-ups on their site, that’s their business. But we want our users to know that if you see a pop-up on Google, it’s not from us.”

Cutts says Google was hearing from users who said they would see pop-ups when they did searches for topics such as credit cards or long-distance phone service. And for every person who writes in, there are probably a hundred who don’t, says Cutts. “It’s a pretty consistent complaint. So we just wanted to address it in a way that’s proactive, and let people know that we are not responsible.”

Google’s page explaining why users might see pop-ups also tells users that if they feel deceived when downloading file-sharing software that also allows pop-ups, they can contact the Federal Trade Commission. Google offers a link to the FTC’s Web site, along with the FTC’s phone number and address.

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