NEW YORK -- America Online said Tuesday that it will no longer accept third-party pop-up advertising or merchandise sales on its flagship AOL service. The Dulles, Va.-based AOL Time Warner Internet unit also said that it will make it easier for consumers to find and change their marketing preferences, and opt-outs will no longer expire on an annual basis.
"By ending third-party pop-ups and merchandise sales we are giving our members what they want, which in turn will make AOL an even better vehicle for our advertising partners," said AOL chairman and CEO Jon Miller.
The new policy will take effect as the company works through its inventory of ads and merchandise promotions it is already committed to run. AOL said it will continue to use pop-ups on a limited basis to notify customers about key features on the service and special offers from AOL Time Warner.
AOL is not the first Web property to ban pop-ups. This past summer, iVillage announced plans to eliminate pop-up ads from its sites, including iVillage.com and Women.com [IQ Daily Brief, Aug. 2]. The New York-based online women's network made the decision after a survey revealed that 92.5 percent of visitors to iVillage found pop-up advertising to be the most frustrating feature of the Web. The study also indicated that while pop-ups can generate high brand awareness, it is not always in a positive way.