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Web Sites Adopt Instrusive Ads

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Succumbing to economic pressures, Web sites are increasingly employing intrusive tactics, such as pop-up ads, to derive revenue from advertisers and capture consumer attention, a new study finds. According to a report from Arlington, Va.-based Cyveillance, more than 30 percent of top sites in the U.S. use pop-ups, or ads that automatically launch in separate browser windows when a user enters or exits a site. Pioneered by the online pornography industry, pop-up ads are becoming more mainstream as the "economic downturn drives companies to seek revenue by all available means," said Panos Anastassiadis, president and CEO of Cyveillance. Some advertisers that have used the technology include eBay.com, Real.com Networks and X10.com, a consumer electronics e-tailer that launched an aggressive pop-up campaign this summer.

The study also indicates that more than five percent of sites on the Internet adopt "mouse-trapping" tactics, which disable the user's ability to go back, exit or close while viewing a Web page. To increase ad revenue though higher visit time statistics, sites also use "framing" to keep visitors on the original site while viewing the content of another through the original site's window.

While intrusive ads may attract advertisers looking for in-your-face alternatives to static Web advertising, a growing number of consumers are disturbed by the disruptive tactics. "There is undoubtedly a growing level of consumer frustration online that poses a threat to global brands," said Brian Murray, senior director of client services at Cyveillance.