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Pop-up blockers are designed to catch new pages from popping up off a website, but sometimes, they might not be able to grab ad features that are a part of the website itself.

Leo, I'm having a problem with these banners (or whatever they are) that some web pages now have popping up under the tabs or above the task bar in my browser to diminish the viewing area of the screen. Some are like ads and others are promoting social media like Facebook and Twitter. I guess they are not considered pop-ups because I have a pop-up blocker, but do you know of any way of getting rid of them and preventing them from appearing?

In this excerpt from Answercast #13, I talk about social media buttons and other page design elements that cannot be removed from web pages; and what you might do about it.

Stopping the pop-ups

It really depends on what they are.

My guess is that they really are not pop-ups as you say, but rather parts of the web page itself that are designed to look like bars or toolbars or pop-up things at the bottom.

I know that I had one on Ask Leo! for a while promoting my newsletter. I got a few complaints about it because it did, indeed, steal some real estate from the bottom of the screen. There is no way to block those that I'm aware of.

Page design elements

The problem is that they are simply parts of the web page that you're viewing. Which means that they're not using any kind of pop-up technique. They are simply doing the same thing that the rest of the content is doing - except they're doing it in a way that looks like a pop-up or a toolbar.

Browser settings

Now, I say, "It depends," because not all pop-up blockers will block all pop-ups. That's something that can vary a little bit from blocker to blocker, so you might try using a different browser.

The browsers each have their own pop-up blockers built in. That's a good opportunity for you to see if one behaves better than the other.

But in all honesty, I see them too. Good examples, like you've pointed out, are the social media buttons that happen to be across the bottom of many websites.

Google toolbar

Another really classic example right now is the black toolbar that Google puts across the top of all its web pages. Those aren't toolbars; those are just things that look like toolbars at the top of the page.

I don't know of anything you can do about them other than living with them or deciding not to use that particular or page or service because it's too annoying.

Article C5265 - April 29, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Paul Gray
April 29, 2012 2:42 PM

There are some Chrome extensions you can purchase that will block or white out almost any ad that comes on the website. One will even paste kittens in place of the ad if you wish. There is still a lot of white real estate visible, but no jumping or flashing or the other distractions that used to appear. (And 'ctrl +' can always increase the readable portion of the screen anywho.)

Eric Brightwell
May 4, 2012 9:42 AM

I do sympathise with the problem, but there are two sides to this. On many occasions the advert is actually paying for the content which you are receiving free of charge. Someone has to pay for it otherwise the author may stop providing his service. This is similar to the voluntary contributions to freeware authors.

What we want therefore is a way to stop these things appearing in our browser, but for them to continue appearing in most other user's browsers, so that the advertisers still feel that they are getting value for money. As a result the way to stop them cannot be too easy.

Clearly I cannot publish the complete answer – you will have to work that out for yourself. However, if you try FlashPeak's Slimbrowser you will begin to get the idea. Start by blocking all the moving ones, and then pick off the other types that annoy you the most.

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