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Pop-up ads show on webpages using a variety of technologies and may obscure the link that turns it off. There are a few immediate things to look for.

When I try reading a movie review on Yahoo, an ad for Entertainment Weekly pops up completely covering the review. There's no way to "x" out of the ad. I have to close the page and then re-open it. Isn't there supposed to be a place on the ad that you can cancel it out? I have Windows 7, IE 8. Thanks for any info you can give me.

In this excerpt from Answercast #38, I look at an aggressive pop-up ad that doesn't seem to have a place to turn it off.

Popup ads

There's supposed to be – but there doesn't have to be.

  • There's certainly no requirement that an advertisement has a way to dismiss it sooner.

Typically, ads like those (which are often called interstitial ads – ads that appear between the time you click on something and the time that the something that you asked for is presented) have a timer and will display only for a certain amount of time. Most of them do have a way of dismissing the ad early.

Aggressive advertisers

Many of the advertisers have taken to making those options less obvious. It may very well be there. It just may be hidden or it may be in a non-obvious place.

The places to look are:

  • The traditional upper right-hand corner of the advertisement.

  • You could look for an "X".

  • You could look for a "Skip ad" text (that's something else that I see from time-to-time).

  • You may see something that is a very light "x"; in other words, you might be expecting a big black "x" or the small black "x" that you normally see in the upper right of windows.

  • In many cases, the actual "x" to close the ad will be very faint; very not obvious.

Clearly, the advertiser is hoping that you won't see it and you won't get the idea to close the ad.

  • Another place I've seen dismissal buttons or dismissal text is at the bottom of the ad.

  • In some cases, I could see this actually appearing off the bottom of the ad below your screen.

So you might want to consider scrolling up a little bit while the ad is displayed and seeing if there is not a "Skip this ad" or "Click this to view your article" (or whatever) link at the bottom.

Pop-up blockers

Ultimately, advertising technologies have progressed to the point where many pop-up blockers cannot block all possible ads.

Certainly, make sure that your pop-up blocker is turned on in your browser. Most are. It's usually on by default. But in those cases where the browser cannot actually block the pop-up, you might be stuck.

It would be worth understanding if the ad goes away by itself after awhile. Like I said, most of them do. But then again, most of them have a way to dismiss them immediately.

Article C5623 - July 25, 2012 « »

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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?

Ted Cooper
July 27, 2012 10:31 AM

Reload/refresh page works for me.

July 27, 2012 5:45 PM

I see this now and again and it I get PO'd, big time. ARRRGH!!
I refuse to consider buying whatever the ad is promoting, absolutly. I try to contact these... bums and tell them that I despise this and I hope other people do. too.

A Richter
July 27, 2012 11:13 PM

There is one remedy: Stop using the pages with offending behavior. Movie reviews belong to widely available, free commodities, and there is any number of sources. Yahoo offers nothing special in this instance; if it did, it would charge for the service.

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