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Pop Up Evolution

By Sam Smith
Posted Friday, August 13, 2004

Are pop ups doomed? Or just vitally challenged?

With more and more people getting pop up blocker software of some description, could it be that the common pop up is doomed to extinction?

In nature, when a species is challenged, through say - lack of prey, one of two things (often both) will happen:

1) Numbers of the species will deplete.

2) The species will get tougher through 'survival of the fittest' and evolve.

So we have a food chain:

The predator (the pop-up-killer) > The species (the pop up) > The prey (the visitor).

Not only is the predator getting stronger and roaring its metaphorical head, but the prey has learnt to avoid the common pop up.

They do this by anticipating when they will strike (as they visit a website), and then before they have a chance to load - closing the popup window.

So how does the common pop up stand a chance?

Well, the pop up is evolving, with new smarter breeds picking their time to strike and decieving some popup killer software into letting them pass. The pop up has also learnt from previous mistakes, and developed new methods to catch its unsuspecting prey:

Waiting for the prey to become occupied and less alert, so they wont instinctively close the pop up and prevent a catch. These popups strike when the visitor has made its initial check and thought itself safe, or they wait untill the page has fully loaded when the visitor is engaged in the content. Some even hide in the shadows and spring as the visitor leaves the page.

Though even the 'leaving the page' trick has been noticed by both the prey and the predator - and a lot of these attacks are now stopped.

SO - what does the future hold for the common pop up? I think that the old species will all but die out, being replaced in fewer numbers by far more sophisticated scripts.

If you use pop ups on your site, you really need to make sure your using a decent script. Visitors get more annoyed by a box popping up and not getting chance to load while the page is loading, than they do from a pop up appearing after the page has loaded - when they will take it in before dismissing it.

Also don't show the same pop up every time, randomise it or put it on a rotation so that it shows a different product each time and touches a wider audience.

Stay tuned for the followup to this article, which will be a practical guide to the lost art of popup marketting.


Sam Smith is a specialist in Pop Up Marketting, and has created an online tool for marketters to create much more sophisticated Pop Ups. The new breed of pop ups strike at cunning times, and can even decieve some Pop Up killers.

( - Don't let primitive Pop Ups cost you money!

Keywords: popup,pop up,javascript,webmaster,webmaster tools

About the Author
Sam Smith, NA
Sam Smith is a freelance writer, and founder of - A tool for making VERY sophisticated timed / randomised Pop Ups/Unders. Sam Smith is also looking for freelance work (


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