Blocking Pop-ups and Spyware

Stephen P. Morse, San Francisco

If you have pop-up blockers or spyware blockers enabled, they might interfere with some of the valid functions of this website. The people who have written them have gotten overzealous and are often throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  As a result, they have broken many legitimate sites.  One of the biggest offenders is the Norton Internet Security package.  Click the following button for a demonstration.

Pop-ups on the web were a serious problem a while back when many sites were using them for ads. This got so out of hand (ads popping up all over the place) that it created a market for pop-up blockers. It also gave such a bad name to the sites that used pop-up ads that they had to stop doing so. As a result, there are relatively few sites that still use pop-up ads and the need for pop-up blockers has been diminished.

Spyware is another issue. You can't get spyware (code that executes on your computer and spies on your activities) by merely surfing the web. Instead you need to make a conscious decision to download some software onto your hard drive and execute it. The answer here is to never download software from any site you don't know and trust. Spyware was becoming so rampant that it created a market for products that block spyware. Unfortunately some of the people writing these blockers have gone too far; rather than just blocking spyware programs executing on your machine, they decided to also block links on webpages that go to any site they don't like.  By doing so, they are preventing many legitimate sites from functioning.  Spybot is a major offender.  To see if you have an overly-aggressive spyware blocker that will interfere with my website, click the following button.

I don't have any pop-up ads on any of my webpages nor do I do any spying on your activities, but I have no way of offering you any proof of that.  So if you don't trust me, then feel free not to use my site.  I promise I won't be offended.

Stephen P. Morse, 2004