I Am a Thief…

- - posted in Ancient Archives

Or so these people claim, because I set my web browser to block those infuriating pop-up advert windows that ruin so many websites. The Anti-Thief software bars browsers that won’t open pop-up windows.

Well, hard luck Anti-Leach. I’m continuing to refuse pop-ups. I can think of a quite easy way for the Mozilla coders to get around this, and I expect it soon. People using other browsers will see your adverts, and the clued-up users will avoid the adverts. As most of these adverts only work on the gullible and ignorant, you won’t be losing any sales.

My two top pop-up irritations are:

1) The “Warning! Your computer is broadcasting its address” adverts, which use ignorance and fear to sell firewall software. The advert is disguised as a Windows warning message. It makes misleading claims - computers do not “broadcast” their IP address across the Internet, and they lie - my computer is not “insecure”, certainly when compared with their software. Lancaster University has a good page on this scam.

2) The plague of X10 adverts which somehow use sex to sell home automation gadgets. I think they exploit a nerd fantasy in which nubile young women are crazy about men with automatic curtain closing machines and infrared door locks. As far as I know, this isn’t true. I bet their cameras sell well to peeping-toms…

This claim that ignoring an advert is theft is not new. A US media spokesman recently implied that when TV viewers wait for the adverts to start before making tea or going to the toilet, they are stealing. And fast forwarding past the adverts on a tape or using a PVR, well.

Is this trend a sign that the advertising-funded income model is collapsing, or just that media companies are longer tolerating consumer dissent? Both, I suspect. More media-consumer crimes.