Pop-up Sites Punished By Google

pop upsGoogle recently announced plans to punish websites that utilize intrusive pop-up advertisements. To do this, the tech mogul plans to update its algorithms for ranking search results so that pages with pop ups are more likely to get lower placings in the ranks. According to Google, the revision of the algorithms should come into affect starting on the 10th of January.

While Google does make most of its profits from placing ads on the internet, experts have seen this decision as more strategic than altruistic. The company likely hopes that, by making ads more sparse, users are less likely to use ad-blockers or search within ad-blocking apps when they surf the web.

Google claimed in its blog that the change would be coming about in an attempt to simply make using its results a little less frustrating:

“Pages that show intrusive interstitials [elements that cover the content] provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” it explained. “This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller,” it added.

google dockAs for the precise processes that the Mountain View-based company hopes to discourage, Google gave three examples: pop-ups that cover part of the main content of the website when a user clicks on a page, intermediary webpages that have to be dismissed before the main content can be seen, and ads that fill a web browser’s screen so that a user is forced to scroll down “below the fold” before they can see the material they actually hoped to access.

Google also added that it would be making some exceptions to its anti-pop-up stance. Pop-ups that tell readers about a webpage’s use of cookies, for example, are still kosher. Another exception will be pop-ups that require log-in details before a visitor can transgress a paywall.

“Google is one of the largest advertising companies in the world, but it’s in a very different position to Facebook, Snapchat and other global media consumption apps,” explained Daniel Knapp, senior director of advertising research at the IHS consultancy. “Google is still very reliant on the desktop and mobile web to make money, and it’s much more difficult to clean up that experience than the native app environments,” he continued.

“That’s why it needs to tighten the screws on everyone with this crackdown.”

googPerhaps the real reason that Google needs to “tighten up the screws” is that people are wising up to the pop-up game, and without a more powerful advertising-combating browser the mogul’s seat on the search engine throne may be compromised. After all, people are making web browsers that promise to block all ads except those that users consent to seeing. Pop-up blocking browser additions are normal and suggested, and apps devoted to blocking apps on mobile devices are widely used.

If Google cannot itself provide a less obnoxious advertising environment, it will risk losing its users to the entities working hard at the cutting edge of the internet media-advertisement relationship.

Let’s hope this tech race remains one where the consumer wins.

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