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Pop-up ad man: SORRY we made such a 'hated tool', netizens

Brands bummed out by SEXY FUNTIMES

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It's been said before that if all porn was removed from the internet, only one website would remain: with the url wherehasalltheporngone.com.

But while smut may be at the pulsating heart of the online world, corporate advertisers have for a long time tried their best to ignore the boobies to help protect the brands of their sensitive clients.

In the nascent days of the world wide web, Ethan Zuckerman was beavering away at web-hosting outfit Tripod.com trying to work out how to make money for the company.

Eventually it became clear that advertising was the obvious way to build revenue.

In a confessional in The Atlantic, Zuckerman admitted:

Along the way, we ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: the pop-up ad. It was a way to associate an ad with a user’s page without putting it directly on the page, which advertisers worried would imply an association between their brand and the page’s content.

Specifically, we came up with it when a major car company freaked out that they’d bought a banner ad on a page that celebrated anal sex. I wrote the code to launch the window and run an ad in it. I’m sorry. Our intentions were good.

Zuckerman later added in his essay that advertising was "the original sin of the web" and said it was "hard to imagine" that online ads would exist "without surveillance" such as the ID-slurping profiles favoured by Facebook and Google.

He concluded by opining that the current model was "bad, broken and corrosive". ®

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