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Mozilla The Internet

Firefox Improves Pop-Up Ad Blocking 464

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-makes-me-sad-that-this-is-necessary dept.
BlakeCaldwell writes "The popular open-source browser already contains a pop-up blocker by default, but this does not handle pop-ups launched by plug-ins such as Flash and Java. Mozilla employee Asa Dotzler wrote in his blog last week that Mozilla developers are responding to the increasing number of advertisers that are using plug-ins to launch pop-up ads."
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Firefox Improves Pop-Up Ad Blocking

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  • by tquinlan (868483) <tom@thomasquinUMLAUTlan.com minus punct> on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:54AM (#12143173) Homepage
    ...and it seems to work very well so far. The sites I've noted that managed to get a popup through even with the normal popup blocker can no longer get them open.

  • by hey (83763) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:56AM (#12143183) Journal
    How soon til the pop-up ad companies find a way around this new blocked and Mozilla has to respond again, ...
    • by TheRealFixer (552803) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:58AM (#12143217)
      At least, thankfully, Mozilla DOES respond. How many years did it take for IE to finally even get pop-up blocking?
      • yes, that's the beauty of OSS. no need to wait till point releases for things that require immediate attention *cough*...IE...*cough* safari... *cough*
        • by Anonymous Coward
          yes, that's the beauty of OSS. no need to wait till point releases for things that require immediate attention *cough*...IE...*cough* safari... *cough*

          Bad example.

          Safari's pop-up blocking addressed the pop-under issue weeks before Firefox. It's been ad-free for quite some time now.
      • ummm.. (Score:3, Funny)

        by ImaLamer (260199)
        I wouldn't know. Did IE update with Service Pack 2?

        I've been too busy using Firefox.
      • by happymedium (861907) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:55AM (#12143765)
        Absolutely correct... and IE could have had a popup blocker all along; it's not like it would be hard for MS to code. So why didn't they? Probably because they believed in the ridiculous philosophy that intrusive popups are a legitimate source of ad revenue. It was, or should have been obvious to them what their consumers wanted, but MS being a business (unlike the Mozilla Foundation), put business interests first. This is the same reason that Windows Media Player is loaded with DRM. MS only caved on the popup blocking issue because FF, which included blocking by default, started gaining market share as IE's reputation tanked. Self-interest alone drives IE's development, whereas FOSS developers tend to actually care about the people who use their programs.
        • by blackbear (587044) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @11:55AM (#12144317)
          ...but MS being a business (unlike the Mozilla Foundation), put business interests first.

          There's nothing wrong with putting business interests first, as long as customers have the option to go elsewhere.

          It's only when you can't "vote with your feet" to punish a company for stupid decisions that really serious problems arise.

          This is the essense of the problem with MS. Not that they are a business, but that they have a monopoly. And the goodness of The Mozilla Foundation is not that they are non-profit, but that they are trying to offer a viable alternative to one part of the monopoly.

        • by HomerJayS (721692) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @12:23PM (#12144570)
          Or maybe, just maybe, there were already dozens of popup blockers written by 3rd parties available for IE for years.

          I use IE exclusively and haven't seen a pop-up ad (flash or otherwise) for over 3 years.
        • IE could have had a popup blocker all along; it's not like it would be hard for MS to code. So why didn't they? Probably because they believed in the ridiculous philosophy that intrusive popups are a legitimate source of ad revenue.

          Sometimes I just wonder if it's more likely that Microsoft is just paranoid about being seen to stomp on others' business interests. Ad revenue for some businesses aside providing a decent popup blocker would almost certainly have driven at least several other companies

    • by happymedium (861907) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:08AM (#12143323)
      Advertisers may not be that worried about Firefox in particular. Remember that it still only has 5% market share or so against the IE monolith, thus a smart advertiser would spend more resources exploiting IE. When Firefox becomes more popular, that's when we really have to start worrying.

      However, couldn't there be a definitive end to this battle in which one browser essentially stops popup windows completely? There are only so many ways to load the damn things, after all. I thought (correct me if I'm wrong) that popups have gotten more press in the last month or so because more people started using Flash to open them. That quickly got blocked by a FF extension. The recent renewal of interest in the issue doesn't necessarily mean that popups are impossible to get rid of.
    • by Makzu (868112)
      Well, I for one welcome our new popup blocking overlords.

      Seriously, though, I think it's great that they're working on this stuff and making the Internet that much less annoying. Every time the Mozilla team makes the blocker stronger, it makes it harder for the advertisers to get around it. I believe that eventually, we'll reach a point to where it won't be possible to get around the filter without explicit permission from the user. That would be very nice.
    • How long did it take them to respond the first time? We've had pop-up blocking for quite a while, you know.
    • This "new" system is a generic method to block all pop-ups by any plugin. (I say "new" because the basic method seems to be available since 1.0 [mozillazine.org].) It seems to be implemented at a lower level in the code.

      Unless someone has found an entirely different method that uses neither client-side scripts nor plugins, I would say this system should be safe for a while at least. And as far as I can see, that takes care of almost anything around today. I couldn't find any specifics in TFA though. I wish there were a few
  • It doesn't work (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:57AM (#12143202)
    Don't want to spoil everyones fun but you should read the comments posted below before you install it.

    In short, it doesn't work particulary well. However, adot has responded and says that those issues will be worked on.

    Having suffered one of those "new generation" of pop ups only about 10 minutes ago, I look forward to seeing this functionality when it's in a more finished state.

    • Re:It doesn't work (Score:5, Informative)

      by ahsile (187881) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:01AM (#12143246) Homepage Journal
      The most annoying popups I have seen lately are making use of document.layers and not plugins like flash. Most of the time they're the ones that popup ads when you run your mouse cursor over a word. Pain in the ass, those are.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:33AM (#12143560)
        Use the adblock extension, and add a filter to block the intellitext server address. Blocks that garbage everytime for me.

        I'm shocked that so many people use Firefox, but not the Adblock extension. That's the first extension everyone on Earth should install, hell it should be integrated into Firefox!

      • Re:It doesn't work (Score:3, Informative)

        by asa (33102)
        Yes, those are a pain in the ass, but they're not pop-ups. Pop-ups are not modal to the parent window and so they make a mess (visually and in terms of usability) of your desktop. These "floaters" are modal to their content - they're attached to the site that's using them - a part of that site's content in the browser window. While I agree that they suck, they are not nearly the pain that real pop-ups were.

        - A
  • by Moby Cock (771358) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:57AM (#12143206) Homepage
    This is why I like to use FF. The rate of change from the devs is so much faster than most other browsers. (Opera may be better, I don't know, I never use it, I don't like the ads) Pop-ups are starting to bother FF users, so the Mozilla guys start to sort it out. Well done guys, and thanks.
  • For the impatient (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:58AM (#12143211)
  • Not really an update (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:58AM (#12143212)
    This isn't really an update to the popup blocking code in Firefox, it makes the default preferences a little more aggressive.

    In fact, it blocks all popups so that you have to manually whitelist the sites that use legitimate popups.
  • by Minute Work (749085) <ipirate@NosPAM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:58AM (#12143218)
    Fight plugins with plugins.
    For the 3 people who aren't aware of the Flashblocker extension yet.
    https://addons.update.mozilla.org/extensions/morei nfo.php?application=firefox&version=1.0&os=Windows &category=Web%20Annoyances&numpg=10&id=433 [mozilla.org]
  • by Pants75 (708191) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:58AM (#12143220)
    The comments on that blog URL are pretty unanimous in that they say the patch causes FF to block pretty much all pop-ups, even ones you want to occur.

    Might not be the ideal solution who use alot of web applications rather than just surfing.

  • by alatesystems (51331) <chrisNO@SPAMtalkingtoad.com> on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#12143236) Homepage Journal
    Here's a test popup/popunder link for Firefox [chrisbenard.net] using flash.
  • by jamesjw (213986) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#12143237) Homepage

    This is one of the reasons I chose Firefox, its stable, has tabbed browsing and keeps evolving..

    The POP Up blocker is already pretty good, so much so that is scares the pants off me just how much crap I miss out on evertime i go to an old Windows box with IE 5 or 6 Vanilla installed.

    Kudos to the Firefox developers and the community, developing a cross platform browser that was born to rock :)

    -- Jim
  • by rueger (210566) * on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#12143238) Homepage
    Ah, just yesterday I was getting annoyed because I had seen three or four pop-under ads in less than a week.

    Then I borrowed a friends machine with Internet Explorer. Wow! I had no idea how much crap Firefox was blocking!

    How do people live with all of this garbage?
  • by SuperficialRhyme (731757) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:00AM (#12143244) Homepage
    I use adblock and don't see popups. Can someone give an example site where someone is getting around the popup blocking? It may be that I don't visit such sites, or it might be that I've configured adblock in such a way that the popups get blocked by that. In any case, I'd like to test this.

    Can anyone provide a link?

    Thanks!
  • by medication (91890) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:01AM (#12143249) Journal
    Here's a direct link to the extension [mozilla.org].
    I'm waiting for the patch/extension that allows me to turn off flash banners like I can turn off images.
  • You could fix this (Score:5, Informative)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:02AM (#12143268) Homepage
    You could fix this a long time ago by going to about:config, and changing the value of privacy.popups.disable_from_plugins to "2". I started using this since I've heard of it, and it haven't seen a popup since. I think it's nice that they've enabled this by default, or made it more accessible. They should make more of the settings in about:config accessible in an easier way.
  • by quirk3k (124956) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:03AM (#12143284) Homepage
    I think one of the unsong advantages of Open Source is it responds to user wants, even when those wants conflit with business wants. Cookie management, image and pop-up blocking, and other privacy protections would never have been initiated by M$.

    Just my $.02.
  • I'm not RTFA, but it's this bug

    https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=94035 [mozilla.org]

    (Bugzilla dislikes /., just copy the URL in the URL bar of your browser and go)

    It's opened in 2001 and not fixed as of now. There are those who argue that a fix is implemented as an extension, which I don't agree to.
  • Pop-ups. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pants75 (708191) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:04AM (#12143292)
    I use IE exclusivly. *Please don't hit me*

    But I have hardly any trouble with popups.

    Maybe I don't go to the sort of sites that use them? Maybe I've just filtered those sites out of my brain?

    I don't know but the only sites I see popups on are Sciam.com and NewScientist.com

    Others might do it but I never notice.

    However, I do get pissed off with those floating flash ads which hover over the body of the page. Those are f*cking everywhere these days.

    If FF blocks those reliably then I'd be tempted to swap.

    Pete

  • Other methods (Score:5, Informative)

    by whitehatlurker (867714) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:07AM (#12143316) Journal
    While I have been using the Opera popup blocker for some time, I find that it's {easier / better / more portable / other reason here} to use a filtering proxy (e.g. proxomitron [proxomitron.info] or similar [privoxy.org]).

    They are one stop shopping for blocking the junk that clutters the web.

  • How about. . . (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938)
    not having Flash installed or Java enabled? How hard is that?

    I'm always amazed at people who write in the Mozilla forums about the popups they are getting when using FF and my first question has always been: do you have Flash installed?

    99.9% of the time the answer is yes.

    Not sure why people think they need to have Flash installed since it's nothing but a resoure hog and rarely provides any extra benefit. As a poster the other day said, if I see the missing puzzle piece when I go to a site that means th
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:15AM (#12143410)
      Ah, a bigot. I love bigots. I used to see people who were bigoted about race, or even religion, but now I'm seeing more and more technology bigots. They're no better.
    • Re:How about. . . (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jaxim (858185)
      How can you NOT have flash installed. There are many legit sites that include flash. It provides much more functionality than straight HTML pages. You can include Video and sound. You're not restricted to the page placement limitations of HTML pages. You can create full functional applications with Flash where you cannot do the same with HTML.

      If you're not installing flash because a few bad apples cause popup ads to appear, then you're totally missing out what Today's Net can do.

      Say hello to the 1990's
      • Re:How about. . . (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jdavidb (449077)

        How can you NOT have flash installed. There are many legit sites that include flash.

        There is one site I would desperately like to get more out of, but Flash hinders that. I expect them to wise up in time.

        It provides much more functionality than straight HTML pages.

        But nothing I want.

        You can include Video and sound.

        I don't want it. If I want video or sound, I want it as a downloadable media file.

        You're not restricted to the page placement limitations of HTML pages.

        I don't want that in

    • Re:How about. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CoffeeJedi (90936) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:49AM (#12143703)
      Not sure why people think they need to have Flash installed since it's nothing but a resoure hog and rarely provides any extra benefit. As a poster the other day said, if I see the missing puzzle piece when I go to a site that means the site is using Flash and isn't a site I want to visit.

      simple, there's really one very good reason to have Flash installed:
      Strong Bad [homestarrunner.com]

      I just can't go on without my weekly fix of email snarkiness!
    • Insightful? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SFA_AOK (752620) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:52AM (#12143741)
      I can understand that not everybody wants Flash and Java functionality when browsing the web. I hate sites that are all flash.

      But it's not like the technologies can only be used for obnoxious means. Hooray for the flash game that'll kill 10 minutes here and there!

      Not to mention that if FF wants to be taken seriously by the mainstream it needs to have the options that give it an edge (in this case, pop-up blocking) but support those technologies an average end-user expects from the web (rightly or wrongly!). Sitting their going "It's a third party issue!" is so much more damaging to the growth of FireFox than actually implementing a fix to work around that behaviour.

  • by CleverNickedName (644160) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:13AM (#12143386) Journal
    I hate ads as much as anyone, but don't they pretty much fund most sites?

    If the advertising companies ever cop on to the fact that many/most people never even see their ads, won't they drop them and leave unfunded?
    • by NetNifty (796376) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:26AM (#12143511) Homepage
      Ads fund most sites, but all ads aren't pop ups. If Firefox was to include adblock as default with a large configuration file for it I'd probably agree with you (to a certain extent anyway), but this just blocks pop-ups which are among the most annoying ads on web sites (only more annoying I can think of is the ones which make noises and don't have a mute button).
  • Proxomitron (Score:5, Informative)

    by sytxr (704471) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:14AM (#12143397)
    A very useful windows freeware(non-OSS) that acts as a local proxy server with custom filters to rewrite web sites on the fly on their way to the browser. All Filters are written in a reasonably potent filtering language and new ones can be written and added.

    Possibilities include:
    - some popup blocking
    - convert within-frame links to normal ones
    - convert embedded flash animations or other plugins to clickable links
    - modify header information (referrer, browser name,version , caching meta tags)

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=proxomitron&b tnG=Google+Search [google.com]
  • It does block popups but it prevents me from manually override the block. It shows the URL in the popup blocker bar but when I click on it it still doesn't allow it to work.

    Anyone else have it work like this? Guess I need to search bugzilla for this...
  • I had to deinstall it just after installation :(
  • by bbtom (581232) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:19AM (#12143450) Homepage Journal
    PrefBar [mozdev.org] lets you change your settings. I use it to filter out most flash, animations, JS and Java - then tick them when I need them. Combine that with Flashblock and Adblock and you've got a useful browser.
  • OK. So I have been seeing more popups in FF recently and I thought this might be cool.
    I installed the extension (http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/n i ghtly/experimental/popupsdie/popupsdie.xpi [mozilla.org]), restarted, but using the Flash plugin test at http://chrisbenard.net/slashdot/ffpop.html [chrisbenard.net] I still get the popunder.
    Am I missing something?
  • Not that having the Mozilla guys address the "next generation" pop-up problems for the masses wouldn't be a bad thing, but ...

    Isn't the whole problem with popups (as with so many other annoying or outright malicious software) caused from a lack of diversity or genetic stock?

    Nature teaches organisms this lesson often; do we all stampede toward the same vaccination which will eventually fail, or quietly, subtly change our composition to present more diverse ranks which are more difficult to break?

  • Include Ablock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hass (869418) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:55AM (#12143773)
    When is Firefox going to have Adblock built in? I see it as an essential extension, but most people won't go out of their way to download extra extensions. It would not come with a preloaded Adblock list so most people would just block ads as they see them. Can anyone tell me why they don't do this? Seems to me this would greatly increase Firefox's popularity.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @11:49AM (#12144241) Homepage Journal
    Put in a user-checkbox to:
    1) disallow layering, or force items in different layers to be drawn at the bottom of the page, much like a word processor document page 2 is drawn below word processor document page 1 (this may be needed to preserve navigation items that are in the non-default layer).
    2) disallow plugins from using screen space not reserved for them

    The combination of the two will send a message to web design companies "don't even try this unless you want your web page to look bizzare on some customers' machines."

    Granted, this could interfere with "good" things like menus that "floated" at the top of the page and other related items, but per-site and per-page exceptions will take care of this problem.

    "Best viewed in any browser" is the idea web page for "general public" web sites anyways.

    Too bad this is in the "easier said than done" category, but I hope someone or some group is up to the challenge.
  • some issues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unk1911 (250141) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @01:51PM (#12145461) Homepage
    i tried this new extension by going to http://www.popuptest.com/goodpopups.html [popuptest.com] and noticed that although it is very good at blocking unwanted popups, it doesn't work so well with popups that i would like to click. (by clicking on them) it still didn't work when i clicked on 'show this popup' on the firefox status bar..

    --
    http://unk1911.blogspot.com [blogspot.com]

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