16th December 2003 · Last updated: 5th October 2016
I'm not sure if that's the right name for them - the type of advert that pops up over part of a web page. Not obscuring it completely, but enough to be very annoying. Especially if you're wanting to access the content underneath.
I saw a classic example today on this site. Trying to find out details about a company, I was shocked to see blood seeping out of the monitor, dripping down the screen. All part of the ad. This took several seconds to clear, which is my point. Yes, there's a close box, but it might be in any number of places. By the time you've even noticed it, the ad has played through. I once clicked on one ad to close it, but must have been out by a few pixels, as I was taken to the site being advertised instead.
Here's what the page looks like (in IE6 on Windows XP) when the blood first starts appearing. Scary, or what? (Click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized images.)
Unfortunately someone didn't bother to check this in Mozilla. At least in IE, you could read some of the content around the blood (though not for long as it expands). Mozilla users get a large grey rectangle instead, covering much of the page. Note also the lack of the left column!
This might be acceptable if the ad disappeared like it does in IE. But no. It leaves all the grey rectangle behind, making the content underneath completely inaccessible.
The page features other monstrosities in the shape of even more obstructive ads. Some use the whole area given to them, blanking out all the content underneath. Here's an example seen in IE6 where a table zooms down the ad space. Note how the background is opaque so you can temptingly see the content underneath, but not enough to read it properly. Note also how the close button is almost obscure.
With pop-up windows easily defeated by Mozilla's preferences, and IE6 to follow in 2004, advertisers are looking for new ways to throw their content at you. Although the pop-over ad has been used for a while now, it can only become more useful, until browsers are able to stop these ads too. I just find them annoying because they can take over a page for several seconds. I've nothing against ads on pages - but they need to know their place. I don't want my browser hijacked by seeping blood and fast-moving objects. I remember an early example I saw where a guy would move randomly around the screen. It was tricky to avoid clicking on him, which of course is what the advertiser wanted you to do. Well stuff that. The sooner we're rid of these ads the better. Let them be consigned to the dustbin of internet history, along with pop-up windows.