IE Pop-up Blocker Defaults to “Off”

Microsoft has granted pop-up ads a stay of execution.

The default setting for blocking the widely hated, much used units is “off” in the beta release of Microsoft’s service pack 2 update for Internet Explorer. As most users historically don’t edit their browser’s default settings, conventional wisdom says pop-ups will continue to be seen by many users.

“There’ll definitely be an impact from IE blocking pop-ups, but it’s not going to be nearly as big a hit as people thought,” said Nate Elliott, an associate analyst with Jupiter Research and author of a new report on pop-up advertising. (Jupiter Research shares a parent company with this site.)

“There’ll be an opportunity for advertisers to run pop-ups for several more years,” he said.

Microsoft indicated in November it would include pop-up blocking features in the service pack release, scheduled for summer of this year. Many in the industry predicted the end for the pop-up format should the feature default to “on” upon installation.

While it appears the death of pop-ups is delayed, the end, in theory at least, could technically still be neigh.

“The plan for it is to be off by default, although since it’s still in beta, we can’t say for certain,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “The outcome will be based on user feedback.”

Other browsers, including Netscape Navigator and Apple’s popular Safari, have long contained a pop-up blocking feature, also “off” in default user settings.

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