We agree: pop-up ads are terrible

Question: I just toured your Web site. I do not appreciate the pop-up ads. After I closed out your Web page, I was still getting pop-ups. You must be using a very sophisticated Web manager, because they all got through my filters. I think an organization of journalists should be professional and have integrity. Slamming people with Web pop-ups does not seem appropriate and lacks integrity. -- Randy Tetzner, Coeur d'Alene

Answer: We could not agree more. We do not allow pop-ups on our site, although in one case it might have appeared that we did. Let me explain: on our cover page, midway down the middle column, you will see about 10 items listed under "TOP AP HEADLINES." When you click on one of those stories, it actually takes you to an Associated Press Web site to view the story. You have to click your back button to get back to S-R.com.

The AP Web site does serve up one pop-up for each user, and never more than one every four hours. Receiving your complaint spurred me into action. (Believe me, this has been a nagging concern of mine for a LONG time.) I finally tracked down the person at AP who very graciously and expeditiously removed the pop-ups from the AP page that serves up stories to S-R readers. Problem solved.

However, I must add that I suspect your particular situation had nothing to do with us or with AP. You actually may picked up "pop-under" ads from some other Web site that you visited during your time online that day. You often do no notice the stealth "pop-unders" until you start to shut down your browser. It's sometimes tricky to figure out at that point where they came from, so it's easy to blame the last page you visited.

Unfortunately, the other very real possibility is that sometime in the recent past you've visited a site that secretly put "spyware" on your PC that launches pop-up or pop-under ads no matter where you go on the Web. In that case, it would appear as though the pop-ups came from our site. They most emphatically do not. -- Ken Sands, managing editor of online and new media

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