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Man who created pop-up ads apologizes to the world for inventing the 'original sin of the web'

Ethan Zuckerman, the man behind the creation of pop-up ads, penned an apology assuring users that 'the intentions were good.'

Man who created pop-up ads apologizes to the world for inventing the 'original sin of the web'
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Andrea Piacquadio

If you ask people what is the most annoying and repetitive thing they face while browsing websites or looking for any data on the internet, many will have the same answer: pop-up ads. While the advertising world finds it as an efficient strategy to earn money and get traffic to their sites, customers and users hardly enjoy the sight of a pop-up. Many people might have also wondered how peaceful and fun it’d be without these fidgety blocks dancing over the screen. This thought also crossed the mind of the creator, Ethan Zuckerman, who recently apologized to the world for inventing the "original sin of the web." In an article he wrote for The Atlantic, Zuckerman addressed the plight of the users and said, “I’m sorry.”

Representative Image Source: Yan Krukau
Representative Image Source: Yan Krukau

“All of us have screwed up situations in our lives so badly that we’ve been forced to explain our actions by reminding everyone of our good intentions. It’s obvious now that what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble,” he wrote. Zuckerman added that the advertising tool was initially created to spread brand awareness, which was the need of the hour back in the 90s, when advertising, competition and several brands were still emerging. However, with how things have advanced, it has become more of a spy or a boggling blunder that never seems to leave the screen. “I have come to believe that advertising is the original sin of the web,” he wrote. 


Zuckerman continued to explain that the pop-up ads served solely to enhance the user’s experience for the better. “At the end of the day, the business model that got us funded was advertising. The model that got us acquired was analyzing users’ personal homepages so we could better target ads to them. Along the way, we ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: the pop-up ad,” he said. “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,” he added before apologizing and assuring users that it was for good intentions only. 


While the pop-up ads have advanced and the algorithm is designed to a dangerously progressive level, Zuckerman suggests that users ensure they have the right security protocols in place while using the internet. He also recommends purchasing ad-free subscriptions if possible. However, that doesn’t undo the vast damage and potential threat the world of the internet holds. The post shared by UberFacts on Twitter received mixed reactions. @lurdyungzee said, “Your apologies will be accepted after you have stopped this ad stuff.” @neil_bhosale said, “Yes, he should, only if he had a button to undo the sin to make things right.” 


Since many users are equipped with dealing with the advancements of the internet and are well-versed with the potential threats, they lightened the mood with sarcastic comments. @criseldridge84 said, “New Rule: If your last name starts with 'Zucker,' you can’t touch the internet.” @majkanart joked and said, “It would be funny and ironic if the apology is actually a pop-up ad on YouTube.”

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