Pop-Up Blocker Agrees to Pop-Up Ban

A company that used pop-up ads to advertise its pop-up blocking software agreed to change its practices to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint, the FTC said yesterday.

D Squared Solutions, San Diego, displayed its pop-up ads to consumers via the Windows Messenger Service, a communications program typically used for sending messages about routine events such as completed print jobs and system shutdowns. The company's ads appeared as often as every 10 minutes and caused lost data and productivity, the FTC said.

The ads appeared near the center of users' computer screens for as long as they were connected to the Internet, proving particularly troublesome to users with broadband connections who are constantly online. The ads offered software to block future pop-ups for $25 to $30.

Under the settlement, D Squared will be banned from using Windows Messenger Service pop-up ads and instant-message ads, as well as from selling Windows Messenger Service pop-up blocking or sending software. D Squared also must provide an opt-out mechanism for other kinds of Internet advertising, the FTC said.

A federal judge had ordered a temporary halt to D Squared's pop-up advertising in November 2003.

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