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US watchdog regulates pop-up, pop-under ads

MUMBAI: For internet surfers, the words pop-up and pop-under ads mean sheer disturbance. They are often forced to equip their computers with pop-up killers and stuff like that. Many companies who use this mode of advertising show scant respect for the surfer.

Now, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) -- the association dedicated to helping online, Interactive broadcasting, email, wireless and Interactive television media companies increase their revenues -- has decided to play the watchdog and enforce certain regulations on the use of such ads.

IAB has released a set of preliminary industry guidelines for the usage of pop-ups and pop-unders. "These guidelines are geared to help improve the consumer perception of pop-ups by applying consistency in their use, specifications and labeling. Furthermore, these guidelines provide advertisers and their agencies the ability to develop advertising content with consistency through uniform specifications. The purpose of this set of guidelines is to improve consumer credibility with interactive advertising and to lend efficiency to online ad creation and buying," reads the statement in the IAB web site.

The set of guidelines prepared by the IAB's Pop-up Task Force are as follows:

Each user should be exposed to no more than one pop-up ad for each visit to an online site.

Both pop-ups and pop-unders should be clearly labeled with the name of the Network/Advertiser-Publisher-Browser Type (if applicable).

For pop-unders, the unit size should be 720x300, file weight should be 50k images/50k flash, audio-video initiation should be user-initiated and close box should be mandatory.

For pop-ups, the unit size should be 250x250 or 300x250, file weight 30k images or 40k flash, audio-video user initiated and close box mandatory.

For pop-up large, the unit size should be 550x480, file weight 30k images or 40k flash, audio-video user initiated and close box mandatory.

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