Government Goes After Messenger Pop-Ups

By Deane Barker on November 6, 2003

FTC clamps down on stealth pop-ups: I still remember the first time I got one of these. I screen capped it and sent it to my buddies with a note that said, “You won’t believe this…” Now it’s so common that I shut off the Messenger service on all the machines in the office and the FTC is ready to take it up.

“The Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce restrictions Thursday on the computer scam artists responsible for most of the unauthorized pop-up ads that beleaguer personal computer users.

The targeted ads use Microsoft’s Windows Messenger Service. The ads, in the form of text boxes, can appear any time a user is logged into a computer — during word processing, e-mail or any other program. They are distinguished from legitimate pop-up ads that are purchased, like other advertising, from Web sites by their lack of graphics.”