A new window opens. Small. About 250 pixels down, and 600 pixels across. My vision turns red, and I let loose a primal howl. Viciously, in an almost animalistic fury, I click the X in the upper right hand corner. I snarl at the offending website, damning them to an eternity in the fiery pits of Hell as I close the site and vow to never again allow their page to darken my monitor...

Popup ads are the bane of any websurfer. I don't understand how market research can conclude that they help sales, as a popup ad not only makes me not want to buy the product, it makes me want to go hunting for the entire sales team. Well, fear not, fair reader, for I have some suggestions.

First, start here: http://technoerotica.net/mylog/optouts.html
Let me explain. There are certain privacy policies that most advertising sites have. Some of them are due to legal reasons, and some are simple courtesies to the websurfers. Things like requesting that you email address be removed from mailing lists, that the address not be sent to other advertisers, and that your personal information not be spread all over the free world. Guess what? One of the policies that many advertising agencies have is the option to turn off those stupid popup ads! Most ads create a cookie on your computer. A lot of people hate them, saying they're a violation of privacy. However, those same cookies can be used to turn off the popup ads! Check out the website for how. This works for a majority of major sites that have popups - such as AltaVista, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. It won't, however, work for many porn banners or things advertised on most warez or porn sites. Read on.

The next step, if you are still being plagued by the stupid ads, is to get a popup killer. This is simply a piece of software that sits on your system and detects popups, then zaps them or prevents them from being opened. Check out:

There are literally hundreds of others - try plugging the words "popup killer" into your favorite search engine.

The last resort is to disable JavaScript entirely. JavaScript is a scripting language used in webpages to create effects that are otherwise impossible to create in regular HTML. It also happens to be the way most webpages open new windows in your browser. This should only be used as a last resort, because you will miss out on many effects used in webpages, and may be unable to view certain pages at all. How to disable JavaScript is different for every browser, so your best bet is to look it up in the help menu.

There are many other ways to kill popup windows. Proxy servers, as well as various other types of server side filtering are very effective, but usually require more computer knowledge than the average Joe has.

Hope this helps!

Update: fondue gave me this useful tidbit. In Mozilla, you can set the browser to not allow popups. Try going to:
Edit/Preferences, click Advanced, then Scripts&Windows, and uncheck Allow scripts to: 'open by themselves'