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Prince of Pop-ups 543

Ric writes "From the article lead paragraph: 'If you hate pop-up ads, you might blame Brian Shuster. A long-time figure in the Internet pornography world, Shuster recently received a patent for the ad format and is now looking to make some money off the sites that use it. And that's just the beginning - Shuster has a long list of pending patents, including one for pop-up audio ads that cannot be turned off.'"
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Prince of Pop-ups

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  • Hooray! (Score:5, Funny)

    by koreth ( 409849 ) * on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:04PM (#5902312)
    Here's hoping lots of sites don't want to pay the license fee and stop using popups.
    • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:06PM (#5902335) Journal

      No kidding. This is one patent holding that I will only object to from the sidelines, and not try to disprove. :-)

      • Yeah, now why exactly are we to blame this guy? Because he is doing something that will stop much of the popup add abuse? I don't understand what the poster is getting at.
        • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @02:23PM (#5903302)
          Because pop-ups will not go away. What he is claiming is that he invented and patented the pop-up, now that many people use it he wants to get paid. But the likelihood that he will get paid is yet to be seen - the likelihood that the pop-ups will go away very very doubtful.

          However, more telling about where blame for frustrations will lie - is in the quote regarding the popups with sound that you cannot turn off. This is VERY upsetting.

          I OWN MY COMPUTER - its fully 100% a resource of MINE and nobody else. I also PAY for my internet access, by the month.

          If he wants to force feed me ads - then he better damn well PAY me. And protect himself while walking around in public.

          Seriously - this is a major concern of mine and I am sure, many others.

          Advertising is getting totally out of hand and something needs to be done. I can understand certain forms of advertising, like on free TV stations - where I am getting the service (TV for free) and in return I am agreeing to being subjected to ads.

          However in any service where I actually pay for it - I should be asked, paid or otherwise consulted before being subjected to advertising.

          In fact I am in the process of starting an ISP where advertising of ANY kind is absolutely forbidden and technically (as much as possible) prevented. No details on how I am doing this, sorry... but one thing is that for a nominally higher rate you can have an ISP that will not tolerate any sort of advertising to its clients.

          Advertising is polluting the world we live in and even our minds with unproductive thoughts - and actually detracts from our quality of life. I hope to change this.

          On a related note - would you sign up on this ISP?

          • I OWN MY COMPUTER - its fully 100% a resource of MINE and nobody else. I also PAY for my internet access, by the month.

            If he wants to force feed me ads - then he better damn well PAY me. And protect himself while walking around in public.

            Given that it is your computer, why are you letting him execute hostile code on your computer? I mean, if you're using Explorer (for example) and your security level is set such that pop-up ads are able to execute, aren't you basically allowing pop-up ads?

            Now, ration
        • Re:Hooray! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {srevart.sirhc}> on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @04:03PM (#5904494) Homepage Journal
          Lets thank Brian Schuster for doing to the Popup what Unisys did to the Gif!!! :-D
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:18PM (#5902518) Homepage Journal
      Here's hoping lots of sites don't want to pay the license fee and stop using popups.

      It's not just the money, it's who's collecting. Anyone who wants to use a pop up having to bow down before the porn master who dreamed up the sleazy idea? Classic. I hope someone makes a big fuss and that it becomes common knowledge that advertisers are paying porn masters to be able to irritate you. Guilt by association and tribute! Suffer, you dick heads!

  • Excellent!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Binestar ( 28861 ) * on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:06PM (#5902330) Homepage
    If this guy can start charging people for using popups then these webpages won't pay and popups will start dying off. While a patent like this is mostly a bad thing, the side effects are good!

    Of course I use mozilla with popup filtering enabled, so it's not really that much of an issue to me. =)
  • "for pop-up audio ads that cannot be turned off" Axe->speaker Obnoxious
    • Re:Yeah (Score:3, Funny)

      by terraformer ( 617565 )
      Hmm, pardon me but I believe the proper form of that would be:
      while(Sound == Obnoxious){
      ;- )
  • Use Mozilla ....... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jeehoba ( 650927 ) <clintrice@gmailYEATS.com minus poet> on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:06PM (#5902332)
    God Bless Mozilla [mozilla.org] .. no more pop-ups. Hopefully it will still block those audio pop-ups "that can't be turned off."
    • What about these stupid adds that popup on the middle of the page obscuring your text? I haven't looked into them... are they JavaScript or DHTML or what? Mozilla doesn't help me with those unfortunately. JavaScript is useful enough for me not to want to turn it completely off.
      • by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:29PM (#5902659) Journal
        Best solution I have found is to locate the advertising servers of the companies doing this crap, and blackhole them via your hosts file. I used to see this stuff all the time when reading the news on Yahoo!, but I have since managed to find most of their ad servers and redirect them to Personally I keep a pretty long hosts file. If I find an ad/tracking server I simply add it to my hosts file. And ya, I run Mozilla as well.

      • by jpkunst ( 612360 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:54PM (#5902969)

        Simple: just click-and-hold or control-click or right-click on the offending image and choose 'Block images from this server'. Most of the time those images are served from a dedicated ad-server.


    • As an Avid Mozilla user, I'm happy about the anti-popup device.

      However, eventually, when these advertizers realize that more people are not using IE, they'll start coding ways to avert that security blanket.

      My confusion around this issue is:

      Why do these advertizers think we (the population who blocks this garbage) want to see their trash on our screen?

      I'm sure this has been answered before, but the answers have not been satisfactory to me.
    • God bless easily modified host files and people that maintain lists of the popular pop up ads.

      Why pay someone else to do what you can quickly do yourself? Just say no to pop-up blockers.

    • by iamkrinkle ( 585605 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:43PM (#5902848)
      audio pop-ups that can't be turned off? HA! I can't even get alsa/esd configured to have more than one sound source playing at the same time (and i always have music on). suckers...
  • by ChuckleBug ( 5201 ) * on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:06PM (#5902333) Journal
    Why doesn't he just cut through all the crap and patent the very idea of being a complete and utter asshole? Then he could demand royalties from all other assholes when they display their assholitudinism. Then, if they get pissed off and come after him, he can claim that in itself was assholish and sue for *that*.

    It's the perfect plan. What could go wrong?
  • by ManoMarks ( 574691 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:06PM (#5902334) Journal
    To inundate him with junk mail, of course, and also to hit him up for money. Or just hit him. No, wait, I'm a Quaker. I keep forgetting that...
    • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @02:39PM (#5903474)
      Seems like every time an article about spam/popups/whatever comes around, someone tries to find and post the address.

      While it's a clever sort of revenge, it's not very practical. You don't send mail to a person, you send it to a building. If the person gets 'snail mail spammed,' all they have to do is move. The building remains 'spammed' for the next tenant, and the next...

      Nope, don't like it, don't like it one bit...
      • all they have to do is move.

        In many situations, this is non-trivial. If I am an apartment-dwelling college student, then, sure, moving is no big deal. If I just bought my new $2.5M mansion built off my spam profits, then, for me, moving isn't quite so easy. Same goes for businesses with lots of employees.
  • Good (Score:5, Funny)

    by dmarx ( 528279 ) * <dmarx AT hushmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:07PM (#5902344) Homepage Journal
    Maybe this means that websites will stop using pop-ups.
    Oh, and I think I devised a way to turn off the pop-up audio:
    1. Press the power button on your computer's speakers.
    2. When you're done with the site, press the power button again.
    Gee, maybe I should patent this.
    • I've got a better one
      1. Enter site
      2. Realize site sucks because they have audio popups you can't tur off
      3. Edit host file
      4. Never come back even by accident

      <rant>If people would choose not to block plain banner ads (without javascript or cookies or other shit) while blocking the rest, things might improve. Sooner or later advertisers have to realize that the more obnoxious and annoying they make their ads the smaller the chance of getting positive attention gets. I will never visit a site throug

  • by Acts of Attrition ( 635948 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:07PM (#5902349)
    he's in internet porn eh? Maybe someone can fix it so he can't "pop-up" anymore
  • Should be changed to Shyster.
    Then it would be more accurate....
  • Good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by earthforce_1 ( 454968 ) <earthforce_1@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:08PM (#5902367) Journal
    Hopefully he charges astronomical licence fees for both "innovations" retroactive to the day he filed. Hopefully that will be the nail in the coffin that drives these scourges off the desktop.

    Heck, I wish somebody had patented spam as well!
  • How Ironic (Score:5, Funny)

    by UCRowerG ( 523510 ) <UCRowerG@y a h o o . c om> on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:09PM (#5902378) Homepage Journal
    Wonderful! An anti-popup web article that uses popup advertising!
  • Great.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    For him, he's living out the american dream. The freedom to create and sell an idea.

    Unfortunately, the mass population HATES this idea and in fact people have gone so far to block this technology with software.

    This should get intresting...

    Popups are similar to telemarketers. Often, the consumer is not intrested in the product. People who disliked this technology came up with devices to block telemarketers and now there is a legislative "do not call" list. It would be pretty hard to have a "do not popup"
    • Re:Great.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:14PM (#5902462) Journal
      Popups arent similar to telemarketers. If you don't like them, you needn't visit sites that use them. They aren't unsolicited in that regard.

      People throw around phrases like "vote with your wallet" but seldom practice what they preach. Don't like a certain method of advertising? Don't visit those sites.

      Same as if (for example) Nickelodeon started running ads for cigarettes and beer during "The Wiggles". Stop watching nickelodeon.

      But everyone sits through it, not wanting to be inconvenienced by their principles, and waits for some sort of law to make it alright.

      And now we have a billion zillion conflicting laws restricting what we can or cannot do. Bah.

      • Agreed, people confuse this with spam too much, going to a website means you are soliciting everything the website has to offer, you can't complain about that.
  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:10PM (#5902399) Homepage

    including one for pop-up audio ads that cannot be turned off

    I think he'll find that everything can be turned off.
    • 1) don't use a sound card. In the case of intregrated audio chips, buy a dremel tool
      2) Turn off your speakers
      3) Cut off your ears. See note regarding dremel tool in 1)

  • Ric writes:
    "...including one for pop-up audio ads that cannot be turned off."


    Too bad there is no moderation for "not terribly insightful but damned succinct."
  • by stomv ( 80392 )
    mozilla [mozilla.org] lets you just turn them off.

    when was the last time pr0n resulted in a turn off? Oh yeah -- that goat website.
  • Other Shuster patents include similar technology to take control of a user's computer and send them to unexpected Web sites

    Whats to prevent this guy from opening a page to a site which opens a pop-up ad, which opens a page to another, rinse...repeat?

    Patents are good and all, but they need to be analyzed for abuses.
  • by I'm a racist. ( 631537 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:11PM (#5902421) Homepage Journal
    Do I like this man or hate him?

    Pro: He promotes porn on the Internet.
    Pro: He will sue a few people into not using pop-ups, at least for a little while.
    Con: He "created" annoying pop-up ads.

    The situation would be similar if Hillary Rosen, remaining the bitch that she is, was really hot and liked to give me blowjobs...

    Okay, well, the blowjobs would easily win out. But you get the idea.
    • Re:I'm conflicted!!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:19PM (#5902521)
      Don't be. It's not his fault. He didn't "create" anything. GeoCities deployed the first pop-up ad in mid 1997. I know this because I did, and I'm currently looking at the source code I wrote to do it (scheduling, etc.). Keep in mind this was during a time when internet companies couldn't figure out how to make a profit... oh wait, never mind that last point. I'll still be happy to see 'em go.
  • Patent (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dugsmyname ( 451987 )
    I think I'll patent annoying stupid people and make a million bucks. I don't know which is more intrusive. Pop-ups, or annoying stupid people.
  • Why do companies do this?
    It is worth their while to do so.

    If my bank had annoying popups, I would write and complain.
    You can use browsers that disable this.

    Like spam, if people refused to buy services from companies that use these techniques, they would stop. But they DO work, and as long as they work, they will do this.
  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:13PM (#5902442)
    This is a rhetorical question : how can one possibly patent a 'feature' built into web-browsers? Popups are only possible because some idiot decided that opening another window without the users consent (and even doing this recursively!) was "friendly" behavoir and belonged in the javascript spec. The same applies to sound. This is another consequence of our failing legal system (lets be honest : its on life support at best. Its BROKEN. While the basic tenants of judges, juries, and appeals might be good, the implementation is falling apart). If the legal system worked without application of large sums of money (and I would not call giving the victory to the one with the money 'justice') this patent would have no meaning.
  • I have to p (Score:5, Funny)

    by L. VeGas ( 580015 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:13PM (#5902447) Homepage Journal
    So in other words...

    Patents pending for porno pop-up prince?
  • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) * on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:13PM (#5902451) Journal
    "Shuster has a long list of pending patents, including one for pop-up audio ads that cannot be turned off."

    He must be murdered immediately. The consequences of any other course of action are too dire to even be conceptualized.


  • He also has a patent on the "use of the Internet to display, via browsing GUI device, person(s) in various states of undress; may also include various suggestive poses." He plans on going after sites that infringe on his patent. I wonder what impact this will have on the Internet.
  • by lspd ( 566786 )
    The folks who are hoping this will be the end of pop-ups are overlooking the obvious. This guy isn't going to sue anyone with the finances to kill his patent, he's going to chase after the little guys trying to scrape a living off the internet so he can cash in without getting his patent invalidated.

  • Can't you turn off popups by disabling javascript, or mucking through the source of moz and removing the javascript function for window.open?
  • Good thing (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Iscariot_ ( 166362 )
    I actually think this is a good thing. Why? Because this might force people to stop with their damned popup ads or else pay royalties to this guy.

    Maybe more patents could be used in this way in order to stop other anoying internet irritants.

    Just my two cents.
  • Of course, as a non-commercial project Mozilla has to keep away from any patent infringement.
  • Beyond the jokes about his popup adds and such, this guy is also interested in technology used in non-annoying ways by the sounds of things. I'm sure there's things I've developed he probably claims he's patented or is trying to patented.

    Do I think he'll get ahead on this? Probably not, but only probably - it takes a few people caving to enrich his coffers and get capital flowing in, so he could become a noteable pain in the rump if things go well.

    I think the best bet is to keep outing this guy as a jer
  • From the article:

    Schuster wouldn't comment on whether or not he has sent out any copyright infringement notices, and he said that some Internet patents have been frivolous -- but not his.

    When the people responsible for reporting the news can't even bother to get their facts right, how can we expect that the average person on the street will get any understanding of these issues.

    He wouldn't sent out copyright infringement notices, because it is a patent.

  • How do people like this sleep at night, do they accept the fact that they are complete assholes, and wastes of space? Or are they blissfully unaware, just thinking they are making a quick buck using their "computer machine". I do not know which would comfort me more. Them being jerk-offs, or being complete dumbasses.
  • If I owned that patent, I'd say only porn websites can use pop-ups, and I have to be getting laid in any picture used in the pop-up.
  • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) <scott@alfter.us> on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:24PM (#5902592) Homepage Journal
    I got the first unrequested popup I've ever run across in Mozilla when I was reading a NYTimes article linked in this article [slashdot.org]. The ad-filtering proxy [taz.net.au] I use at least made it a blank popup, but a change to the config file fixed it so that it closes as soon as it opens. We could only be so lucky that the Times would be targeted by Shuster.

    (The popups appear when you click a "next page" or "previous page" link in the article, so Mozilla must be treating it as a requested popup. In addition to a whitelist of sites that are allowed to throw popups, Mozilla needs a blacklist of sites that are never allowed to throw popups.)

  • by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:25PM (#5902598) Journal
    I was asked a question by a co-worker yesterday, and did not have a solid answer. Since it somewhat relates to this story and google did nothing but bring back ads for popup blockers, I thought I would loose it to the /. people. Simple question -- Anybody who has used Firebird, Mozilla, Opera, etc -- has seen how much better the browsing experience is without countless popups. What is stopping Microsoft from putting out a version or patch of/to IE that has this feature? I know that the conspirecy theorists could speculate to no end on this one, but is there a simple answer?
    • by kmac06 ( 608921 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:43PM (#5902844)
      I hope they don't. As soon as they do, a lot more people will disable pop ups, and web sites would stop using them.

      Good, right?

      No, that means they come up with some other really annoying way of forcing you to look at ads.
    • What is stopping Microsoft from putting out a version or patch of/to IE that has this feature?

      The fact that many of their MSN.com sites use 'em?
    • by TheWickedKingJeremy ( 578077 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @02:50PM (#5903576) Homepage
      What is stopping Microsoft from putting out a version or patch of/to IE that has this feature?

      I would imagine this is similar to TV manufacturers not including commercial-blocking features with their TV sets by default. Sure, you can buy equipment to do this, but you have to specifically take that course of action yourself. Commercials, while annoying, are healthy for the TV business, and TV manufacturers cannot destroy this industry without hurting themselves. The feature can exist, but it cannot be included by default.

      Microsoft, as the de-facto standard of web browsers, needs to think carefully before swiping out entire features altogether. After all, "window.open" is technically part of the javascript spec, and there are some (though not many ;) legitimate uses for popups on the web. Moronic IE users would probably never know why a particularly site was not working correctly because a popup was being blocked. I really think the blocking of popups should be something you specifically apply to your browser - yes, perhaps a patch would be sufficient - but I dont think it should be included by default.
  • by dirtyboot ( 158648 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:26PM (#5902623)
    I don't understand why you guys don't like Pop-Ups. The strawberry ones are delicious.
  • Popups suck, all types od advertising suck, but unfortunately ad's are here to stay.

    However, some sites seem to be alot less annoying about it then others. And I say... get ISP's and backbones to start null routing traffic from all sites that use obnoxious advertising practices.
  • One, called "Method, apparatus and system for directing access," describes the use of "hidden frames" to inject javascript onto an unsuspecting user's computer, which can later be used to send the browser to another Web site.

    A patent on cyberhijacking?

    "The reason the Internet has stalled out so badly is that advertising is a non-profitable segment," he added. The use of "hijacked traffic" is a question of balance, Shuster said, but there has to be effective advertising so "a provider of c
  • ... and with the M$ trusted platform, the speakers will be part of the motherboard and the case locked so that they can only be turned off by by M$. You will get thrown in jail if you tamper with your protective crypto or the hardware.
  • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:37PM (#5902778) Homepage
    "I have a dream that a guy who designs popup ads is having a major colonoscopy, and the proctologist is saying, 'It's the darnedest thing! Every time I snip a polyp, two more spring up in its place!'"

  • by aliens ( 90441 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:41PM (#5902822) Homepage Journal
    *reaches over and turns down the volume on the speakers*
  • But.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:42PM (#5902834) Journal
    I thought theft of computing services was illegal.
  • by Temsi ( 452609 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:43PM (#5902846) Journal
    the dictionary says:


    n. Slang
    An unethical, unscrupulous practitioner, especially of law.

    Seems to fit Shuster quite well.
  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:44PM (#5902868) Homepage Journal
    "interact with the browser to modify or control one or more of the browser functions, such that the user is directed to a predesignated site or page, instead of accessing the site or page typically associated with the selected browser function."

    So he patented misleading people via a web browser...

  • Shuster has a long list of pending patents, including one for pop-up audio ads that cannot be turned off.'

    I think I'll file for a patent on "Honking a truck's horn in a residential area from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., advertising a sale of one or more goods". I think I could get some license fees for that. To up my income, I will also file for "Yelling at a carefully chosen target group of people at prominent city places until they agree to buy one or more goods".

    Jeez. Indeed, leaving the oceans was a bad idea, after all.
  • by jonr ( 1130 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @08:24PM (#5906664) Homepage Journal
    Finding out where this guy lives and break a kneecap or two? ;)

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak