They’ve been around for a long, long year.
Reviled since the days of Geocities, the word ‘popup’ came to symbolize low-rent tactics used during the early days of online marketing.
Back in 2004, they topped the list of The Most Hated Advertising Techniques by web-usability guru Jakob Nielsen, who found 95% of users objected.
But popups have changed, as browser ad-blocking technology has all but eliminated pop-ups that open in new windows.
Today, popups are typically executed as modal overlays (or lightboxes) controlled by site owners—not media companies. They’re more relevant to what the user was browsing, as site owners have their long-term brand to think about (not just click-through ratios).