Pop-up Mania! Will They Come Back To Vogue?

By Daniel Scocco - 1 minute read

A couple of weeks ago Darren Rowse posted an article where he shared a technique that increased his newsletter subscription rate by over 700%, from an average of 40 news subscribers per day to 350!

He probably could not have foreseen the mass effect that the post would trigger!

After that post, in fact, dozens of bloggers started using pop-ups to promote their newsletters, from John Chow to Shoemoney and many smaller bloggers, too.

The trend is so noticeable that I often find those pop-ups coming up on random sites that I am visiting over the day.

So what happened to the “pop-ups are the ultimate evil” motto that we had going on around the Internet?

I think it is starting to get questioned (which is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you).

Basically Darren found out by testing that the increase in the conversion rate of his newsletter was huge, while the drawbacks of adding the pop-ups were not so big. A couple of people emailed him complaining about the intrusiveness, but that was pretty much it.

Of course we need to take into consideration the people that got annoyed with the pop-ups and quit the site to never come back again, without letting Darren know about it. But will this effect be eve noticeable on his traffic trends?

Pop-ups remain one of the most intrusive and annoying promotion forms, but are they capable of hurting your traffic tangibly if you provide quality content?

Here is a question for our poll: would one pop-up offering you a newsletter subscription be enough to make you stop visiting a website? Assume you would see the pop-up only once, and not on every visit at that site. (RSS and email subscribers might need to visit the site to see the poll)

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51 Responses to “Pop-up Mania! Will They Come Back To Vogue?”

  • medyum

    Daniel i already though this post will be posted soon by ‘U’

    I see pop ups in websites in just few seconds i go there…it brings a bad impression.. at least after staying for 10 min if the pop up comes then they are going to make real readers….

    Daniel as satish said don’t use this technique to the ATMOST!!

  • Andre Thomas

    I’ve read through most of the comments here and I can see that most of them are just opinions. These big-time bloggers are using it and are obviously with the result. Even Michel Fortin, a well-known copywriter, also used it in his blog.

    The pop-up improved subscriptions. It increased their pageviews (or they wouldn’t continue using it). And it must have affect their bottomline positively.

    It obviously showed that the pop-up did not annoy a large majority of their readers. They tested it. It’s not opinion, it’s fact.

    You know, there are a lot of successful entrepreneurs who advise their readers not to reinvent the wheel. Copy what already successful people are doing and you’re on your way to success too.

    Am I saying everyone should do it too? No, of course not. That’s just stupid. I’m saying that we should all at least test it. See the results for yourself.

    If it’s bad, remove it. You never know, and thus you never improve, if you never test.

  • Deb Ng

    One popup might not convince me to stay away, but more than one will. As I said at Performancing, I don’t understand why all the big probloggers are embracing popups because a few years ago we were all trying to abolish them. Even one time is unnerving.

    Now every time I go to ShoeMoney a pop up gets me, sometimes more than once. It doesn’t motivate me to continue visiting.

  • George


    I was about to put out a poll just like this one. I am testing the pop-over subscription on my blog and it is increasing my newsletter subscription rate. I am concerned about the overall visitor experience so I was going to put up a poll like yours. Now I might just wait to see the results of your poll.

    I think that ultimately the answer may be different for each blog. It will depend on your blog’s primary goal. Is the aim to get newsletter subscribers so you can sell your products/services to them. Is it to get loyal readers of your blog, etc. We all have different goals for our websites and blogs. If your goal is to get as many people on your list as possible then pop-overs may be the right thing to do. If your primary goal isn’t about building a list, then it might not be the right thing to do.

    Interested in seeing the final results of your poll…

  • Nimble

    I feel very irritated when I leave the website of JohnChow, it presents me a pop up for subscribing and due to this reason I have stopped visiting his website.

    From the day first, I started using internet, popups have been very annoying to me. I am sure there would be many more tricks / methods to increase your subscribers list which are better and you will not lose even one person from your current subscribers.

  • Fern

    I have a hard time believing that someone would never revisit a website because of a single, internal (i.e. not a third party ad) popup window. A couple of people mentioned thinking that it is invasive to be asked to provide an email address. But if you don’t want to sign up for the newsletter, just close the popup. I think people are acting more outraged now than they would if they were actually to come across the popup window.

    My guess is that Darren and John Chow and others will so zero negative impact (i.e. loss in readers) as a result of their newsletter request popup.

  • TheSimpleStep

    I thought everyone hates pop up, kinda surprised with the poll result … 🙂

  • Jack

    If I already have a relationship with a blog/website, I would tolerate ONE pop-up. I would be annoyed, but I would put up with it once.

    If it’s the first time I’ve been to a site and I get a pop-up, I’m going to assume it’s standard practice and I’m outa there. I have been doing it this way for years.

  • Chris

    Yes and No.

    Being an internet marketer, i understand what their doing, so no i wont leave.

    Yes i will leave if they dont code it properly.
    i have seen websites (one notably that i hate is therichjerk) that every page has it on it (even in the membership area when you have paid).

    If your considering putting it on, i suggest either
    1. only on your homepage
    2. using cookies so that it only displays once.

  • Raghu

    I have been using pop-up and I tweaked few things to see which type of popup works better and still gathering information.

    I’m trying 2 different things

    1) Popup within 5 seconds
    2) Average time on a page + 15 seconds

    So far the results looks like this

    Case 1 – X%
    Case 3 – X% – 2.0%

    Data I was collected for about 15 hours. (Yes, X% more than 2%)

    I asked myself following question

    1) Information I provide to the readers – will it be of vale to them? Yes
    2) Do I want to increase readers base? Yes
    3) Did Darren’s pop-up irritate me? No

    At the end of the day, you have more readers and if they like it, they are going to talk about it, link to it and more traffic in turn.

  • Jodith

    I usually will overlook one popup if I can get past it and it doesn’t happen again. However, if a popup comes up every time I enter a site, I’m probably never going back after the first 2 or 3 times, no matter how much I like the site.

    One that goes away after I say no, though, I don’t have a problem with.

  • Adam Austin

    I detest pop-ups, and after using the web for many years, I automatically close them when they appear – I think I’m trained to not even read the damn thing!

    I think pop-ups have there place, but only when they are initiated by the user. As an alternative, I like the floating banner that periodically appears at the bottom of http://www.sitepoint.com. It allows you to choose not to display again, only appears every 5-10 pages, and doesn’t stop you from browsing the contents of the site.

    Would be interesting to see what sitepoint have found in terms of conversion, % who chose not to have displayed etc

  • Bradblogging.com

    @ Mayoo – I completely agree with you on that aspect. The smaller blogs will start using this technique because “The Bigger Dogs” are using it, and wondering why there bounce rate is so high.

    They annoy me so much that I will leave websites because of them. I was mad when Shoemoney offered me the newsletter in the form of a popup..

    The popups are back due to Problogger and Aweber.

  • Luca – Reach Success Online

    This is great timing and I look forward to the survey results. I was planning to add a pop up with an opt-in form as I don’t get annoyed with sites that have them. If the offer is good then I’ll sign up. You can always unsubscribe.
    I guess it depends on how it’s done and what it’s selling or promoting.
    Great post

  • Mike Panic

    @Sohail – Sorry, you are wrong. I’ve gone to John Chow’s site for the last 3 days, I say NO each time and the next day I have to look at them. I’m not clearing my cache or cookies either.

  • Sohail

    Some bloggers are trying to justify it by saying that these pop ups come up only once and when you say you do not want to subscribe they don’t come back. That is right. So you can not compare them with same pop ups which come up every time you visit a site. Still annoying for me.

  • News Man

    Its good that you created that poll. It can be said that gain outweigh the loss now.

  • Rarst has cool feed

    It’s curious that I hadn’t yet seen a single report that person tried pop-overs (I think this describes subject better than pop-up) and it was a failure.

    People split in those who tried and those who flame the idea.

    I am seriously considering trying but since I don’t have lots of traffic to experiment with different variations – it’s bit hard to figure out conditions to trigger pop-over and exact message.

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