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the modal box is the clippy of the web

Modal pop up boxes are becoming more and more common. Your screen goes dark then a sign up form appears or worse, an ad. They are usually triggered by either scrolling to a certain point on a page or after a time interval. Normally you can close the window or press escape and it goes away. Others are more aggressive and don't let you continue unless you sign up.

Modal popups differ from the old pop ups. The old pop ups used JavaScript to launch the content. It was relatively easy to block them. The new one can be far more insidious. The content is already part of the page. JavaScript and CSS combine to pull it out of the page and spill across the content. That makes them much harder to stop.

Another problem is if they are not properly designed then they can be impossible to close on a phone.

Marketing experts and SEO gurus will tell you they convert.  That's true. Many studies bear that out. You will probably get a lot more email addresses or Facebook likes. The conventional wisdom is: "Yeah, it’s annoying, but it increases newsletter sign ups". The numbers don't lie do they?   There are lies, damned lies and statistics. Those sign ups are often from people who don’t want the newsletter in the first place. People will generally sign over their details to continue to browse the site. That tactic will gain quantity, but will it gain quality?

People who sign up often feel coerced into doing so. They will either search for a way to unsubscribe or get more angry with each email they get. Marketing to reluctant people is very difficult. It's far easier to convert a friendly face.

Let's be honest here. Most people hate those popups . They annoy and most people will only sign because they feel they have no choice. Ask yourself one question: is the cost of alienating people and denting your brand worth it? In most cases, it is not.

The 7 levels of pop up hell.

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?
I'm already a subscriber now please go away.

Please enter your details to get our 2015 guide.
Excellent. It's 2016 now.

You look like you are enjoying our site, would you like to sign up to our newsletter?
Thanks Clippy, I was enjoying your site until your pop up ruined the flow.

Getting a second pop up not long after the first one.
Are you kidding me? The first one tested my patience. That second one's gonna make me flip out

Great. It's nice to see here. How did we do? Please take our survey after you've read our article.
Are you serious? You've just interrupted me and annoyed me. Yeah, Ill give you feedback!

Popups that blur out the content.
Sinking to new lows.

I've arrived at your website via a link on your newsletter. Now I get popup modal telling me subscribe to your newsletter.
Welcome to recursion hell.

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