IntelliTXT

Monday 1 January 2007

I was reading a story from Google News: Spitzer Swearing-In Ushers in New Era in New York Politics, and I noticed two words double-underlined in green. Hovering over them activated a pop-up window which allowed me to search the web for the term via Windows Live. It was both obtrusive (double-underlining a word makes it a blot on the page) and silly (the two terms underlined were far too generic to be interesting searches: Republican and Governor). Oh well, I chalk it up to a bone-headed site, and move on.

The very next story I read, The Controversy over Microsoft’s Gifts to Bloggers, was on a different site, but had the exact same double-underlined text. This time, there were seven words blotted, and the pop-up window clearly identifies itself as an ad. Now I have to look into it.

The boxes are branded as IntelliTXT, and have a little question mark button. Clicking it takes you to a page explaining their “ad unit” technology. Of course, before it explains anything, it helpfully (NOT!) resizes your browser window. Interestingly, depending on how you got to the page, it offers a link to disable IntelliTXT. From Fox News, the page has the link (and clicking it does turn off the double-underlining). From the Playfuls page, there is no disable link.

Ads just are, I guess, and at least for some sites, IntelliTXT can be disabled. Judging from the two instances I saw, though, I don’t think it will be around for long. It’s too distracting, and not very useful, even to the advertisers.

Update: Just by coincidence, I sighted IntelliTXT on a third page: What if they Released a Movie and Nobody Came? Or maybe these green double-underlines will start appearing everywhere?

Comments

[gravatar]
Mike Gunderloy 6:20 PM on 1 Jan 2007

Adding *.intellitxt.com to my AdBlock Plus list in Firefox seems to put a firm stop to them across both sites. Good riddance.

[gravatar]
Nate Finch 7:35 PM on 1 Jan 2007

Ditto! Love Adblock (not so much adblock plus, since it's not compatible with FF 2.0 (or wasn't the last time I checked) and adds too much complexity for me).

Anyway... I agree... it's really obtrusive when you're reading an article from a site and all these random words are double underlined. Thank goodness for adblock

[gravatar]
Josh Matthews 9:41 PM on 1 Jan 2007

IntelliTXT has been around for years. I've just grown used to seeing and avoiding it. I've frequently seen it on technology review sites, and ask.com IIRC, among others.

[gravatar]
Keith 10:37 AM on 2 Jan 2007

Or if you have greasemonkey installed you can use the Disable Intellitxt script here:
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/3637

[gravatar]
Val 6:01 PM on 2 Jan 2007

yep, been annoyed by IntelliTXT's craptacular technology for a while now -- absolutely useless. AdBlock rules!

[gravatar]
Michael Chermside 8:00 AM on 3 Jan 2007

I dislike AdBlock -- Frankly, I think that if the ads are paying the way, then I'd rather they were there. I'll ignore them myself. However, several months ago I found if necessary to make an exception: I got AdBlock SOLELY for the purpose of blocking intellitxt. I will also intentionally avoid sites that use it.

[gravatar]
Giacomo 6:19 AM on 4 Jan 2007

I agree that this stuff has been around for a while. Isn't this exactly like Microsoft's "SmartTags"?

[gravatar]
Ned Batchelder 7:09 AM on 4 Jan 2007

I don't know why I haven't seen this more, it seems to be more and more prevalent. Maybe it's just that I'm noticing it now that I've noticed it?

[gravatar]
T.J. Warren 8:50 AM on 8 Jan 2007

I first started seeing IntelliTXT a few months ago. I find the "links" very distracting. Fortunately I only had to look at them for a day or so ;). I don't even know what sites still use them, since the ads are blocked.

Opera users can go into "Tools->Advanced->Blocked Content" and add "http://*.intellitxt.com/*" to your blocked list.

I ran across a similar one at home, some competitor to IntelliTXT I guess. I don't remember who they were, but I'll post the URL to block later on.

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