So-called overlay popups are a form of advertising on the Internet that many users find highly annoying. These ads pop up on the same site you are on on top of the page's content unlike regular popups, which are launched in a separate window in front or back of the browser window.
Not only are those ads displayed on top of content, it is often also the case that the rest of the page is dimmed to put the full focus on them.
Overlay ads on legitimate sites display a close option, usually an x icon that you can click on to close it to access the underlying content.
Some implementations support clicks anywhere outside the overlay to remove it from the screen.
Some sites on the other hand display overlays that are not as easily removed. The close icon may be hidden or moved to a position where it cannot be identified easily. At other times, they may launch several overlays at once and display multiple close buttons to confuse users and get them to click on the ads displayed on the screen.
Note: We have removed the link to Overlay Blocker, and suggest you check out Behind the Overlay instead linked below. The reason for removing the other extension is that it is limited in the free version, and because there is a better alternative available.
The Google Chrome extension
Overlay Blocker offers a solution for these kind of overlay ads. It adds an option to the browser's right-click context menu to close all overlay ads on the page.
It needs to be noted that it works only when overlay advertisement is displayed on a site and that similar forms of advertisement such as interstitial pages are not supported by it.
Whenever you encounter an overlay advertisement on a site you can use Overlay Blocker to get rid of it even if it does not display a close icon prominently or at all on the screen. In fact, activating the extension will get rid of all overlays currently visible on the screen.
Update: The team behind the extension has updated Overlay Blocker. First, overlays are now blocked automatically when they encountered which takes care of the -- rather annoying -- need to activate the extension whenever you encounter overlays. This way it is truly automated and more useful. Also, the extension is no longer collecting anonymous use stats.
The caveat is that it is now divided into a free and paid plans. The free plan is only good for a number of blocks. Paid plans start at $4.99 per month or $19 per year and allow for unlimited blocks. End
A comparable extension is BehindTheOverlay. It is also available for Chrome and supports clicks to get rid of ads but also keyboard shortcuts.
To use it press Ctrl-Shift-x and the overlay ad will be removed from the page automatically.
Overlay Blocker and BehindTheOverlay are not automated solutions but they are the next best thing. A whitelist option with automatic removal of overlays on all other sites would be the next step though as it would makes things more comfortable for Internet users.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.