Over the years we've received more than a few emails asking the questions posed in the (paraphrased) advertiser email below:

I just got an email saying that my ad was disapproved because my landing page had a pop up when the ad was clicked on. Pop ups are very common, and I'm not sure why it is a problem. What's the big deal? Can you make an exception in my case? My pop up doesn't try to sell anything, I'm just giving my customers a chance to tell me what they want. That should be OK, right? - A pop-up fan

According to the AdWords Editorial Guidelines, "We do not allow links to landing pages that generate pop-ups when users enter or leave your landing page. We consider a pop-up to be any window, regardless of content, that opens in addition to the original window."

In other words, the guidelines refer not only to pop-ups, but also to pop-unders or any other new window which opens from your landing page. And, the policy applies regardless of the intent of the content. Even though the author of the above email has a pop-up intended to gather information rather than promote something, we do not make exceptions to these guidelines.

So, "what's the big deal?" Why does AdWords care so much about pop-ups? Well, we can sum up the answer to that in three words: bad user experience. Studies (such as the ones cited in The Most Hated Advertising Techniques by Jakob Nielsen) show that users truly dislike pop-ups, pop-unders and their ilk -- and (this is key to you as an advertiser) also tend to dislike sites that employ them. We want to ensure that our users have a very positive experience when they click on a relevant ad, and we suspect that you do too.

We hope that this brings clarity to a hot topic. To sum up, creating an advertising program that searchers trust (and therefore use over and over again) is to everyone's advantage -- and we think that not allowing pop-ups after clicking on an AdWords ads will keep users coming back and provide them with the relevant (and positive) advertising experience that they desire.