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Yep, this debate will never end, and talks of sites using dubious methods has been and will always be around. NYT does a story about how some content sites, like Entrepreneur.com and others are using pop-ups to inflate their traffic number. In this case, no, they’re not using pop-up ads on their sites, but serving themselves up in those ads units on other sites.
The story focuses on the example of Entrepreneur.com, but it mentions others: Other sites in the last year include Concierge.com, the site of Conde Nast Traveler magazine; ForbesAutos.com, part of the Forbes financial publishing group; and Heavy.com, it quotes a researcher.
In the case of Concierge.com, which has articles on luxury resorts and expensive spas, the site recently bought pop-up services from Zango, one of the largest adware companies. Heavy.com is also a page popper, the story says, though the company says it has taken steps to avoid inflating traffic statistics or upsetting advertisers.