Product Reviews

STOPZilla Bursts the Pop-Up Bubble

Stop popups dead in their tracks with this inexpensive but sanity-saving blocker.

If you were a homeowner and strangers walked through your front door day and night, you'd be a bit perturbed. Maybe perturbed is too soft a word, but using obscene language is not my style.

Popups are like those strangers. These browser windows that seem to come out of nowhere are just as much an invasion of our privacy. They disrupt our computing experience and gobble up our precious RAM with sleazy sales pitches. Like spam, popups destroy what should be a wonderful computing experience.

I lived with popups for too long, methodically shutting down window after window—that I never opened in the first place! And if my best girl used my computer, why there'd be a dozen come-ons I'd have to double-click out of.
So I was mighty glad when STOPzilla gave me a call and asked me to review their popup blocker. It didn't take but two seconds for me to start the arrangements.

STOPzilla claims its edge is preventing the popups that arise out of adware and spyware. Heck, I don't care where they come from, as long as they go away.

Installation was a simple download (they're almost all simple these days, especially the adware and spyware) and the keying in of a typically complex and unmemorable license key (write it down somewhere!).

STOPzilla has three main user-interface elements. The intro screen pops up (isn't that ironic) upon startup and also roars for some reason. I actually find this sound as soothing as an old 9600 baud modem making a connection. It sounds like something good is happening. It sounds like victory.

Then there is a small window that shows the URLs of the blocked popups. And everytime a popup is stopped, the computer makes a nice little noise—just to remind you of all the annoyance you're missing. You can use this screen to allow select URLs to make it through the blocker.

The main window is for configuration, and it's about as simple as a Playstation game. You can set it to either allow or block. This way, if you are on a site with lots of popups you actually want, they can be let through en masse.

I had one issue with dysfunctional Windows Media Player videos from MSNBC.com, but it wasn't STOPzilla's fault. A simple video player upgrade solved the problem. I did eventually run into problems with MSN radio, but that is a small price to pay for no more popups.

Well, almost no more. In over two months, only three popups made it past the STOPzilla barrier. Sweet.

STOPzilla claims its edge on its competitors is its ability to stop popups that come from adware/spyware. (For a review of Google's toolbar, which includes a pop-up blocker, click here; or read the head-to-head review here.) The company claims that some 80 percent of all popups derive from this insidious software, which can come from downloading a simple weather-tracking tool or file-sharing client. To test this theory, I downloaded AdAware 6.0 from Lavasoft and dispensed with 30 files related to spyware/adware.

For me, the main issue is usability. STOPzilla works, is easy to set to allow all popups, or through the blacklist, to allow specific popups. It is unobtrusive, and has made computing more joyous.

Running pop-up blockers is a great idea, but it's not enough. Your organization should have clear guidelines about spyware. Users should not download every new tool such as Kazaa or Weatherbug—many of them hide spyware. And you should consider filtering software that weeds out these URLs. And regularly going through workstations to remove spyware is a great idea for any shop.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, May 31, 2010

i downloaded stopzilla and it fixed my problem but now microsoft is saytin it needs updates to support stopzilla.. so i called microsoft and they wanted to charge me 139 dollars to update my pc this is bullshit.. does anybody have a free solution..

Thu, Jan 15, 2009 Anonymous Anonymous

Excuse me. Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
I am from Japan and bad know English, tell me whether I wrote the following sentence:

Fri, Jul 18, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous

It look okay to me

Sun, Mar 16, 2008 Madmarty Anonymous

Hi there
Used stopzilla for 6 months now had no problems with pop ups and is excellent at detecting trojans and pick them usuall befor avg pro.

Sun, Dec 23, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

This software works its way into your computer as a trojan causing the very problems it claims to resolve. Then after paying money for service the problems magically go away because it was caused by this software in the first place. I'm not sure if that is the way this organization operated back in 2004 when this article was written, but that's the way they are trying to generate business now. NO ETHICS!

Mon, Aug 6, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

WeatherBug Doesnt have spyware attached with it..Do your homework. Stopzilla Sucks.

Sat, Aug 4, 2007 Ben Davenport

This is nuts. He raves about STOPZilla and badmouths WeatherBug. The scary part is he is an editor. Please get serious. Very Poor

Sat, Mar 3, 2007 ken portland, oregon

I've had Stopzilla for almost a year...no problems at all, and more to the point, my web usage is extensive - yet trouble free. No hesitation in making a recommendation.

Thu, Feb 8, 2007 Azza Anonymous

This software is crap! Blogging about its good points is also crap. Sybots FREE and realy does work. It let nothing through.

Sun, Nov 26, 2006 Curtis Ohio

I found through installing this program on various machines it is either hit or miss. On some computers it works flawlessly on others it seems to attract more pop-ups.
However this program works extremly well on my home computer and I give it 5 stars. My recommendation to people is to try the trial and if it works use if not it won't.

Sun, Nov 26, 2006 Wayne Aus

I had trouble wit Virus Burster malware on my system spybot and adware couldn't remove it. Stopzilla got rid of it in one hit and deleted 55 files etc that weren't picked up by the others. Saved my computer.

Tue, Aug 29, 2006 Darkman Anonymous

My IE somehow got messed up after STOPzilla installation.. It didn't want to run :(

Upon uninstalling STOPzilla and fixing couple of things with "Hijack This", IE is running OK now again.. And i am happy..

So i will just stick with what i am running currently - AntiVir Antivirus, SpyBot, Spyware Blaster, Ad-aware )))))

Thu, Aug 10, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Who would use Stopzilla to stop popups when they themselves create popups to sell their crap!!! I'd rather trust all my money to the corner crackhead!!!!!!

Fri, Jul 21, 2006 Eddie Kesler Scotland

Been running STOPzilla v4.3 for 3 days and what a relief. I would sugest those getting trouble are running pirate copy of the programme. IT doe's what it says on the tin!!!!!!!!!

Sun, Jul 9, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

stopzilla sucks. i'm not just saying this.

Mon, Jun 19, 2006 Aron Chicago

You have a very interesting site...

Wed, Jun 14, 2006 Dominic Kiev

You have a very interesting site...

Tue, Jun 13, 2006 Arnie Los Angeles

You have a very interesting site...

Tue, Jun 13, 2006 Kir US

You have a very interesting site...

Thu, May 4, 2006 jura Anonymous

stopzilla is great.I have trial version but I am thinking about buying it.

Sat, Mar 25, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

cant get rid of the crap

Thu, Mar 23, 2006 W Tuck England

Stopzilla froze my Millenium desk-top and required a reformat of C: to get rid of it. I never used it and wrote the cost off to experience. Now I find Stopzilla have kept unauthorized credit card data of mine and charged me - again unauthorized - $30 for another year's subscription. Telephone calls at intenational rates are put on hold and emails from me to them have been ignored.
AVOID stopzilla like the plague.

Tue, Feb 28, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

love it

Fri, Feb 10, 2006 Lisa Ohio

I bought it and it seemed to work but when I ran a virus scan it said stopzilla is infected with the RDA.Fighter*2

Thu, Feb 2, 2006 Cheesed! PA

I downloaded and began the install... then a dialog box appeared saying the program needed to close all browsers; instead of clicking OK, I closed the dialog window since I had 16 Internet Explorer applications open. What happened next? IDIOTzilla promptly closed all 16 browsers before closing itself.

THANKS a bunch!

Thu, Dec 29, 2005 Anonymous Anonymous

STOPZilla - never use it. A site installed "something" on my computer. When I went to Norton to remove it all that came up was STOPZILLA. I sued Google and clicked on the Norton link and all that came up was install STOPZILLA. I did it. And all if did was insatlled more spyware on my computer and told me I would need to pay cash to remove the spyware it installed. Don't do business with this illegal company.

Mon, Aug 29, 2005 unsatisfied massachusettes

you 14 day trial is not enough-couldnt you be more generous like other companies to offer it for free.

Tue, Aug 23, 2005 Anonymous Anonymous

Not Shure

Thu, Jul 21, 2005 JandSB QuickStop

You ignorants out there are overlooking a quality product. Perhaps if you weren't busy being knee deep in porn sites you would realize that STOPzilla offers REAL-TIME protection. Something very few anti-spyware programs contain. Not to mention that they release new updates on a DAILY basis.

5 Stars all the way.

Fri, Jul 8, 2005 Anonymous Anonymous

Working from a hotel room via a good wireless connection - installed STOPZilla this morning and lost my connection. I uninstalled the program, but no luck. Still no connection. I cleared the program from the Registry and performed a system restore to the previous evening. NO LUCK!
Solution: After doing all of the above, I had to remove & re-install the Netgear Wireless software, because SUCKZilla attached itself to my wireless utility.
I do not recommend this to anyone.

Thu, Apr 21, 2005 john NY

I Had the same experience as others, my computer was hijacked and I could only get to the Stopzilla homepage..so I paid the money to have the software installed..it has not removed the spyware, my homepage is still being taken over and I am constantly being knocked off line by the spyware. I called theri phone support...THEY DID NOT ANSWER FOR AN HOUR..and then just told me to remove and downlaod again..this I did and within 10 minutes my homepage was hijacked again..DO NOT BUY

Mon, Feb 28, 2005 Anonymous Anonymous

My brand new computer got infected with something I can't remove - the link the hijacking software gives is for Stopzilla. Is this the "we'll infect your computer, making it useless, then try to sell our product to fix it." method?

Stopzilla deserves a kick in the nuts. Now.

Mon, Feb 14, 2005 Dreamweaver Anonymous

The last set of malware that I got on my computer basically told me to install "Stopzilla". It took me over an hour to get rid of what I now call the "Stopzilla Parasite Package". I had to remove over a hundred files that kept trying to reinstall themselves. This is like finding advertisements for a home security system being left by burglars in your home. Would you use them?

Tue, Dec 14, 2004 Jim Atlanta

This Company markets their software by installing very persistent adware & spyware on unsuspecting "customers" and then offering to remove it for the price of buying the software. After purchasing the software the blackmail continues. STAY FAR AWAY!!! and be suspect of anyone who recommends this software.

Sat, Dec 4, 2004 LEE CT

I read the Post. all i have to say is that I have NEVER had a Prob. using Stopzilla. Pop ups are gone and as far as this so called spyware I ran anti-spy and nothing Came up. If i'm missing something Please feel free to tell me. But i have to say i have never Had any problems with pop-ups

Mon, Nov 22, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Don't be fooled, this software is bad for your computer. It is spyware, adware, malware, and everything else rolled up into a little package. Beware!

Sun, Nov 21, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Stopzilla did everything that I hoped that it would do. It is highly unusual for any software program to hit the mark so effectively.

Thu, Nov 4, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Well worth the money. I can't imagine why anyone would badmouth this product - unethical competitors maybe? STOPZilla saved my machine and my sanity. Long live STOPZilla.

Tue, Jul 20, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

The Best popup stopper ever ;-)

Thu, Jul 1, 2004 Nchantim Anonymous

Stopzilla? they only reason I ever heard about this P.O.C. software was in a popup that something installed on my system. No thanks to your "protection" scam.

Tue, Jun 1, 2004 STOPZillaSucks Your moms house

STOPZilla sucks. It brings more pop-ups than it removes. They couldn't pay me $19.95/year to use it. You think KaZaa and Weatherbug brings pop-ups? STOPZilla brings more. And the annoying dragon roar. I am hooked on SpyBot right now. And it is free. Since I have been using SpyBot, I have not seen any pop-ups. Problem solved, next!!!

Mon, May 31, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

this fucken shit cannot be removed

Wed, Mar 31, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

sucks

Tue, Mar 23, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

No need for third party software, the next version of Internet Explorer will have it's own pop-up stopper.

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