How NOT to post technical data

While looking for photometric information on HID lighting, I visited the website of a major producer. After searching the site for half an hour, I called their technical service line. Their representative was very helpful, and told me where to look on the webpage. When I followed her instructions, I found this:

Names and identifying brand information removed where possible

The text is a little hard to read in this screen shot; it says:
"You have been redirected to http://XXXX/b2c/ in a new browser window. Please continue browsing the XXXX  web site within this browser window." 
What you do not see is the technical information I needed, which means, were I a designer, they would have lost the sale. Why not? Because I use a pop-up blocker when I surf the net. The customer service rep recommended I turn the blocker off to browse their site.

Yeah; right. Let me turn off my virus protection while I'm at it.

Here's the problem: pop-up ads are a type of spam. Not legally, yet, but in terms of how they effect the web browsing experience, and how people react to them. They are also among the easiest types of spam to block; websites usually need to ask permission to open a new window, and pop-up blockers are set to always respond "no".

Not everyone uses pop-up blockers, but the number that do is steadily growing. More importantly, most, if not all, early adopters use them. In other words, the people most likely to be searching for non-established, high-performance new building products.

This is the same problem I have with Flash intros to websites; why are you putting a potential technological barrier between your customer and your product?

The advantage to using a pop-up is site visitors can access new resources without using their place on the current page. This is most useful when the new resource exists outside of your site. For example, if I wanted to show you something on the Concrete Decor Show & Spring Training blog I would set it to open in a new window because I want to share their site but do not want you to leave mine. This lighting company's use of pop-ups does not make sense, because the technical information is still within their website.

Pop-ups are one of those design tools that currently live in a grey area. Using them is not "wrong", but they are annoying enough, poorly used, that it almost does not matter. If you feel your website benefits from using pop-ups sparingly, use them. But never hide important information behind one.