The fact that the inventor of the pop-up ad felt he needed to apologise for his invention 20 years down the line is symptomatic of the feelings most people have towards adverts on the internet today.
As the internet has grown, and become an increasingly competitive market, ad revenue has been the vehicle for a lot of this growth.
But what if we could get rid of all the pop-up ads for penis enlargements (it's not just me is it?); the ads that take over the entire page you are trying to read; or the pre-roll adverts on videos which are longer than the videos themselves?
Sounds all very utopian, but of course it would come at a cost, as the internet could not operate in the way it does at the moment without the revenue from those annoying ads.
But what is that cost? Well according to new research it turns out an ad-free internet would cost in-or-around £140-a-year per internet user, which is less than most people spend on their smartphone bills and more than most pay for penis enlargements every year.
No one will pay
While the number could have been plucked from thin air, it was actually calculated by taking the spend on digital advertising in 2013 (£6.3bn according to IAB) and dividing it by the number of UK internet users (45 million according to ONS).
So how many of us would be willing to live in this utopian online world free of annoying adverts at a cost of just over £10 a month?
Very few apparently. According to a survey of over 1,400 UK internet users by video ad platform Ebuzzing, just two out of every 100 people are willing to pay for an ad-free internet.
Online publications are still trying to figure out a business model that works, as traditional banner ads do not engage users and are therefore almost completely ineffective.
As well as finding that people are unwilling to pay for an ad-free internet, the study found the quality of online advertising - in particular video ads - must improve "especially to keep younger consumers engaged".
Skip Ad Now
The study shows that when it comes to video ads, whenever possible we click to skip them. The study found that 63% of UK web users skip online video ads "as quickly as possible" with that figure rising to 75% for 16-24 year olds.
The study also found that the use of ad-blocking software is also on the rise, with 16% of all browsers using some form of ad-blocking technique, which all adds to the problems facing advertisers as the way people use the internet matures.
Jeremy Arditi from Ebuzzing said: "Poorly made or poorly placed ads get ignored, which means publishers lose out. We need to get better at engaging, not better at interrupting. That means introducing new formats which consumers find less invasive, more creative ads that are better placed, and giving consumers a degree of choice and control."