Mousetrapping is a technique used by websites (usually pornographic) to keep visitors from leaving their website, either by launching an endless series of pop-up ads—known colloquially as a ‘circle jerk’—or by re-launching their website in a window that cannot be closed. Many websites that do this also employ browser hijackers to reset the user’s default homepage. The Federal Trade Commission has brought suits against mousetrappers, charging that the practice is a deceptive and unfair competitive practice.

Typically, mousetrappers register URLs with misspelled names of celebrities (e.g. or companies ( Once the viewer is at the site, a Javascript or a click induced by promises of free samples redirects the viewer to a URL and regular site of the mousetrapper’s client-advertiser, who pays him 10 to 25 cents for capturing and redirecting each potential customer. An FTC press release explaining states: ‘Schemes that capture consumers and hold them at sites against their will while exposing Internet users, including children, to solicitations for gambling, psychics, lotteries, and pornography must be stopped.’


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