At a time when pop-up advertising seems to be suffering a fatal fall from favour, London-based Vibrant Media is launching a new, pleasingly unobtrusive way for companies to promote their products on the web.

The company's 'double-underline' IntelliTXT service turns relevant words in web articles into links to advertising material. Web users can click through to the advertisements they are actually interested in and just ignore the links that don't appeal.

Vibrant media so far have agreements with 150 websites to carry their double-underlines links, and are hoping their launch today will generate further interest to make IntelliTXT a viable alternative to the more in-your-face banners and pop-ups web users currently find obscuring the sites they read.

“IntelliTXT works because it is based on the concept that effective advertising should not be a diversion, but something users find relevant, timely and useful,” says Doug Stevenson, CEO of Vibrant Media. The company claims that their links generate 24-times the responses that banner placements receive.

Meanwhile, pop-up advertisements, which research in 2003 by found to be only 13-times as successful as banners, are the subject of mounting hostility from internet users and service providers alike.

ISPs such as AOL and EarthLink include pop-up controls in the services they offer, and Microsoft's Windows XP service Pack 2, available this year, will include a built-in pop-up blocker for Internet Explorer. Research from Forrester's Consumer Technology Survey claims that around 20 per cent of surfers use pop-up blocker software.

Many internet advertising firms are developing equally intrusive alternatives to pop-ups, such rich-media material that streams audio and video and scroll text and images across the screen. But Vibrant Media are hoping that surfers will continue to respond favourably to their user-activated advertising.

“From today the green, double-underlined words will start appearing in online articles,” says Vibrant's Stevenson. “We hope web users will click through them, but only if they want to.”