Do they really call it “Intellitxt?”

Update May 2007: This entry is out-of-date, for current info, please go here.
Over the last several weeks I’ve noticed that yet another web ad delivery mode has crept into some of the technology websites I read (such as 2cpu). The sites in question have certain words in the text of an article printed in constrating colors with double underlines. Hovering the mouse pointer over the words brings up tool-tip-type ads for products related to the underlined word. At first I thought maybe my browser was doing it of its own accord, but that turned out not to be the case.

A little sleuthing of HTML source revealed that the sinister force behind these ads is a company called Vibrant Media. Their patent-pending product is known as Intellitxt and appears to be javascript powered, at least from what I saw in the source of an article on
Intellitxt annoys for a couple of reasons. the content of the ads has nothing at all to do with the content of the article. Example: “single” in the context of a “single CPU system” on 2cpu brought up ads for online dating services. Second, it’s an echo of Microsoft’s mostly unlamented smart tags, except much harder for the technically uninitiated to turn off on the client side. Harder to turn off, but not impossible.
Here are a handful of ways to turn off Intellitxt:

  • Don’t use Internet Explorer. The Javascript apparently only works in IE5 or later.
  • In IE, add sites using Intellitxt to the “Restricted Sites” zone. In a browser window, select Tools->Internet Options, click the Security tab, select the Restricted Sites icon then click the “Sites…” button and add the offending website’s URL to the list.
  • Turn off active scripting. In a browser window, select Tools->Internet Options, click the Security tab, select the Internet zone icon and click the “Custom Level…” button. The Security Settings dialog will appear. Scroll down the list of items until you see “Active Scripting.” Change this setting to “Disable” or “Prompt”.
  • Set’s IP address to in your hosts file. That’s the host referenced in the Intellitxt script URL I plucked from the article. This will prevent your computer from retrieving the script.