The use of browser tricks in an effort to keep a visitor captive at a site, often by disabling the “Back” button or generated repeated pop-up windows.
Mousetrapping is one of the most extreme marketing tactics on the Web. The goal is to extract maximum value from one-time visits, typically by bombarding visitors with a never-ending supply of traffic-exchange banners and pay-per-click links.
Aggressive forms of mousetrapping are often found on the “red-light district” of the Web, where precious little consideration is given to the user experience. Since these sites cannot count on repeat visits from satisfied visitors, they often resort to deception to acquire new visitors.
Mousetrapping comes in many varieties. The most mild form of mousetrapping involves disabling the “Back” button. (Note – not all broken “Back” buttons are a result of intentional mousetrapping; some are the result of scripting routines used for other purposes.) More aggressive forms of mousetrapping include disabling of key browser features and continuous loading of pop-up ads.