Close to landing a corporate sponsor, that is. It’s no secret that everybody hates pop-up ads – those mini-browser windows that spring up every time you want to look at something important, like the new dates for Liz Phair or Tori Amos. Pop-ups are all over the Net, and hardly a day goes by when a normally sane and sound Web surfer is pushed over the edge by the appearance of pop-up ads pushing home mortgage companies, free iPods or sexy singles supposedly living just down the street. Yeah, there have been lots of problems related to pop-up ads. Problems causing untold death, destruction and all-around mayhem.

But pop-ups make up the engine fueling free content on the Web. Web users like you have grown accustomed to accessing vital information at no charge. You’re used to seeing dates for Better Than Ezra and Alanis Morissette without any debit against your current economic reserves. You want to look at the schedules for Anne Murray, Loggins & Messina and The White Stripes without paying a fee or leaving a little something in the tip jar. That’s the way the Web works. Companies like this one with thousands of workers catching, cleaning and prepping raw data so that you can have free information at your fingertips. And those rascally pop-up ads? Hate ’em if you must, but pop-ups pay the bills.

That’s why we decided to seek out a corporate sponsor, for we figured that if we could entice a sponsor to pick up the entire tab, including the cost of coding, posting, loading and toasting, that we could do away with those pop-up ads that get in your face every time you look up the routings for bands like Styx and artists like Paul Weller and Michael W. Smith. Our mission was to get rid of all the pop-ups forever. And that’s a long time.

So we called all the usual suspects. Benevolent corporations willing to take the corporate sponsorship plunge. We wined the Viagra people, and we dined the folks from Depends. We partied hardy with the bean counters from GEICO, and we tossed back more than a few with the execs from Victoria’s Secret. We talked eyeball count, user count, click-thru count and the average number of our employees who are down for the count. And, just when it looked as if we had an agreement, the deal fell off of the table faster than Russell Crowe can throw a telephone. We were heartbroken. We were dazed. What’s more, we were confused.

But we’ll keep searching for a corporate sponsor. That’s because here at we learn from our mistakes. Even as you read this, we’re taking a cold-hard look at what went wrong in our quest for corporate welfare. What’s more, we feel that we’ve nailed the problem. Someday, yes someday, will be pop-up free, and you’ll be able to look up dates for The Allman Brothers Band, Bret Michaels and Journey, and never, ever be bothered by one of those pesky pop-up ads again. Mark our words, we’re not going to blow it the next time we come so close to inking a deal. We know what went wrong in our last attempt to bring a corporate sponsor to, and we’re not going to make the same mistake twice.

For one thing, come the next time we’re about to land a corporate sponsor, we won’t release his wife and kids until after his check clears. Sometimes the devil really is in the details.