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February 5th, 2007:

Jihad Against Websites That Artificially Maximize Page Views

I was checking out the new Judy’s Book in an attempt to find a good local accountant. Well, it’s terrible. But of all the ways (incomplete, too many ads, too cluttered, unhelpful categorization, navigational and search deficiencies) in which it’s terrible, there is one which stands out:

Judy’s Book sells out its users by trading our attention and RSI affliction for extra page views.

What I mean by this is that there is no way to look at an object / entity (in this case, a local business that is reviewed), and see at a glance all the relevant information and reviews. You have to click through to a new page in order to read more than the first several words of each review (of which there may be many for each reviewee). This makes it impossible to quickly scan and get a feel for the business you’re looking at. Maybe the use testers at Judy’s Book are slow readers or in some other way deficient, but any modern infovore is well-adapted to scanning and snarfing. The difference is like ordering a Porterhouse and getting a pile of steak bites.

They must be getting CPM advertising rates, because the only rational reason for pissing off and insulting your users like this is to jack up your page view metrics. (As an example of how much people hate this, consider that it’s seen as bad netiquette to post links to the “online” version of a news story when there is a single page “printable” version available for non-moronic reading.)

So, I’m now on a jihad against websites that conceal information unnecessarily behind “read more” or similar links in order to drive additional page views. Don’t do it. Or else I will get whiney (and get carpal tunnel syndrome from clicking your damn “read more” links).