Is It Just Me, Or Are Web Sites Becoming Unusable Lately?
Bill Quick

I’ve given up on more and more of the news sites I used to read, because they are now structured so heavily to optimize clicks and pageviews that you can’t read the damned articles, what with pop ups, flow-overs, crawls, auto-reloads, and a host of other tricks designed to make it look like a lot more people are reading these sites than really are.

I’m not sure I understand what the site designers think they are gaining by making their sites unusable, but somebody must think they’re making money off this approach.



Posted in Technology permalink
Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Is It Just Me, Or Are Web Sites Becoming Unusable Lately? — 10 Comments

  1. Yes, it’s an issue.

    I largely avoid it by running NoScript (the Firefox plugin; there’s an equivalent for Chrome) to block the JavaScript and Flash which runs the popups and most other annoying behavior. And for extreme cases I’ve tweaked my computer to block anything coming from some sites where blocking the scripts isn’t enough.

    The super-annoying bit is that many sites are designed not to display their content without JavaScript running. I’ll normally just say Screw It; rarely I’ll temporarily enable some JS to get the content.

    And don’t worry, Bill. I’ve tuned the settings so the ads come through on DP. (And for that matter I’ll sometimes click ads, on the assumption that it’ll get you more revenue.) I don’t mind supporting sites through ad views, it’s just the super-annoying popups and flashing sidebars that I refuse to tolerate.

      • I use Chrome and Adblock Plus. I don’t generally block JS as such, but ABP does a pretty darn good job of nuking unwanted stuff. A neat trick in Chrome and IE: (I assume FF has this but haven’t bothered looking because I hate FF) hit F12 to bring up the developer tools. From there you can click on an icon (varies between browsers) that lets you select a UI element. You can then hit the delete key to remove it from the layout. It’s, among other things, awesome for killing the kind of overlays sites like to use to keep you from seeing content until you give them your email for their newsletter.

        Like SteveF, I also configure ABP to not block ads here and on a handful of other sites.

  2. A recent trick is to place a narrow banner ad near the bottom of the page. Clicking on the very small X dismisses the ad (or sometimes by error calls up the ad link). Dismissing the banner triggers a new page which is layered under the first one. Later, that page shows and requires dismissing. I suppose this gets around the no-popup settings in the browser (Firefox).

    It is a rare article which is worth the clickfest.

    • Actually they’re already starting countermeasures: I’ve seen a couple sites that complain if you use an ad blocker. Download sites, so far, are the worst: someone’s using an ad-based captcha where you have to watch a 10-15 second commercial to get the word you need to type in. I’ve only seen that in a couple places, though.