A perfect example

‘This is a perfect example of go home and do it again… You know what I mean?
Not too long ago, I wrote about how Smashing Magazine and their business was kind of “destroying” the internet. Today I ran into the perfect example of what disgusts me the most. Take a look at this:

What you see here is a page of TheNextWeb magazine. And let me start by stating the following: I love that site. The content is relevant, relaxing and not too serious all the time. So I do like the philosophy of the site. But would you mind taking a look at that screenshot? The red square shows the actual content. Everything else can only be described as

  1. Ads. Really. Advertisements. Hey… It’s okay. They gotta make money somehow, right?
  2. Their own social profiles: They mention every single one of them at least 3 times on that page. I think they might have forgotten they put it there twice before…
  3. Social sharing links: They want you to push their content as far into the web as possible, using any social service they can get their hands on.
  4. Egotripping data: After you shared this article with every living soul on the planet, they tell you what you have done. A thousand diggs! A million retweets! And a billion RSS readers!!! This actually makes me wonder: Does anyone actually care?

Because that overall look of the page annoyed me so much, I made an effort and measured the whole thing up. This is what I came up with.

I had a browser window size that enabled me to view about 1024 pixels width by 768 pixels height. Due to the layout and ads etc, I was only able to actually see 500 px by 463 px of content. At this point you might still not be aware of the real problem.

So let’s talk percentages: The actual content (which is what I got there for in the first place) only represents 30,1% of the page in this window. That’s about 70% of content/data/stuff which I don’t even want to see. So in fact, 70% of this page is what could be considered as spam.

But what’s worse…

Asking people to Digg your stories. Just don’t do it. That’s not how it works. That’s not how it’s supposed to be used. Just write good shit. If you make your stuff worthy of being dugg, people will digg it… How could they possibly forget? You’ve got so much social sharing stuff in there, people might forget why they actually got there in the first place!

This isn’t a paper I’m writing or anything. There’s no conclusion. I just wanted to get this off my chest.
I hate ads but I do understand why people put them up. And I even sympathize great ways of advertising on blogs/websites. I do however not enjoy the way some sites start to look because they lost focus on content and visitors, and end up only worrying about making lots of money. It disgusts me.


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Ronny is a freelance frontend developer with a wild passion for creativity and a relentless hate against flat design. Ronny spent years as a Flash developer before moving to HTML5 and rediscovering fun and happiness.

4 Comments Join the Conversation →

  1. Sarah

    I remember the time when there were only a few ads on thenextweb.
    And there was one/were some (?) spot(s) open, and when you clicked it for more info, you got some rules the ad should follow.
    One of them was “no animated gifs” and the explanation why ( usually ugly, bad for your company and our website; something like that).
    And because they had these rules, the website was pretty, even with the ads.

    And without warning, there suddenly was a: “You’re visitor nr 1.000.000! Click here to win!”-banner.
    And what’s even worse (well, might not be worse but is pretty wtf):
    The navigation is: “about, team, ADVERTISE, conference, contact, forum”
    Advertise is 3th!!!

    The digging doesn’t bother me that much…
    And who are you to talk? You have a “You liked this article? No shit? Well, feel free to donate or share it with your friends using the following links. :)” on your blog 😉


  2. Ronny

    Well that’s the trick: Keep it simple and clean. I’m not hogging the complete page with this stuff :p I’m not forcing this stuff upon you. And that’s what TNW is doing at this point… Well, at least to me :p

  3. Siemer

    Firefox + adblock plus = no more spam

  4. Ronny

    Well, I’m not exactly a Firefox user anymore (long story).
    I guess I could get a adblocker for Safari somewhere, but that backfires too. Sometimes I like to click on ads… But that does not mean you should fill your entire wepage with ads… 😉


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