Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Prioritising the #content

Morning all.

I tried to read an article during the week about Miguel Azeez on one of those websites which purports to be a local news outlet. That’s probably unfair, it is a local news outlet – albeit run by a bigger company (they have versions for various areas etc) – and we should be mindful of how important they can be.

It’s just that if you are trying to bring people news, one of the most important things would be ensuring it’s possible for people to read the news. I think we all understand the advertising supported publishing model, but this was something else. I loaded the page, and waited for stuff to load, and waited a bit more (on a 1Gb broadband connection btw), and eventually it did.

Mostly.

The page background was an ad. There was an ad at the top which turned into a video ad as soon as I scrolled. There were all kinds of ads at the side. Another video ad. And then some of the story about Miguel Azeez. In the middle of that, some more ads, then there were some pop-ups that took over the screen. Closed those. Got a few more lines of text about Miguel Azeez. Then the page continued to load and load, so I scrolled down and down and down, and further down and down, and more and more ads appeared. Infinite scroll, infinite ads (but it did stop so it was finite in the end but a very large finite).

At first I thought they were recommendations for other stories on the site, because the first couple were along the lines of:

LOCAL MAN FURIOUS AS BIN DAY CHANGED

That kind of thing. But then I realised after the first two they were simply those horrendous ‘content’ style ads served by clickbait farms churning out lists of nonsense nobody needs to spend any of their time on.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT THIS TEEN STAR LOOKS LIKE TODAY

or

PEOPLE IN [DUBLIN]but Dublin would be wherever you areARE GOING WILD FOR THIS INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

or

THE PRICES OF LUXURY APARTMENTS IN MUMBAI MIGHT SURPRISE YOU

In the end, I counted up various ads and counted up the text in the article:

The article had 202 words. It was based around a snippet from an interview he gave to a local BBC radio station about rumours that his loan spell might be cut short because he’s not playing enough. He said:

“Rumours are rumours, the internet always wants to find out things you don’t know. I’m happy here and while I’m here I’m going to give my all.”

The page had a minimum of 53 ads on it. There may well have been more, but I kinda lost count. It works out around 1 ad every 4 words of ‘content’. If you base it off the actual informative bit of the article – Azeez’s 27 word quote – it’s an ad every half a word.

I mean, I get websites need advertising to survive, but does nobody ever look at these things and suggest that sometimes less is more. I know there are ad-blockers and all the rest, but still – there’s got to be some kind of limit, right? Otherwise the entire point of your publication, as a destination for people to find information relevant to their needs etc, becomes moot. People won’t visit because even if they do stay beyond the onslaught of advertising, it’s so hard to read what’s there anyway.

I think football websites are particularly guilty of this kind of thing too. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe I don’t visit enough websites about other sports but in my experience they have been particularly bad down the years and most of them don’t seem to be getting any better. Perhaps it’s because there’s so much competition for clicks these days. Anyway, that’s my little Sunday ramble/rant.

And I’m glad to have mined that important Azeez update for you.

In the meantime, why not check out the post-match reaction from yesterday’s North London derby in which Vivianne Miedama’s late goal saved a point for Arsenal. A cracking header it was too – watch it here.

Tim has his post-match video, and the thoughts of manager Jonas Eidevall on the almost completely ad-free Arseblog News.

Have a great Sunday.

FURY AS COUNCIL NATIVITY SCENE INCLUDES HEADLESS JESUS

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