The Pummeling Pages

Brent Simmons, bemoaning the horrendous-and-only-getting-worse reading experience of many websites:

I worked on TapLynx for about two years, and this meant working closely with a variety of publishers. And most had these things in common:

  1. No money.

  2. No idea where the money’s going to come from.

  3. An unswerving faith in the supreme value of analytics.

  4. A willingness to try anything as long as it’s cheap or free and has analytics. Unless they’re paranoid and afraid for their jobs, which they almost always are, given #1 and #2.

I’ve heard the same story from others, particularly last year, in the aftermath of my piece “Tynt, the Copy/Paste Jerks”. That’s the thing where, when you copy text from a website, Tynt’s JavaScript code appends a bunch of unwanted junk. Why do publishers use stuff like Tynt? After publishing that piece, I got a few emails from rank-and-file staffers at some websites that use Tynt. They all told the same story: everyone hates it except the executives, who don’t care about the user experience and who, like Brent says, will try anything that comes with “analytics”.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011