Monday, May 4, 2009

More mild silliness from the world of online publishing

Continuing the theme of "advertising, sure, obnoxious advertising, no," I was just browsing a well-known site I hadn't been to in a while, reading a reasonably interesting post. The post had a link to an earlier post on the same site. It looked interesting, so I clicked through and started reading.

Not long afterwards, the entire page grayed out and a big honking popup popped up telling me that I could keep reading if I registered with their site. If there was any indication this was coming, I sure missed it. Ah, the joys of ECMAScript.


I'm used to seeing the first couple of paragraphs of an article with a link labeled something like "Registered users can click here for the rest of the article" and another for "Register now." There are several variants on that theme, of course. It's standard fare in the academic world where anyone can see the abstract but you have to order the article (unless I'm mistaken, that model predates the web).

But this is one step beyond. Not only can I not see the rest of the article, I can't even see what I was just looking at before the obnoxious popup came along. Make up your mind: Do you want me to read it or not? Guess I'll just have to view the page source ...

Except here's the weird thing. I went back to the page to see the popup in action again, the better to snipe at it ... and it wasn't there. Clicked on a link to something else archival looking. Nope. Another link? Still nothing. I'm starting to think I imagined the whole thing. But it looked so vivid and lifelike.

So what's the point? I'm guessing their script wasn't working quite as intended. Either that or it's some sort of online game of "flinch". Will this popup scare you away from trying to read the rest of the article? No? Well, OK, I guess you can go ahead ... but I made you flinch, didn't I?

1 comment:

earl said...

Yeah, but, uh, why?