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An Open Letter to Webmasters

May 16th, 2010 - 11:21 am

Dear Self-Defeating Fools,

You’re out of control, and it’s got to stop. You think you’re helping us. You think you’re helping your employers. Of course, what you’re actually doing as annoying us all to hell and making us hate your employer. Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should. Allow me to give you three examples.

Let a hyperlink be a hyperlink. When I want a link to open in a new window, I know the key combination to make that happen. When I want a link to open in a new tab, I know the key combination to make that happen, too. And when I want a link simply to take me to the got-dam link, I want it to do just that thing. Your tricky little HTML code to make my browser behave the way you want it to, just makes me hate your site. Mmkay?

Oh, and that goes double for Flash-based sites, where Whomever only knows what will happen at any given moment. Stop it.

Get out of my clipboard. Let me repeat that: Get out of my clipboard. Don’t put things in there I didn’t highlight myself. I’m talking to you, Politico. Want to know why I almost never quote Politico stories anymore? Look at this screencap from a Politico story, and take note of the highlighted text:

The highlighted text is what I expect to find when I paste. But take a look at what Politico’s idiot/rude/stupid/abusive webmaster has done:

That’s right — they’ve put an effing advertisement, and a working link, in my clipboard. Of course, the link doesn’t work as-is, when I post the text to VodkaPundit. So even if by some stupid chance I did want their ad, it doesn’t do me (or Politico) any good. So, every time I post text from Politico, they force me to delete a bunch of extraneous stuff.

In short, Politico’s idiot/rude/stupid/abusive webmaster makes it more difficult for me to send him traffic. Or as we call traffic here on the innerwebs: Money. So I don’t do it anymore, unless I absolutely must. Which is near-never.

Finally, get over the whole hover-command thing for ads/Diggs/Tweets/menus/etc. If I don’t click it, it shouldn’t pop up — just like every single other thing on my computer has behaved for almost 20 years. And if I didn’t click it, I certainly shouldn’t have to click it to make it go away. I’m sick and tired of having to spend half my time worried about where my cursor is, when all I’m trying to do is scroll down your page. And if I’m scrolling down your page, it’s to see if I want to quote it, and send traffic your way. Don’t make it a pain-in-the-rear for me to send you money. Dig?

Most of the smarter webmasters finally gave up on popover, popunder and click-the-monkey trickery. Now it’s time for you to give up on the rest.

Yours,

-Steve.

PS Bit.ly, this all goes triple for you — you suck now. I’m taking my business elsewhere.

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