I’ve fallen for them, and chances are you’ve probably fallen for them, too: multi-page slideshows that promise to give you 45 pictures of something interesting only to refresh the entire page with each picture. It’s an annoying, terrible user experience put together for the purpose of maximizing ad impressions.
Advertising is important for any free information site, but at what cost? I’ve seen these idiotic slideshow tactics being pulled on a wide range of sites including CBS News and virtually every gaming site out there. It’s not a fun experience, but the voice inside us crying out for information about which celebrities have opened their own restaurants or what video game characters are the “hottest” of all time makes us click the link and fall for that slow, buggy slideshow scheme every time.
Look, I get advertising as a revenue source. At LockerGnome, we have ads up to support what we do. It’s how bills get paid and the lights stay on. No one wants to craft a slideshow for free, nor should anyone. The problem as I see it is that site designers have decided that making someone load the entire page 45 times is better than providing a single slideshow interface that switches between images with the click of a button. It’s greedy, and I hate seeing it.
What Can You Do About It?
The alternative is not viewing the content. It’s the only way to really send a message to the site owner that you don’t appreciate this sacrifice of user experience.
An unethical person would turn to ad blockers to at least keep that part of the page from hogging up bandwidth, but I know how terrible employing a tactic like that really is. Ad blockers cost me and everyone else who makes a living producing online content their livelihoods. A site that should make a certain amount of money through traffic is, instead, put into the red because its bandwidth isn’t even being paid for. So, in a sense, these slideshows hurt sites that aren’t even using them.
Let’s say you really like the content that a site puts out, but this annoying page reload is getting on your nerves. You can reach out to the site manager by way of its contact page to express your disappointment at their decision to employ multi-page slideshows to generate more revenue. Chances are, they may not really care since the cash is flowing, but if enough people complain, then there’s a good chance they’ll take it to heart. After all, the risk of losing your regular viewers is in many ways more worrying to a site manager than the loss of $0.02 per thousand views. Who clicks on ads during a slideshow, anyway?
Tip for Site Owners
Good ad placement practices means placing ads where people are more likely to find something interesting and give them a click. Slideshows are terrible places to put ads unless you slip them in between slides here and there. That puts the ad directly in the visitor’s view without reloading the entire page to do so. End your slideshow with an ad. You might be surprised at how much more money you make that way.
You may also consider leading the user to other pages of your site at the end of a slideshow. Something worded like this: “You’ve seen 25 celebrities who drive a Prius. Now see 25 celebrities who totaled their sports cars!”
Am I wrong in this? Do you agree? Please weigh in with your experiences below.
Angry Woman by Vera Kratochvil