You’re of course familiar with radio and TV teases: “After the break, we’ll tell you about blah, blah, blah.” I once came up with the idea of timing the “news” and the teases during a newscast but it didn’t seem worth the trouble.
The phenomenon seems to have made its way to online media. Both the Journal Constitution and Creative Loafing here in Atlanta seem to be spending more time telling me what I’ll find on the site than they spend telling me what they know.
Instead of having a link to an AJC reporter’s piece on whatever, I’m finding more and more that there’s an interstitial piece that tells me about an article that I’ll just love if I click here. Why not just list the articles with a description on the home page and be done with it?
Creative Loafing’s food honcho is Besha Rodell. Lately, you won’t find links to the other food writers’ pieces on the food page. You have to click on her post that tells you what a good time you’ll have if you click on the other writers’ posts. Doesn’t she have better things to do, like go eat some food and write a review?
Then there’s the “click to read more” gambit. You read an article and click to go to the next page only to find that there is no actual next page, just another click to get to the comments. On my phone, the AJC loves to have multiple page stories, each “page” consisting of two or three paragraphs. Do they think that their advertisers don’t know they are inflating their page views?
Now I know that there’s a happy medium to be obtained between page length and loading time; but, NYTimes.com, on a computer and on a phone, seldom makes you click to a “next page” unless it’s a really, really long article. Better software or less manipulation?