Bad web site behavior

We can all get angry at the occasional news report or tweet that we disagree with, but there is something that drives me into serious anger: web sites that wrest control of my browser away from me. It used to be we had to deal with annoyances like browser windows being resized. Or those that played music (often crappy renditions of something that sound like a reject from a Wendy Carlos album). Pop-up ads and windows became another annoyance, and browser apps soon had a feature allowing us to block them.

But today some web sites feel they have the right to take control of my browser. This morning I had my latest encounter with this frustration. A local news site has a video embedded along with its story. That’s fine, I can watch video of the newscast report if I want. But then the damn thing starts playing an ad—and there is no way to stop it. I have to hit the mute button. Then come the modern day versions of the pop-up ad. You know, those things that show up over the web page, can’t be moved out of the way, and have the smallest darn place to click and close it.

What I don’t understand is the thinking that goes on. Do web site publishers think we consumers like this treatment? If that’s not it, what are they thinking? I understand they are desperate for ad revenues to support their businesses, but web sites that behave this way are the equivalent of restaurants where the servers bring food to your table without letting you order and then force feed the food to you. That model would drive customers away in droves, and the same goes for web sites.

If you are a web site publisher, please—please—don’t do these kinds of things. Let us keep control and make our own choices. If you respect us as readers, we are far more likely to return to your site.

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