Thursday, January 8, 2004
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If Jerry Seinfeld was a dedicated blogger....
Is this a sign of prestige? Am I, as a reader, supposed to be wowed by the fact I get to click a couple more times to look at the whole story? Is this going to make me think, "Wow, it took five clicks to read the whole story. That's quality journalism."posted by Dan on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM
Hey, I noticed that too.
I think they're trying to get more page views, to increase their ad revenue.
It's marginal, true, but every little click counts, right?posted by: Smash on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
Excellent point, Prof. I'm not sure there's much that irritates me more than multiple page stories online!posted by: Nathan on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
This sounds more like Andy Rooney!posted by: alonzo church on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
it's not at all about prestige, and completely about pageviews.
(you'll notice if you click "Print This Article" in the WP's site, instead of clicking on the second page, you still get an ad on the new webpage. either way, wp.com gets their 1/10th of a cent)
if they really were prestigious, you think they'd pretend to be doing well enough off dead-tree subscriptions to not need click-through revenue...posted by: mike d on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
Like Smash said, I'm sure it's a ad revenue thing. At least with NYT articles, you can stick &pagewanted=all onto the link and get the full story--it even seems to work with the "Userland permalink hack" method.posted by: Chris Lawrence on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
It's not just your imagination--Reuters has been doing it too, and it annoys the shit out of me.
Salon and Time have been doing it for a while, but that's mainly because they like to give you the first little bit as a teaser and then hit you up for a premium subscription to read the rest.posted by: Catsy on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
A more benign possible explanation comes to mind: Somewhere along the way, their designers have picked up the idea that an online page should contain no more than X words, or should scroll no more than X screenfuls deep, or whatever other metric you dream up ... and they've paginated their extremely long stories accordingly.
Remember that these are people who for the most part come from a world where long articles never run in one piece -- they always jump to inside pages. Pagination of text, even in a scrolling medium, may strike them as natural, not as an inherently stupid idea.posted by: Mike on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
I can somewhat understand parsing long newspaper articles, but parsing 700-word columns in the Weekly Standard is just weird.posted by: Robert Tagorda on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
As everyone has already pointed out, it's definitely about increasing the number of hits and pageviews on any particular site.
I noticed The Weekly Standard started doing this about a month ago. It a bit annoying, but what the heck? It's free!
Yep, it's definitely the ad revenue. That's why I always look for a printer-friendly version of any article and read/link to that. One site caught on to that, too,and started making you view an ad befor eseeing the printer-friendly version. Groan. Might have been NYT, I think, but they seem to have stopped. Maybe they realized how incredibly annoying that is!posted by: Robert Stribley on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
I am still quite amused by the entire page-click revenue model. If I didn't buy something from the ad on the first page am I going to do it on the second or third page??? It takes me the same amount of time to read a certain amount of words so it's not like I'm actually going to be exposed to more ads, right?
And isn't the Post (and other papers) ripping off the advertising companies by changing what was a 1 page-view to 5 page-views just by fiddling around with the way the text is displayed?
Don't web ads pay out in numbers of unique viewers?? Or has something changed?posted by: bubba on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
1. The printer-friendly version is practically unreadable due to the excessive width of the page.
2. The only online publication with dibs on multiple-page stories is The New Yorker, famous in its heyday before the internet for endless, albeit fascinating, stories that started mid magazine and continued on to the last page. And yes, if you managed to finish one of those, you felt a little smarter and a little better than the next guy.posted by: Sissy Willis on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
I travel a lot and use Handstory to gather up a days worth of news and columns to read on the plane. Parsing stories has caused me to sync to more page depth, adding to sync time, using up memory, and generally just being a total pain.posted by: Robert Hall on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
posted by: Spaceboy Spliff on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
Dividing stories into multiple pages might a way to gauge interest in their articles. They could be collecting data on how much of each story people read.posted by: Xavier on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
"I am still quite amused by the entire page-click revenue model. If I didn't buy something from the ad on the first page am I going to do it on the second or third page??? "
Jeff, consider if you said about the TV show Friends: "If they didn't increase the likelihood I'll buy an SUV based on the ad in the first commercial break of Friends am I going to be more likely to buy a Sam Adams based on their ad later in the program?"
It's irrelevant. Broadly speaking, the ads are independent.
1)More page views give them more ad placements.
"It takes me the same amount of time to read a certain amount of words so it's not like I'm actually going to be exposed to more ads, right? ""
Yes. One ad at the top of one long page is one impression. Five ads on the top of five shorter pages is five impressions.
I presume that they sell them based on the current design of the page. If the adertiser doesn't want to buy an ad based on the current design, they won't.
More broadly, I don't click ads (well, very rarely anyway) and think web ads are a bit bogus in some ways, but if it helps keep content free then I'll work with it (up to a certain level).
Everyone sets their own level. For me, multi-pages with ads on each page is a level I can live with.
On a related note, I have a slight distate for people who link to the "print only" version of an article. I think to help keep content free we should link to the standard presentation so the site can get money for serving (and researching, writing, etc) that content.
Just a small bugaboo of mine.
kposted by: keith on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
Seems to me complaining about the flavor of free ice cream is the ultimate in chutzpah.
Those annoying banner ads are *potentially* effective in that they build or reinforce brands. It doesn't completely matter that you don't click on them in the same way that when driving and spot a Coke billboard, you don't pull over at the next exit to buy a can.
Plus, these companies have got money they hafta spend, hey?
Several Salon.com writers have written about how they use the multiple page data to see who "reads" through all the article, and those who don't continue past the first page. There's quite a bit of data that can be gathered from splitting pages across multiple pages.posted by: Trickster Paean on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
Yahoo does something similar in its mail interface. IMHO, it forces you to click thru 2x or 3x the number of (ad filled) pages and you should need to to get anything done vs. if it was designed exclusively with utility in mind.posted by: keggin on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
My favorite style is the International Herald Tribune's. I haven't seen anyone else use it. They have some kind of scripting that provides the "feel" of turning a newspaper page, while keeping the headline and date up at the top. Very attractive.
(Aren't they owned by the New York Times? Perhaps the best and the worst examples are coming from a single company...)posted by: Eve M. on 01.08.04 at 03:33 PM [permalink]
Yes, I love the way the IHT handles articles, too. Surprisingly elegant. And yes I *think* NYT does own the IHT.
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