Essays on Technology and Culture

The Second Pop-Up War

What we’re witnessing here is the first wave of the second world pop-up war. Those of us who lived through the first one can only describe the horrors to our disbelieving children. This time though, the pop-ups are winning because we don’t yet have the tools to fight back. The web has seemingly evolved into something that actively antagonises people — why would anyone in their right mind hide the content that visitors are there to see?

The Value of Content — I. M. H. O. — Medium

Andy Beaumont just launched Tab Closed; Didn’t Read, a blog collecting the worst abuses of obscuring content with newsletter subscription forms, app promotions, or any other awful crap that gets in the way between the reader and what they came to see. Naturally, some people are confused and angry, because those tools “work.” They get “conversions,” measured in signups, follows, or whatever miserable metric they’re trying to juice.

This behavior shows a complete disrespect for your audience. It’s the digital equivalent of a store having people shove coupons and flyers in your face as you enter. The difference is that in real life, it’s easy to avoid them, or just trash what they hand you. Online, most people don’t know how to escape, short of capitulation. And it’s ruining how we use the web.