The internet is sick also. Can we please fix it in 2020?

 
The internet is sick
March 16, 2020

Did you notice that you didn't have to close out a popup window when you clicked on this page? Did you see a giant "cookies" bar at the bottom of this page? That's because these are web design trends that absolutely NEED to stop in 2020. And that's what THIS article is all about. :)

A little history lesson, before we begin.

Back in the year 2000, developers abused javascript. "Hello World" is basically the first script you are taught when learning how to write javascript. It's a pop-up script that blocks what you're doing on the website and makes you interact with it before you can go back to what you were doing. You are only supposed to use it to confirm deletion of files or to let the user know they are about to lose information that they typed in. But bad actors use it to annoy users. Not all javascript is bad, however. You need javascript in order to run interactive things like drop down menus or to have a menu stuck on top of the page when you scroll, or simply to show and hide certain elements during a user's interaction with the page.

Why are there still popups in 2020?

The first thing that needs to go is the trend of collecting newsletter information or trying to get people to sign up for your notifications via popup window. The click percentages are low. It's annoying to the users. And in some cases, it's simply cheating. The best way to get people to sign up for your newsletter is to give people what they are looking for. If you trick users into signing up for your newsletter, they will either not interact or they will unsubscribe in a short amount of time.

Privacy Policy Statements & Cookies...

Yes, we want to know your privacy policy. Yes, I want you to stop collecting all of that user data for machine learning purposes. Yes, I want you to stop spying on your users. But making your users click on another window to close out before they can see the content is an awful practice. Simply place a link to the privacy policy in the header and if you make changes, you can use something simple, like a notice above the header. Again, please stop using popup windows unless you are trying to tell the user they are about to lose information.

Cookies are usually tasty. And they never used to be bad.

But then marketers started using cookies to track their uses across different sites. Why does one website need to know what you are doing on another website that doesn't have anything to do with the previous one? It doesn't. And that's when cookies are bad. Most cookies are used to make sure your login information is stored on social accounts, should you desire, or they add a simple unique ID to your session that is untrackable back to you as a person. A good example of this is the google analytics suite, which has morphed into google tag manager. If web developers and marketers want to get a great top down view of how their site is performing they install the Google Analytics script into their build. This helps them see things like how many people came to their site, or how many people clicked on a certain page, or how many people left the page after clicking into it, or which marketing sources are providing the best results for your advertising spend. Evenutally, it morphed into something far worse. Evenutally, it started to learn what you buy or how to market to your specific likes and tastes. It got so good at tracking you that you probably didn't even know you were being tracked and sold the goods that you wanted. Is this a terrible thing? I don't personally like the practice, but some people are okay with it. I can tell you, however, that Waring Media only collects annonymous data via the google analytics scripts and does not allow google to collect advanced data on you via our website (Which is an option that marketers have control over). This means, I'm really only looking at a bunch of numbers when I'm trying to find out how I'm doing. The metrics we see are things like bounce rates, which help me see if the content is good and if there is enough of it to keep you on my site, or site content overviews, to see which content is performing better then others. For Waring Media's marketing purposes, it is never designed to drill down on a personal level and is always used as a top-down view only.

Stop bullying users into using your site.

If you gate your content, you are losing viewers. People are going to be broke if they can't work and placing good content behind paywalls and sign up forms is only going to push people away from your site. I know that some companies are trying to increase revenue streams, but the product they're selling isn't worth buying for some people. At some point, it seems everyone was trying to collect as much information as they could, then gate it behind some kind of paywall. It is my belief that these practices hurt humanities progression as a whole and I will not allow my company to partake in them. All blog posts and information shared on Waring Media is designed to entertain people, keep them coming back to my sites as a source of entertainment, news, or other helpful information, and allow the free and open healthy communication between like-minded, peaceful people. I'm basically writing all of these posts in order to market other services, like web development, advertising, or Google Adwords account management.

A.I. bots and chat windows

What. The. Fu......

Why are you installing chat bots on all of your websites? Have you ever been to a car dealership, looking for a new car? Have you ever fealt what it was like to have 2 or 3 different bad sales guys run up to you and begin to stalk you in order to get your attention, and their commission? When you install an AI chatbot on your website, you are basically admitting that you are terrible at marketing, you burn through customers too fast, and you are trying to take advantage of them. When you make that chatbot start asking your annoying questions, before the user gets a chance to see the content of the web page, you are basically telling them to run away as fast as possible. Waring Media is in the business of building relationships. We would rather welcome you in, have you sit down for a nice glass of tea or coffee, and allow you to get comfortable with our processes before asking you to commit to doing business with us. That's why you'll never see a chatbot on this website. And that's why we continue to thrive during times of uncertainty.

What's your source?

I hope everyone knows by now, but in case you don't, here it is. Anyone can put any information they'd like on the web. If someone has a passion for gardening, they can build a gardening website. If someone loves to talk about poop and how it smells different after they eat certain things, they can do that as well. (Sorry for the disgusting thought... I just wanted to prove my point). The information you see on the web has increasingly become hearsay and speculation. And the more ridiculous it became, the more it spread. At first, everyone thought it was entertatinment. Now, they think it is all real and they share it with their friends just the same as an academic article that was presented to them from Harvard. Before anyone shares any more information, can you please, for the love of God and all things holy, stop and look at the source. Ask the person that shared the article where it is from if you must. But stop accepting every bit of information you see on reddit or facebook as real. It's not. A lot of it is even created specifically to mess with you.

Stop feeding the trolls.

And this leads me to my final point. Please stop feeding the trolls. An internet troll is someone that knows how to run multiple accounts on multiple social media sites and finds it funny to mess around with other people. They have enough multiple accounts under their belts that they can completely manipulate conversations. They gather together as a group on websites and they are Kings and Queens of the underworld of online gang stalking. I'm probably going to get gang stalked myself for even writing this. But I'll take this one on the chin to help everyone out there. The best way to stop trolls is to simply give them no attention. The grey rock method keeps them from interacting with you and it keeps them from commenting more on your posts, or coming up with new ways to mess your world up. If you react to a post that is outragoues, that's exactly what they want. If you block the user from your social media profile without giving them any information, any reaction, or any kind of attention, they won't get the attention the crave. And they won't even know you exist.

The snowball or domino effect. How online conversations are being manipulated

These above mentioned trolls know how to create a fake conversation that looks and sounds outrageous. They then use their extra social media accounts to "fight" with each other, causing the comments to get recognized as activity on the social media algorithms, and pushing it into the limelight. As more and more people start to pick up on the thread or post, more and more people start to join sides. This causes more and more people to see the comments, and makes more and more people angry at what they're reading. If you see an article, post, or picture that goes against your views or seems too ridiculous to comprehind, please know that is possibly one person just talking to themself, hoping to get others to join in on the "fun". They then sit back and watch the "world burn" with a smile on their faces. And you've been duped into believing it. Reddit has become so inundated with them that I quite honestly believe you should just delete your account and do something else with your time. We let the trolls take that site over and I don't think they'll ever let us have it back again.

Finally, stop stealing content and write your own damn shit. And stop giving social media sites your content, while you're at it.

Stop using memes on your own website. Stop stealing copyrighted material. Stop taking things that don't belong to you and start building your own content. Here's the thing. Photographers and Artists are typically not rich. Unless they've been able to strike gold via sale of a nice piece, most artists are hungry and need money for their work. Stop trying to steal from them and start paying them for their work. I promise you will find a return on investment when you see how viral their work goes vs. how sputtered out your crappy designs are online. If you want good viral content that works, pay a good artist what they're worth and watch the results roll in. If you must use a meme or some screen grab, make sure you source the material and give a proper link to the creators.

Why stop giving content to social media websites? Because they don't deserve it. Why are you spending all of your time trying to make facebook succesful? Why are you spending all of your time trying to help reddit out? Those CEO's are pretty rich and I'm sure they're not going to give you any of the money. You're creating content for the entertainment of others and you're not getting any thing in return for it. The entertainment industry is huge. It's possibly the biggest industry in the US. And you have the ability to tap into this on your own. But it has to be good. People have to want it. And it has to be good. Did I say that already? Creating crappy content just clogs everything up with more crappy content and, before you know it, we're all swimming in crappy content with no way to wash it off. So build good content, store it on your own website, and don't stop building more content until you get the recognition you deserve.

If you need any help navigating your business through these slower economic times, Waring Media is always available for marketing consultations. Please don't hesitate to call our office at 407-986-0932 or send an email to sales@waringmedia.com in order to get more information on our content creation, advertising, or digital marketing services. Please stay safe during this quarantine and try to enjoy any free time you've been given. It could turn out to be just the thing you needed!