The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 28 September 2005]

azcentral bites the dust

azcentral is the web site for our local paper of record, The Arizona Republic. It’s a pretty decent site, fast to update throughout the day and not too garish. So it used to be one of my “I-have-a-minute-so-I’ll-see-what’s-happening” sites. Used to be.

As part of the general old media we-fear-the-web mentality, azcentral has been forcing you to take a short survey whenever you click from the front page to stories within the site. It then sets a cookie. Delete the cookie and you’re back to the demographic survey.

As somebody who uses a lot of different computers and browsers during my daily existence, I’ve seen that survey far too many times.

Most people probably just go through this once and forget about it, allowing azcentral to silently take note of their info whenever they check the news.

But whenever you force people to give up personal information over and over again to access ad-sponsored content, those people are going to get ticked off and start lying to you. So now the site has a lot of, ahem, interesting demographics in its database.

(As an aside, I guess this visitor-tracking fetish also does a great job of keeping the search engines out so the site doesn’t have to suffer the indignity of increased traffic for free.)

At this point, though, I’m conditioned to never click through from the front page. Can’t handle seeing that little survey again. So it’s just a quick scan to see if there’s anything breaking, and I’m gone.

But now, some brainiac over there has decided that a great way to annoy visitors is to run JavaScript-powered ads that move around the screen and obscure the content when you load the page.

Sigh. That’s right.

In your face, sucka!

Hello, CNN. I’m back. Did you miss me?

**Soundtrack: ** Stream from Groove Salad

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