2006 lamest page-view boosting hack by media websites: the ‘slide show’

I apologize for “outing” my magazine colleagues, but whenever you see something that looks like “a top 35 list” on a website maintained by a magazine, what you’ll likely find when you click through won’t be a list, but will be a “slide show” designed to generate 35 page views instead of one. Here’s just one example on CNNMoney.com (“35 most outrageous fees [and how to avoid them]”) — although, in this case, the list of 35 is compressed to a mere 22 page slide show. I’m not picking on Money — the “list as page-view booster hack” is very common among magazine-related websites. Perhaps this is a carry-over practice from “the jump” — the way print publications use second (and if it’s the LA Times, third and fourth) pages to complete a story that runs too long for the first page. However, I’ve yet to see a magazine (except, perhaps the New Yorker) that would make its readers jump through 22 hoops of jumps.

Observation #1: I don’t believe there is a person on the planet who will ever get to #35 on a list of “how to save money” that requires the user to click through 22 times. However, if such a person does exist, I feel certain they won’t be the type of consumer most advertisers “target.”

Observation #2: These slide-show lists may generate more page views, but they generate fewer in-bound links.

Observation #3: Steve Rubel predicts the imminent demise of the “page view” metric due to the technical reality that websites using certain “Web 2.0” technology don’t require the re-loading of a page to accomplish such things as a slide show. While I agree with Steve, I also think that practices such as slide-show list page-view booster hacks are such an assault on the user, they are probably hastening the metric’s demise.