The Annoying Internet

There’s something that has begun to really annoy me about the internet over the last year.  I would like social marketing gurus to take note, because I’m going to give them a free idea here to make them richer, their clients richer, and me less annoyed.  We’ll all win.

I really love the internet.  The potential for it to change humanity for the better is truly unlimited.  It allows us to connect with one another and share in ways we never could have imagined, that were impossible twenty or sometimes even ten years ago, and it has changed the world forever.  Like television, however, it can either be used to educate and elevate us, or to satisfy baser desires or watch cute cat videos all day long.  Not that there’s anything wrong with either.  Personally, when the day is ending I like to grab some wine and sit out on the patio and listen to the surf as the sun sets while I see what the rest of the world thinks is important that day.

But here’s the thing:  Too often when I visit a site, I read for a few seconds and then my reverie is interrupted by a lightbox that comes out of nowhere asking if I want to sign up for a newsletter.  I’ve been contentedly reading a website’s article about this or that, getting into it, or at least scanning the page, and my concentration is shattered by a marketing ploy.

I have never asked for an email address from any of my website visitors, ever.  And because of this, I’ve been told straight up by marketers that I’m missing out on a tremendous amount of business.  I’ve read tons of statistics that back them up, but I don’t think I’m missing much.

Now, I understand everybody else has gotta eat lunch too.  I have the kind of life many of them are working towards, and I fully sympathize with the drive to make money.  But when you think about how much time each of us has in the day, and then think about the number of websites trolling for you to sign up to a newsletter, the math doesn’t add up.  I spend about 6 hours a day working at most, and that includes reading newsletters, tending to business, and so on.  I also read newsletters about expatriate living, fitness, aviation, science and tech, and so on, and beginning with this article I’m going to share my thoughts on more than just self improvement and the psychology of money.

So, internet marketers, here’s what I propose.

What I need is the reassurance that I’m not going to be interrupted by a signup lightbox.  And if I am, I can click one button and one button only that will automatically enter my email address into a service database that will compile all the other newsletters I’m subscribed to, and deliver them at the same time all in one email.  It will say which websites it’s from, so I know I’m not missing any, and I can read them all at once.  Each newsletter in that compilation will have an unsubscribe link.

If I visit a site with a signup lightbox that I’ve already clicked ‘No thanks’ to, there will be a cookie that will remember that and not nag me again.  I’d be perfectly happy with a static box in a sidebar that said, ‘We’re sad you didn’t want to sign up last time, but you’re missing out on a great upcoming article!’ or some such thing.  I’d think that’s perfectly game.  But to let me read an article for thirty seconds and then shove a signup box in my face usually makes me hit the ‘back’ button.  ‘Like what you read?’ it’ll ask, and my answer out loud is, ‘Well I was reading this newspaper until the waiter shoved the bill right under my nose’, because that’s what it feels like.

I have faith in human innovation, compassion, technology and desire for improvement.There is a better way.  There is always a better way.

Download The Right Question and find out what it is.


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