Yahoo Movies and the Law of Web Page Sprawl

Got a fantastic, unsolicited email from my father-in-law, who while getting frustrated with Yahoo Movies coined a new law: the Law of web page sprawl.

Yahoo Movies

Dear Josh,

http://movies.yahoo.com/

If you go to Yahoo.com and click on movies (left side of screen) you come to the above web-page.

The annoying thing is it took 19 seconds for this page to completely appear. Nothing wrong with my computer. Just with the page – there is tooooooo much there.

Anyway, I just thought I would send this to you as you mentioned how a cluttered web-page seems to grow even more cluttered by virtue of the ‘LAW OF WEB-PAGE SPRAWL’. And Yahoo is a perfect example of this ‘effect’. For instance, they totally screwed up their TV-listings page also.

The YAHOO! TV page used to load quickly and you could find out program information quickly and easily. So they changed it. Now it is so ungainly and slow, I have stopped using it.

‘Media-brainiacs’ at the biggest companies dictate content based on advertising over convenience….in other words….the heck with the user.

After all, he’ll say, “LIVE WITH IT”. I shouldn’t be too surprised. Media, radio and TV for example, is always trying ways to squeeze in ever more advertising.

How much do they think people will put up with???? I think that this is the question I have begun to ask myself. The media keeps pushing the limits of advertising and programming (expanding the former and squeezing the latter) …. is there any limit?

The web is now ‘THE MEDIA’ and as such (at Yahoo at least) they’ve been exploring this question – i.e. “WHAT IS THE LIMIT TO THE USERS AD TOLERANCE AND MAXIMIZING ADVERTISING REVENUES?”

I know that they are doing this. So sometimes just being aware of it is annoying in itself. At other times I just sigh and say, “LIVE WITH IT”.

I have to hand it to them. In recent years the ad-man and ad-woman has me convinced that he is informing me – at the same time he is pitching his product. If I am not mistaken, the snake oil salesman used a similar tactic.

Ed

Again, this was unsolicited. How long did he spend writing this? How many times does his frustration have to hit the boiling point before he writes this? My guess is that he’s been frustrated for a while.

Now, this is why social media (and the design of it) is so important…

Got a fantastic, unsolicited email from my father-in-law, who while getting frustrated with Yahoo Movies coined a new law: the Law of web page sprawl.

Yahoo Movies

Dear Josh,

http://movies.yahoo.com/

If you go to Yahoo.com and click on movies (left side of screen) you come to the above web-page.

The annoying thing is it took 19 seconds for this page to completely appear. Nothing wrong with my computer. Just with the page – there is tooooooo much there.

Anyway, I just thought I would send this to you as you mentioned how a cluttered web-page seems to grow even more cluttered by virtue of the ‘LAW OF WEB-PAGE SPRAWL’. And Yahoo is a perfect example of this ‘effect’. For instance, they totally screwed up their TV-listings page also.

The YAHOO! TV page used to load quickly and you could find out program information quickly and easily. So they changed it. Now it is so ungainly and slow, I have stopped using it.

‘Media-brainiacs’ at the biggest companies dictate content based on advertising over convenience….in other words….the heck with the user.

After all, he’ll say, “LIVE WITH IT”. I shouldn’t be too surprised. Media, radio and TV for example, is always trying ways to squeeze in ever more advertising.

How much do they think people will put up with???? I think that this is the question I have begun to ask myself. The media keeps pushing the limits of advertising and programming (expanding the former and squeezing the latter) …. is there any limit?

The web is now ‘THE MEDIA’ and as such (at Yahoo at least) they’ve been exploring this question – i.e. “WHAT IS THE LIMIT TO THE USERS AD TOLERANCE AND MAXIMIZING ADVERTISING REVENUES?”

I know that they are doing this. So sometimes just being aware of it is annoying in itself. At other times I just sigh and say, “LIVE WITH IT”.

I have to hand it to them. In recent years the ad-man and ad-woman has me convinced that he is informing me – at the same time he is pitching his product. If I am not mistaken, the snake oil salesman used a similar tactic.

Ed

Again, this was unsolicited. How long did he spend writing this? How many times does his frustration have to hit the boiling point before he writes this? My guess is that he’s been frustrated for a while.

Now, this is why social media (and the design of it) is so important. In most cases, an email like this dies on the vine, its recipient acknowledges the difficulty but moves on. In some cases it makes its way onto the web, as it has here. In a small number of those cases, someone from Yahoo might actually notice it. In a small number of those cases, it might actually be discussed at Yahoo. In a small number of those cases Yahoo might actually do something about it.

Here’s the major point: The person’s frustration is already there. We have evidence of it. It has little to do with what exposure the email gets. Whether it dies on the vine or whether Jerry Yang (CEO of Yahoo) emails him directly to follow up, my father-in-law is extremely frustrated. If nobody read the email, he’s upset. If it makes the front page of the NYTimes, he’s still upset. That’s the core issue…there is frustration out there…is anybody listening closely enough to do something about it?

The action of a company would depend on how many people are having this conversation. Are other people getting annoyed at the long download times and advertising on the Yahoo Movies page? Or is this an isolated incident? If it is an isolated incident then Yahoo should not do anything about it. But if this is a trend…

Notice that my father-in-law doesn’t use the TV listings on Yahoo anymore?

Yahoo has an advantage here…Yahoo already knows how many people are saying things like this because their own search engine software is scouring the web even as we speak. Or so I assume…

But what about companies who are being written about but don’t know it? What about companies who are annoying people like Yahoo is annoying my father-in-law and the only time they’ll even have an idea is when that person cancels the relationship? That’s the power of designing tools like blogs that enable customers to speak. The answer is already out there.

Just waiting to be found.

Published: December 9th, 2007

Currently working on:

The What to Wear Daily Report: The most informative 30 seconds of your day. An email that delivers clothing recommendations and other helpful info based on the weather. Remarkably useful. It's free to sign up.