The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

In times of war, people want the latest news. The Internet is as much in the mix as TV and radio, especially for us white-collar working drones who like to periodically check the online headlines while diligently working. But strangely, instead of taking advantage of the surge in traffic to sell some advertising, it appears the major news sites like CNN, ABC News and MSNBC are stripping away advertising from their entry pages, in an effort to present cleaner looks and quicker-loading pages.

I guess the strategy is to offer readers less ads now to help snare them in, then start selling ads later after the visitor levels have been established (indeed, some of the sites are going on this reduced-ad fare for only the first 24 hours of hostilities). But still, why? I don't see how this really attracts visitors; people know to go to recognizable news sites for qualified information, so why not take advantage of it from the very outset? I can't believe loading time for pages is an issue--aren't we in the broadband age here? (Actually, most Web users aren't, but that hasn't stopped modern page designs before.)