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An Open Letter To Time, The Telegraph, Wired And Other Online Publications Who Break Articles Over Ten Pages

Sirs,

On many occasions your otherwise fine publication will submit stories and articles to the internet, notably those that contain a series of images, and break these submissions over many pages. Often this can involve as many as ten clicks from the reader to get from start to finish.

This is not acceptable.

Recent examples: Time, The Telegraph, Wired.

We fully understand why you do this – more click-throughs mean more advertisement impressions with each new page and another chance that we might not completely ignore your sponsors and actually show an interest in what they are selling. But for the reader, and especially the linker, the most-likely result is we will become quickly aware of the game you are playing, and not bother to read past the first one or two pages. Quite simply, it’s too much work. The story isn’t that good.

Moreover, those of us who enjoy sharing great content with our friends on social networks will most likely refrain from doing so in these instances, simply because we do not want to have them endure the same experience. You may be blissfully unaware, but this is the age of social media. Websites and portals like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Stumbleupon and Twitter can deliver an enormous amount of traffic to your publication. We presume you want and encourage this, particularly in the current financial climate.

Keeping the front page of any online newspaper or magazine ‘clean’ by the use of headlines and brief synopses with a ‘more’ or ‘continue reading’ link below each is a perfectly valid practice, and is encouraged. To have to then click a further five or more times to complete the article is both irritating and insulting.

Here’s the scoop: It’s 2009, and web browsers can handle more than one image on a page at a time. This is powerful information, and you should use it wisely.

As a great primer, may we suggest paying attention to The Big Picture at Boston.com? There’s a reason why pretty much everything these guys do becomes a meme. Great pictures, of course, but they have the courtesy to put them all on one page. We like this; it makes us want to link to them. It makes us want to tell our friends.

We want to link to you, too, but will increasingly refrain from doing so until you start treating us with the same level of respect.

Yours sincerely,

The Internet

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