Online news outlets are a dying breed and many users have decided to consume information elsewhere. Why? Because the news industry has become a cesspool of anti-consumer and blackhat practices that has eroded trust for the sake of money.
What news sites get wrong
I could write up an entire essay about all the shady practices that most news sites are guilty of, but here are just a few top level issues:
- Clickbait headings with misleading information
- Disabling the user from reading if ad-block is present
- Tracking the user with 3rd party scripts
- Pop-up ads
- Fixed headers or footers which leads to harder readability / accidental element interactions
But they need ad revenue!
If your business is solely dependent on tracking scripts, tricking users with clickbait titles and using archaic ads - then you’re destined to fail regardless. These practices create an unsafe and unhealthy web for everyday users - not to mention most browsers have announced that future updates will be blocking ads by default. News outlets need to adapt or die.
What’s the solution?
I don’t have a fix all band-aid to replace current revenue streams for news websites. I’m sure someone much smarter than I can come up with better ideas, but just off the top of my head:
- Switch over to a monthly subscription plan (if no one pays for it maybe you weren’t as useful of a source as you thought)
- Partner with brands to create sponsored articles (without ruining the user experience of course)
- Place a larger emphasis on user donations or promotions
The News Shouldn’t be Spam
Most traffic flowing into news websites are there for one thing: the content. News outlets should not be spamming their main revenue supply (the users) or misleading people with false information.
If you’re a regular consumer of news and you happen to run across a platform that is guilty of any of these practices, shoot them an email explaining why you won’t be returning to their website (unless they change their ways). These anti-consumer practices will only stop when these organizations start losing money.