In the five years I've read Steve Outing's Stop the Presses column, I've rarely disagreed with views. His latest column, though, has made up for lost time.
Outing proposes, as a way for content sites to fatten up red-ink-covered bottom lines, two ways to make money off their users:
- “the 'shareware' model for content”
- and “[m]onetizing departing Web site users”
The former is essentially the ad-free, subcription-based model Salon announced in March. That model makes sense—it's the Web-exit ad model that really bothers me.
His suggested “exit-referral system” —based heavily on the ideas propsed by ClusterTraffic—could not only be annoying, but is also poorly thought out.
Not only would an ad appear when a user leaves the site, it would be in the form of a popup window.
Sure, the ads be for related sites (leave a financial news site and a broker site opens), but they are still ads appearing in a window the user didn't choose to open.
It's bad enough some reputable sites create pop-ups while inside the site, but punishing users who leave a site is not a good, long-term plan.
Unfortunately the whole concept, thanks to the use of targeted ads, is just sane enough to be adopted by some big-name site, thus opening the flood gates.
Let's hope the same doesn't happen with the other monetizing-scheme-du-jour: the page-invading Shoshkeles™.