Last night I clicked on a link to an AdWeek piece someone I follow on Twitter had linked to. When I landed on the article I was able to read the first graph or two before being asked to share the article on Facebook, Twitter or — haha — Google Plus in order to continue reading. Flummoxed, I refreshed the page — thinking I’d encountered some sort of glitch or something — but met the same result.
So, naturally, I left AdWeek’s site (Seriously, who the hell shares an article they haven’t read? Asking readers to do this is exceedingly dumb, not to mention just plain disgusting.) but thought maybe this was just something the publication was doing on big features like the one I clicked through to read, since a quick Google search didn’t return any write-ups about AdWeek’s bizarre new strategy to get people to share their articles.
But then this morning Gawker Media’s Scott Kidder highlighted the same issue on his Tumblr, illustrating that mine was not an isolated incident.
AdWeek requires you to share certain stories in order to finish reading them. Why would I want to share something I can’t read? And is there anything more desperate a publisher can do? Gross.
Yes! Exactly — it is quite desperate and very gross. This strikes me as actually worse than those horrible, annoying Facebook social reader apps that are failing miserably. Note to publishers of all stripe: if you want to get people to share your content via social media, create content that people want to share. It’s that simple! Stop trying to force us to share sh*t in order to read it — that’s the worst thing you can do to inspire sharing.
For instance, let’s say you went to a restaurant, ordered a meal of food, and then began eating that food once it was delivered to your table. Now let’s say a waiter came over after you’d gotten a few bites in, pulled the plate away and said, “If you want to finish your meal, I’m gonna need you to call some of your friends and tell them about it.” Would you comply with such a demand? F*CK AND NO. Unless whatever you were eating was something from the Gods you just couldn’t turn down, which is rare, you’d get up and walk the hell out — and that’s exactly what most people are going to do on your dumb website, just as I did. What sort of madman thinks of such moronic ways to alienate users?
Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.