There’s this ugly guy with wiry black hair peering moronically over the top of a computer and he’s staring at me out of my news reader and I don’t like it. [Update: Argh! It gets worse.] [Update: The short-form “Teaser” feeds are back. Thanks InfoWorld!]
[As of this afternoon, the IW feed is repeatedly crashing NNW, which has never ever ever crashed before, as far as I can remember. Unsubscribed for the moment, will check back in after a while with the freshest NNW & OS X.]
Recently, InfoWorld switched to large-format display ads, like the one above, in their RSS feed, and they’ve really decreased the quality of the experience. I use the excellent NetNewsWire to scan feeds, and one of the things that make it excellent is that I can motor through a whole bunch of feeds really really fast. NNW binds the spacebar to “show me more of this article, and if I’m at the end of it, go to the next unread” so my newsreading cycle usually consists of me hitting spacebar over and over and over, with an occasional Enter if I want to read the article in my browser.
The trouble is, once I get into InfoWorld, each article takes a lot longer to load because it has to go get the picture. Then, all the articles are long, so they take half a dozen spacebars to work my way through. Also, they have way fewer ads than they do articles, so we see ads like that above over and over and over and over. So what I do now is, when I get to InfoWorld, mousewheel through all the news articles and guess from the title whether I want to read them, look at those, and then hit the “Mark All As Read” button.
InfoWorld is a good trade mag, maybe the best, and I can’t afford to ignore them. And there are few enough of them left, I feel vaguely guilty that I’m complaining about what is probably an important revenue stream for them. But right at the moment, I’d be happier if they adopted a summary-only ad feed, or went to intelligent AdSense-style text ads, or both.