ZDNet is a hot mess…


I haven’t visited ZDNet in a while, but my one visit today made me not want to go anywhere near it again! I clicked on a link to ZDNet from a google search and the amount of time I had to spend cleaning it up before I could even read any content was simply infuriating. Firstly, a pop-in from the side to sign up for the newsletter blocked some of the content. There was a banner ad at the top of the page, and there was another banner ad above the article for the exact same thing (and BTW that same ad is present 4 more times on the right side of the article and as a footer!). If I remember correctly another pop-in of some sort shot down from the top as well. So had to click out of the two pop-ins before even getting to any of the content. That’s when I realized that a video was about to auto-play. Seriously? What year is this that websites still have auto-playing videos? (I’m aware that some browsers have a setting to block auto-playing videos, but they’re not always successful). I couldn’t scroll down to read the article until the video loaded enough to finally start playing so I could pause it. After finally pausing the video I got to the point where I could finally read the article and found that any interest I had going into it was non-existent.

The above is not simply to complain about ZDNet, but to also praise websites like Thurrott.com that are doing it right. No auto-playing videos, and if you’re not a member, the ads are not nearly as intrusive, if at all. Ars Technica is another site that does ads correctly. I wonder if it’s worth the small amount of revenue for sites like ZDNet to constantly bombard their customers with all this nonsense.


Comments (13)

13 responses to “ZDNet is a hot mess…”

  1. dave0

    I checked it out using ad block and it was fine for me. If you ain't hitting the web with an ad blocker you're doing it wrong at this point :)

    • anthonye1778

      In reply to dave0:

      You're right, of course :)

      I realize that the way many of these sites make any money is through ads. So I don't mind nearly ANY of the sites that utilize ads. So I tend to leave adblock disabled rather then whitelisting every single website I visit that doesn't have intrusive ads. Might have to rethink my strategy.

    • eugberan

      In reply to dave0:

      I hear you but then either the sites close or move to the subscription model. I'm fine with the sub model for sites I go to regularly, but for an article I just would like to read on a site I never go to, the paywall is an annoyance. But I get why.

  2. Daekar

    I absolutely refuse to use ZDNet without adblocking enabled. It's appallingly bad, and their autoplay videos are egregious. Much of their video content is simply a lazy rehash of an article that someone already wrote and doesn't really offer any additional benefit for the use of your time or bandwidth.

    Mary Jo really is the classiest and most capable writer they have over there, they don't deserve her.

    And yes, Paul & Co. do a nice job of keeping Thurrott.com very useable. I love people that follow the golden rule.

  3. Paul Thurrott

    I agree it's sad, but this is the reality of the web these days. Thanks to Google, the ad market has blown up for content creators and everyone needs to get creative about making their sites make sense financially. It's not easy.

    • anthonye1778

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      Funny thing is I remember loving ZDNet back in the 90s and on into the early 2000s. Sometime in there, though, it fell out of my daily tech routine. The current state of the site is especially a shame because they have several extremely talented journalists, like Mary Jo.

  4. qaelith2112

    That pop-up to sign up for the newsletter is a thing I'm seeing almost everywhere and I'm sick of it. Every site these days wants to interrupt me to ask me to sign up for a newsletter, get notifications, fill out a survey, whatever.

  5. illuminated

    ZDnet looks like a restaurant just before going out of business. Lots of "special offers" plastered all over windows with little attention to important stuff.

  6. rob_segal

    Websites need to make money. It's difficult balancing revenue with user experience for web publishers. Regarding auto-play videos, I experience that often. Sites like CNN and ESPN have auto-play video.

  7. hrlngrv

    Disable autoplay is top of my list for mandatory browser extensions.

  8. jmwoods301

    It's either ads, a paywall, or subscriptions.

    Sites need revenue to keep the lights on.

    I don't have a problem with first-party ads.

    ZDNet and Thurrott work fine for me using uBlock Origin.

    Set media.autoplay.enabled to false in Firefox, and Settings > Site permissions > Media autoplay to Limit in New Edge.

  9. jimchamplin

    re: Ars, I’ll even help them by whitelisting them.

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