I was just Googling for some information and found a relevant search result from a forum somewhere. While reading through the forum responses, the page faded to dark and a CSS popup window came up telling me that the site I was visitng was an online community of something or others.
No shit? I’m reading a forum answer that involves multiple people posting. Obviously, it’s an online community of some sort. Why did you interrupt my reading to tell me this? I’ll say one thing, whatever your community is, there is no chance of me signing up.
No, in fact, I didn’t even read the rest of the discussion, I went back to Google and tried another search result. Annoying guest users is not the best way to attract them to your community.
Some sites are even worse, they use CSS popups for advertising. Popping up advertisements in front of whatever the user is reading is another sure way of ensuring they won’t return. Don’t expect people will be more likely to generate ad revenue because you hit them over the head with an ad.
Another recent trend is ecommerce sites that pop up a, “We’d really appreciate it if you provide feedback about your shopping experience,” survey request while you’re shopping. Well, for starters, I’d have enjoyed my shopping experience a lot more if you hadn’t interrupted it with this stupid survey.
(Updated) I just noticed that even Stack Overflow is doing this now, with a, “new to this site, read the FAQ,” popup. It’s less obtrusive than some, showing up at the top of the page, but I am NOT new to Stack Overflow, and if I was, I would read the FAQ only if I wanted to. They shouldn’t be doing this. Bad Stack Overflow!
This is so obvious, I can’t believe I’m discussing it: Don’t annoy your web visitors unless you don’t want them to come back.