I have previously mentioned eight calamities plaguing the Israeli internet. I will now elaborate on five more such plagues, so feel free to freshen up by reading the previous post first.
Back so soon? Good. Here are my new observations:
Webmaster Knows Best
Many websites may give you what you want, but they will do it on their terms. One example for that is the Israeli Post who will let you query about a registered parcel, but will make it impossible for you to bookmark the query in order to execute it later.
Another example is a popular cooking show that publishes its recipes online but will only let you print them out or see one recipe at a time, as their webmaster must not have heard of tabbed browsing or multi-tasking – but he sure loves his URL masking.
Other webmasters try to disable your right-clicking so that, god forbid, you would not save one of their images without prior written consent. Obviously this method does not work as each graphic file you see online is saved on your computer whether you asked for it or not.
My general feeling about this subject is that while all these companies and organizations are making use of the internet, they do not really understand its underline basis of sharing information.
If I Tell You Its Price You Will Know How Much It Costs
This is an illness well embedded in the Israeli business culture from way before the internet, but it seems the net is just another platform for companies to carry the fog of war to. For years whenever you would call a local store to inquire about a price of a whatchamacallit, the reply would always be ‘we don’t give out prices over the phone’. I always assumed the aim of this method is to lure you to the store without comparing prices first – but in this day and age, when you can compare prices in a Zap – I only have to wonder what on earth makes these shopkeepers stick with their shtick.
Storefronts And Fronts For Stores
One of the many unwritten rules of the internet is: if you are not showing it – you must be hiding it. Whether it is a website for a hotel, a college or a computer store, if you do not elaborate on the people behind the establishment, if you do not show photos of the facilities – the assumption is that you have something to hide.
Back in the days of real-life stores, you would only need to step inside to see if this is a place where you might want to do business, but nowadays when everyone can have a great website, the only way to know if you are stepping into a storefront or just a front for a store – is the ‘About Us’ section. Many Israeli websites do not list names of people, a physical address, or a photo of the place, in an attempt to disguise the fact that this ‘well established business’ is run by two fourteen year old kids who may or may not send you the USB cable you ordered, as they might be grounded by their mommy and cannot get to the post office.
While all the Israeli bloggers have jumped on the RSS bandwagon, having seen how important this syndication tool is to knowledge-seekers, it seems that most Israeli websites have no idea what RSS is. Oddly enough, while many of these websites want you to sign up for their newsletter, they are unwilling to lift a finger to facilitate the needs of those who might be interested in the content but not so much interested in divulging private email addresses in the process of getting content.
May I Freshen That For Ya?
The ubiquitous usage of automatic-refreshing of webpages might not amount to click fraud but it sure is annoying. Many news websites (example #1, #2, #3) assume their readers are morons who would not be able to refresh the page, and so they do it for them. With a single line of code, they force every one of their readers’ browsers to retrieve the page again after a predetermined amount of time (usually 5 minutes). While using this method might make some sense on the always-changing main page of the website, it makes absolutely no sense when done on pages of individual articles. For users who use tabbed-browsing and open a number of articles they want to read in different tabs, the experience of reading an article and just when you are in the middle of it having it ‘magically’ refresh itself is a pet peeve.
As many of you might be reading this in Internet Explorer, you should be aware of the fact that other browsers offer the user the option to automatically refresh any webpage he desires.