Internet Pet Peeves

Jacques du Rand 2022-02-08

On a scale of 1-10 how happy does scrolling the Internet make you? Sure, it's great to have information and knowledge for anything under the sun at our fingertips, but how easy is it to find, or get to that content without hitting a barrage of obstacles first?

Your neighbourhood has finally got fibre internet coverage, be it Openserve or Vumatel and now you are stuck with the modern internet that can be as painful as dial-up-internet from the 90's !

Google Searches - Are SEOs Too Good At Their Jobs?

Google is the number one search engine globally. They kicked Yahoo! to second place back in the day as they provided a much easier way to structure and categorise information against what people were looking for - or at least what they were typing into the search box.

SEOs (Search Engine Marketers) learned how to game the system in order to rank websites on the first page of Google (and thus get more clicks to those sites for their clients). But sometimes they might be too good at their jobs as getting a less relevant site ranked above something you might be looking for is relatively easy. Okay, so Google did change and update it's algorithm a bunch of times to prevent this, but then also added in Adverts (Google Ads) mixed in with the organic (non paid) results and just confused a bunch of people as now you could basically pay to get your site listed above someone else's. (Especially if your SEO wasn't as good as your competitors) Sure Google does update its algorithm to keep things relevant, but as a consumer you do sometimes have to click through on multiple websites to really find the 'right' one.

Which leads me to the next point.

Privacy Policies and POPI Act - Endless Clicks and Eye Rolls

In late 2021 the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI or POPIA for short) eventually came to pass in South Africa. I'm sure your inbox was flooded before 1 July 2021 and again at the end of August with a plethora of emails pleading for your consent to allow them to keep sending you email newsletters. Yes, that was just one repercussion of the new POPI act. (Did the ones that you didn't reply on stop sending you newsletters?)

The one that gets me more than my inbox being flooded with last minute "please click here to keep receiving our emails" is repercussion number two: accepting cookies. Now if only, like Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, this was in reply to people handing out delicious chocolate chip cookies my life would be great. However, every single website you browse has a popup (or multiples!) that you first need to provide consent to and close before you can see the content you were looking for in the first place. Some have this on all the pages of their site so if you're doing research for example and browsing from one page to another there is another window blocking your quest for information.

Now developers could make everyone's life really easy and only show you this popup for your browsing session (while you're on the site), or could drop a cookie (which you just gave consent to when you clicked close and accept all on that stupid pop-up) that allows them to not show this to you for the next 30 days (assuming you go back to that website again). Sadly, hardly anyone does this, which is why you have to click these things multiple times.

Browsing the Internet these days is a constant onslaught of having to first close windows before you get to whatever it is you were looking for.

Which leads me to my next point.

Recipe Sites - I Just Want The Ingredients & Cooking Time

Have you ever tried to find a recipe online and clicked through on what you thought was a good option only to be served about 4 pages of content you need to read through just to get to the ingredients list and method of making said recipe? No. I seriously don't need to know that it was your grandmother's recipe and her whole life story just to see the ingredients and method of making it. The reason half of these sites do this is for SEO (see point 1). Luckily some have realised they can still rank by giving you a "jump to recipe" link at the top as well - since that content was really for Google all this time. To those sites I say "Thank you for not wasting my time".

Which leads me to my next point.

Slow Loading Sites

I don't even think I need to expand on this point.

Waiting for a website to load is so 20 years ago! Yet, you still find people that replicate their "brochures' online. Loading large (heavy) images; paying for the cheapest hosting (so the servers can't really handle the load or are just badly built) or just built the site badly (or may have been hacked).

If you don't spend a lot of time on the Internet you might not have noticed these things. But if you do, what are some of your pet peeves?

Even with all of these things, the Internet has become a basic necessity of life.

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