from No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre
All of us have visited to ugly looking websites littered with ads and unreadable content…and we’ve likely cursed their existence since the intentions of the webmaster are so obvious (get a bunch of people to click on the ads). We know this strategy works since the web is littered with these derivative sites (and many of us have a little personal experience of creating and working with them, though we might not care to admit it).
After all, the philosophy behind their creation is quite seductive…if the content sucks, the visitor focuses on the ads which are hopefully compelling enough to garner one or more clicks. Yet, the contrast between their ugly aesthetics combined with poor writing offends the sensibilities of the great majority of folks, scaring them off and minimizing the monetization potential for the webmaster.
However, with a little time and careful planning, the “crap” can be turned into a higher art form, increasing its potential to make income.
In order for “crap” to succeed and optimally monetize for the webmaster, it needs to appear, at least on the surface, to be indistinguishable from conventional sites that are brought into existence to drive sales and leads. The “crap” site must have a professional design, be well written and offer (at least) the illusion of different conversion paths for the visitor to explore.
Something needs to be missing though…the answer to the searcher’s needs. The typical conversion mechanisms either aren’t there or aren’t quite relevant. The webmaster shuts off all forms of site exit (besides the URL bar and the back button), trapping the visitor in an indefinite loop where the end to their quest remains ever-so-slightly elusive. After the visitor futilely examines the information presented, they examine the alternatives…the ads.
On a well-created “crap” site, the ads aren’t garish, but blend in naturally with the remainder of the content. The webmaster uses a minimalistic approach in their placement…as truly professional sites don’t stress third party monetization over their own offerings. As the site visitor searches in vain for answers, the site content becomes invisible and the ads come to the forefront as a logical alternative that bridges the knowledge gap between the website and the ultimate needs of the searcher.
And the webmaster gets paid…