The Daily Mirror (don’t click that) is the english newspaper of record in Sri Lanka. They have the most successful news website in the country which is also, simultaneously, quite possibly the worst website on earth. For reference I include something calling itself the worst website ever:
I would venture that this intentionally bad website is actually more readable than the Daily Mirror. The page today (August 27th) has 25 ads, 26 if you include the splash screen that takes over the page. While that seems to make money for them, it makes the site completely unreadable. I used to read the DM now and I just don’t. Simply opening the page fills me with dread and the news stories are usually not much better than tweets. I get the gist from their SMS service (which is relatively good) and read more somewhere else, that is, on some site where it is possible to read without getting your retinas strobed.
Why is it like this? For one thing, it’s because Sri Lankan web advertisers pay for space, not impressions. If you pay for space the same ad has to show up on every page served. If you pay for impressions (like Google or FB or modern sites do) you pay for say 10,000 pages viewed by some amount of people. After that someone else can have the ad slot. In this way big sites are able to earn, advertisers can get actual attention, and nobody gets ebola of the eyeball. You could say that it’s thus the advertisers fault, but if anyone could, the Daily Mirror could educate them and change the system.
In this case they give advertisers exactly what they think they want and it ends up being a horrible experience for readers and advertisers alike.
Not that we don’t struggle with this issue at YAMU. Right now there’s a big bloating and acid reflux ad on the top of our site (ENO, try it out if you’re feeling gassy), but we at least try to limit the advertising on our site rather than saying yes to everyone that asks. This isn’t philanthropic, it’s just that we value our readers and want to deliver value to advertisers as well, which sometimes means restraint.
I guess the Daily Mirror is too big to care and nobody’s going to take a risk and go for less revenue, but it does make them a bit of a dinosaur as far as online goes. I like them, but their website sucks and a more discerning competitor could possibly take them out. At the least, it would be great if someone would compete. As it is I just get my news from social media, or maybe Republic Square.