The Get Down on Pop Ups

It seems like every website you go on these days has a pop up or a special feature trying to keep you on longer. Some have more than others and some are more efficient than others. Let’s dive into five webpages that utilize these features and talk about what makes them efficient and what makes them… not so efficient.

1. EasyBib

EasyBib was the first website to pop into my mind when I thought about sites that had a lot of different tactics to keep people on their site. EasyBib is every college student’s favorite short cut to creating MLA (or other kinds of) citations. Most of the time all you have to do is paste a URL in and EasyBib spits out your citation easy as that. But it’s not really that easy. To even use the page EasyBib make you turn off adblocker, notice the green thumbs up in the top right corner? That mean I’ll see ads on this page. Notice the Hollister ad? There you go.

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Once you finally get your citation you’re forced to look at three more ads but also an easy to click list of services that EasyBib offers on the right and and easy to click Create New Citation button. If you click to create a new citation you go through the simple process again and at the end you click to generate the citation but before they let you view your citation they present a pop up menu. You can either view an ad or join a subscription.

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This site is incredibly necessary for most college students so EasyBib knows they’re going to click on one of the two options. But these tactics to keep people on their site are more annoying than anything and all these ads really slow down their site, another reason (intentional?) people stay on their site for so long.

2. L’Oreal

Next up is L’Oreal. I chose them because I think they offer something different to the pop up game. Instead of asking for a subscription to an email service they pop up deals, and don’t ask for your email until you voluntarily click a mysterious box.

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Don’t Miss Out? What could that mean? You wonder and click on it, thinking it might be another coupon. It’s not. They want to spam your inbox. But it’s very clever! One of the best ways to get someone to click on something is to confuse them after all.

3. The Washington Post

Anybody in the mood for a little irony? I am! And lucky for me The Washington Post website is serving it up fresh on the daily. As soon as the home page is finished loading you get a fun pop up telling you that you can’t view that page unless you turn off Adblock. So you click the unblock ads link and they take you step by step on how to turn off Adblock. Passive aggressive? Maybe, but maybe somebody doesn’t know how and that’s helpful because now they can read some articles.

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Except they can’t read some articles! Because after reading two to three articles you get this pop-up.

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You need a subscription! The Carfax fox is laughing at you behind the pop up. But what I find to be funnier and even more ironic is the little slogan under the Washington Post logo. Democracy dies in darkness. Are you kidding Washington Post you’re literally keeping me in the dark right now not letting me read your articles. Tangent aside: making viewers pay a subscription fee almost ensures that people that pay the fee will keep coming back, they want their money’s worth after all.

4. Twitter

I think that Twitter is really successfully in keeping people on their site in a sneaky way. When you’re scrolling through your timeline looking at the latest tweets, your timeline does not automatically refresh, instead it does two things to let you know you have new tweets waiting for you. The home icon on the left has a dot appear next to it and a see new tweets button appears at the top of the page. This creates an endless loop of clicking these two options over and over again to keep seeing the latest tweets. They’re simple, but dangerously efficient.

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5. Keap

Alright I know I mentioned that a previous post was going to have all the irony but Keap also earns a share of the ironic crown. I went to Keap for some inspiration about another website to add to this list when I was met with this:

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A tiny pop up with a bright red number two asking me if I wanted to save money. It was so perfect and ironic that I couldn’t help but laugh. The two asks you what else they could be offering, similarly to the L’Oreal mystery. In addition to that the straightforwardness of the question cemented Keap as a member on my list. And that was that! At least I thought, as my mouse hovered over the X that would close the tab I got another pop up.

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This was interesting. I’ve got this pop up once or twice people but I’m always amazed by it when I see it. No other pop up stops my in my tracks and physically keeps me on the site for a few moments longer. It’s incredibly efficient and honestly a bit creepy.

Keep these sites in mind next time you visit any webpage, you’ll be surprised to see how many of these tactics are implemented. Are any of them actually successful? They definitely keep me on their sites long enough to recognize what they’re trying to pitch to me, which is usually a few bonus seconds, but to a lot of these sites those few seconds are more than enough.



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