The Escapist - decline of a website

Duke Nukem Forever The Escapist angry rant ads hey hey click me click me

I have been a fan of The Escapist for a long time. I’ve been watching Zero Punctuation almost since it began. I’ve been following Unskippable, Experienced Points, and Stolen Pixels for a long time as well. And I regularly browse around the site, watching videos and reading columns that look interesting. You could say I’m a fairly loyal customer of The Escapist.

But I’ve had it. I can’t stand it any more. Look, Themis Media, I get that your product is advertising. That the Escapist exists, to you, as a medium through which you can deliver ads to people. But you’ve gone overboard. Your site now has all the charm of a geocities page from 1998 combined with an ad/malware site from 2005. You have made your site so horrible to look at and difficult to use that I can only conclude you are actually trying to drive people away from your site. Were you getting too many pageviews? Is that it? Because if that’s the case, feel free to redirect every, oh, 10th user or so over to instead. I could use the traffic.

If you are trying to drive people away from your site, well, you succeeded. I’m unsubscribing from my Zero Punctuation and Unskippable RSS feeds, and I’ll be ignoring Shamus’ blog posts about Experienced Points and Stolen Pixels. Because your site really is that bad.

Look, I can’t even always use your site. Sometimes, when I try? I get this:

I tried to watch the latest Zero Punctuation recently, and that’s what I got. Your ads crashed my browser. If I looked at an ad in a magazine, and it sprayed me with a chemical that temporarily blinded me, I think we could probably agree that it is a poorly designed advertisement (the cause, by the way, appears to be a full-screen flash ad that overlays the entire screen with a semi-transparent background, then plays a video in the middle of that). And even when the site doesn’t crash, well, it still isn’t exactly pretty:

I’ve already enumerated my objections to Duke Nukem Forever, and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed that you’re still agreeing to show ads for that now that you’ve had time to learn about the game’s content. Also, that image is repulsive all by itself. But mostly it’s the sheer number of things vying for my attention here. It’s obnoxious, and it immediately drains the excitement that was building at the thought of watching another Zero Punctuation.

And keep in mind, this was a fairly light instance of the page, ad-wise. Usually I get a full-screen video ad, or an ad popping up annoyingly from the bottom of the screen (usually right as I’m trying to click play, so it intercepts my mouse click).

This just isn’t a good way to do business. I know, I know. You’re giving away free content! Why am I complaining? Well, yes, you’re giving away free content. So are tons of other ad-revenue-driven sites, and they manage to find a way to make my browsing experience much more pleasant. There are better ways to spend my time. And even if there weren’t, you have exceeded my personal threshold for how much I’m willing to be annoyed when I’m trying to be entertained. You have literally made it not worth my time to visit your site.

Congratulations, I guess?