Someone, somewhere, in an office or a basement, felt a light bulb switch on above their head one day. “Hey,” this person thought, “what if, when a person visited a website, a little box popped up in front of their eyes on top of the page. It could sell something, it could point someone to another website. What a GREAT way to market something!!”
How many of you would like to SHOOT that person right now??
I read the following recently when doing some SEO research; “Do pop-ups annoy people. Yes. Do they work. Yes.” What a sad indictment of the human race that we can find something SO annoying, yet clearly allow it to influence. It’s like TV advertising. Who the hell thought of taking an interesting, gripping, 20-min program and thought it would be a good idea to interrupt it three or four times with several minutes of advertising. What have we become!?
But back to pop-ups. I had the misfortune to be completely sickened off of a decent-looking Twitter management application (Commune.it) by pop-ups. Now, I do understand the perceived need for pop-ups, so I am not overly-annoyed when I meet them but this experience so angered me I revoked that app’s Twitter permissions and even wrote them a scathing DM on Twitter to voice my annoyance.
I had been looking for a decent management app, and was prepared to pay for the right one if it did what I needed it to do, so I started some research, and after a few hours it looked like Commune.it was a decent choice. They had a free option, which I liked because I could try it out first before deciding to take out a plan. I did the research because quite frankly I am careful about who/what I allow to access my social media. All this ‘log in with x, y, or z’ is kinda scary. People do it for the convenience without stopping to think what giving their permissions really means. Think about it people!
But back to Commune.it. I signed-up, using my Twitter, accepted the permissions, and the dashboard showed on-screen very briefly only to be covered up immediately by a full-screen pop-up inviting me to take a paid-plan at 50% off. I closed that, then entered my verification email address and submitted that, only to be faced once again by this full-screen pop-up. So that’s TWO full-screen pop-ups and I haven’t even got to the dashboard. So now I am getting a little annoyed. I close the pop-up, and finally get to see the dashboard. I’m taking it in (looks rather like the TweetDeck layout with several columns), and then I scroll down a bit – and you guessed it. full screen pop-up AGAIN. At this point I am asking myself, “Do they actually want me to see what they’ve got or don’t they?” So I close it off once again, and them click on one of the other columns to take a closer look see. And yes, I got a fourth pop-up! FOUR, in the space of less than two minutes.
Even by incredibly annoying pop-up standards that was extreme, and I found it disgraceful to be honest. It’s not like they were small pop-up boxes, they were full-screen adverts to get you to pay for the service. You could not see anything else unless you closed it or clicked on it. The tactics of Commune.it became very clear. They were more interested in getting me to pay for a subscription than they were about showing me what their app could actually do. That’s incredibly poor customer service. When that fourth one popped up I closed the window and revoked their permissions for my Twitter account. Perhaps others might not be as annoyed and just suffer it but I wasn’t hanging around to find out just how many more pop-ups I would have to face then or later while trying to use it. I did get a reply to my DM to them, which said:
“Okay Jim and Zetta, Thank you for the feedback and for taking the time to write us this note. We take every piece of feedback and use it to make a better system for each and every user 🙂 Please note that we have users that have been using the free plans for years, and that we also have premium plans for teams and businesses to be even more productive and efficient with Commun.it. I am sorry for your experience and again we will use this to improve.”
Doesn’t really say anything does it? I doubt they’ll change anything – that multiple pop-up strategy clearly shows where their main focus lies. First impressions count, and as a first impression my experience with Commun.it speaks volumes for how they view and treat customers/subscribers. I would never recommend them to anyone. It’s not that I totally object to pop-ups. I believe they can be useful. You’ll get one here on our blog. It should show up on the bottom right of the page when you scroll down a little and it’s to subscribe to our newsletter. Click to close it and you should NOT see it again in the same session (if anyone does DO let me know because unlike Commune.it I do not want to annoy our visitors!)