Enough With The Slideshow Pollution & This Means You, Huffington Post

Let me ask you this. If last year was all about Google’s war on thin content, does taking a bulletpoint list of 20 items and turning it into a 22 page slideshow make each individual page too thin? I’d say so, so maybe Google could turn its attention to penalizing the Huffington Post?

I follow the Huffington Post on Twitter and saw this tweet just now:

Interesting story, “A tale of two worlds: The highest and lowest unemployment rates in America.” OK, I’ll bite. I headed over:

Two arrows. Let’s focus on the lower one first. The story promised me the cities with the highest and lowest unemployment rates in America. But it’s not actually delivering that. None of the three paragraphs of the story actually tell me what these cities are.

Instead, to discover this, I have to start clicking to open up one of the 22 parts in all that this story is made of. To get to the cities with the highest unemployment rate, that’s 10 additional clicks:

All that, just so I can find underneath the giant photo the answer to one of the questions the story purported to provide: “Unemployment Rate: 27.2 Percent.” And to get the other city I was promised, that with the lowest unemployment, it’s another 10 clicks:

Again, all this just to get the short text: “Unemployment Rate: 2.8 percent.”

Basically, this is a single page article that could have been done with two sets of bulletpoints, one listing the ten cities with the highest unemployment in the US, the other listing those with the lowest. But the Huffington Post craptastially turns it into this unnecessary slideshow because that generates plenty of page views.

The Huffington Post is far from the only publication to do this. Business Insider is also in love with slideshows in this way. But at least BI always makes sure to provide a single-page view, so that at most, it’s only causing two clicks.

Not the Huffington Post. If there’s an option for this, I’m completely missing it. That first arrow points to a print-only version, but that only shows what’s on your current page, not the entire “article” all at once.

But hey, why stop when you still get rewarded like this:

There’s the Huffington Post article, top ranked on Google for a search on “highest unemployment.” Are those searchers really being best served by being routed into an article with a misleading headline, misleading in the sense that the only way you get the answer to your question is if you perform 20 additional clicks?


  1. gregorylent says

    that’s why i stopped clicking on business insider links, same with huffpo .. hate being manipulated for someone’s page-view play.

    disposable “news”, anyway, so no loss

  2. says

    This is bad enough, but the worst thing about The Huffington Post is that when you hit the site the darn thing refreshes 2-3 times. The Sun (newspaper) does the exact same thing. Talk about artificially inflating the pageview count… and who cares about that anymore?

  3. says

    Amen, brother! I’m so sick of these sites that do this. I can’t tell you how many articles I have given up on because I just didn’t have the patience. It seems every ‘newspaper’ has gone to this model. Didn’t the mantra of journalism used to be “be brief?” Not anymore. Now it’s “be SEO!”

  4. says

    Honestly speaking, I hate seeing blog posts that has slides on it. I just don’t like clicking all over the slides because its really a waste of my time, while in fact all I want is the certain topic. Websites are maybe doing this to trick people to click more on their pages… Yes, they could have merged it into a single page and can help readers to read their post with ease; just like what you did to this post. Thank you very much!

  5. says

    I have stopped going through such things even if I am interested in the topic. The moment I see a blogposting like this, I click the page. Similar to infographics with no other value than trying to be a link bait I do not share them, like them and if I by accident liked a friend of mine’s facebook update because the title sounded good, I remove it again.

    Same with text: If it is an article which goes over several pages, I search for the ‘all page’ link, if not available, I look for a print version of that.

    In the longer run, that is the only way to teach the engines like Google and Facebook that this is content we do not like. I don’t mind splitting up stuff, especially if it really makes sense, but if the main goal is to get me to click, they are loosing out on me sharing their content.

  6. Adrian says

    Hi Danny,
    Just designing my first news site,and you made me realise how much I dislike slideshows,several football blogs do it and I will not read them anymore no matter the content.
    Forbes is a big user of slideshows but their info is usually worth the aggro,so keeping simple is the way to go.