Ian Lurie – Conversation Marketing

I found this article through @RasMbisi on Twitter – Michelle Vickers from Ras Mbisi Lodge on Mafia Island off the coast of Tanzania. The piece comes from Ian Lurie @portentint on Twitter (that’s him above) from his blog conversation marketing. There are certain things I hate about websites and it was nice to read that others do too. The original piece was Ian’s “Here’s my 13-step process for making sure your customers hate you. Just build these features into your web site.” I’ve picked the 9 that really annoy me (and that I understood!!)

1: The Flash Intro
Somehow people still argue with me, saying that 120 seconds of totally pointless dancing raisins, spinning squares and cheesy, porn-inspired music loops is a good marketing tactic. It’s not. How do you feel when they show commercials at the movie theater? They get in the way, right? So does that nasty, pointless flash intro. It’s like a sleezy sales guy standing outside The Ritz. Even worse, it drives away the search engines, too. If you want your customers to hate you, put a nice, long Flash intro on your home page. Even better, make sure there’s no way to skip it.

2: The Every Page Link
You don’t really have to link back to your webmaster/designer from every single page of your site.

3: Animated Buttons
Use any of these on your site and I will find your server, pour a milkshake into the power supply and then run down the street shrieking with laughter. If you want your customers to despise you, use lots and lots of animated buttons.

4: Take Over My Browser, Why Dontcha?
Gotta love this one. You go to a web site. Then your browser blinks, goes into a kind of fit, and suddenly fills your whole screen. What the hell?! Someone suddenly decided you needed a ‘cinematic’ experience, so they used a javascript to maximize your browser window. That’s actually OK, unless you’re like me and have a 24″ monitor. Then your browser suddenly explodes in your face like you’ve entered hyperspace. The web site you visited appears as a tiny little rectangle in the middle of the screen or your computer crashes because it can’t handle drawing an animation at 5x normal size. If you want your customers to find sticks with rusty nails in them and then find you, take over their browser and make it really big.

5: Have a Soundtrack
Some sites might deserve a soundtrack. But if you’re an estate agent, I don’t want to hear the first ten bars of the Star Spangled Banner, converted to tinny MIDI format, played over and over. Want everyone to wish a pox on both your houses? Have an annoying, repetitious soundtrack.

6: Write Really Long Sentences With No Punctuation and Then Use Bad Grammar Too So That I can’t Tell What the Hell You’re Saying
Please, just hire a copywriter, OK? Or, just keep writing crappy copy. So that your customers can hate you.

7: Have An Incomprehensible Tag Cloud
I don’t hate all tag clouds. But every now and then I see one with 250+ terms in 4 colors and almost infinite different sizes. It’s like the blogger wants me to run away. Obstacle-oriented design. I love it. Trust me, folks won’t like you if you use a horrifically large, impossible to read tag cloud.

8: Make Me Register
Oh, no you didn’t! You did not just sell me on your product, get me all happy to buy it, and then ask me to fill out an entire registration form for the honor of giving you my money! Actually, at least half the e-commerce sites I see still do exactly that. “We want to make sure we can contact them,” is what I hear a lot. I also get “We want them to be able to order more quickly next time.” Then give them the option of saving their information, at the end of the checkout process. Gasp.

9: Make a Popup Appear When I (try to) Leave
I visit your site. I don’t like you, or I’m not ready to buy right now. Do you really think that popping up a window when I try to leave is going to make me change my mind? Let’s see: “Hmmm. I didn’t really need what you have to sell me. But since you’re being unbelievably annoying, I’ll think I’ll buy something.” Nope. If you want your customers outside your house with pitchforks, have a popup window that appears when they try to leave your site.

Has a way with words our Ian doesn’t he? But spot on he is!