Online news outlets are a dying breed and many users have decided to consume information elsewhere. Why? Because the news industry has become a cesspool of anti-consumer and blackhat practices that has eroded trust for the sake of money.

What news sites get wrong

I could write up an entire essay about all the shady practices that most news sites are guilty of, but here are just a few top level issues:

  • Clickbait headings with misleading information
  • Disabling the user from reading if ad-block is present
  • Tracking the user with 3rd party scripts
  • Taking massive performance hits (specifically on mobile due to huge JavaScript blocks)
  • Pop-up ads
  • Fixed headers or footers which leads to harder readability / accidental element interactions

But they need ad revenue!

If your business is solely dependent on tracking scripts, tricking users with clickbait titles and using archaic ads - then you're destined to fail regardless. These practices create an unsafe and unhealthy web for everyday users - not to mention most browsers have announced that future updates will be blocking ads by default. News outlets need to adapt or die.

What's the solution?

I don't have a fix all band-aid to replace current revenue streams for news websites. I'm sure someone much smarter than I can come up with better ideas, but just off the top of my head:

  • Switch over to a monthly subscription plan (if no one pays for it maybe you weren't as useful of a source as you thought)
  • Partner with brands to create sponsored articles (without ruining the user experience of course)
  • Place a larger emphasis on user donations or promotions

The News Shouldn't be Spam

Most traffic flowing into news websites are there for one thing: the content. News outlets should not be spamming their main revenue supply (the users) or misleading people with false information.

If you're a regular consumer of news and you happen to run across a platform that is guilty of any of these practices, shoot them an email explaining why you won't be returning to their website (unless they change their ways). These anti-consumer practices will only stop when these organizations start losing money.