Can anyone explain what value automatically refreshing a page every 10 minutes provides the reader of a news site like StarTribune.com?
For me, this does not help me and in fact hurts my experience with their site.
1. Sometimes I get distracted by something that needs to be flipped on the grill. When I get back to reading, the page suddenly decides that it needs to refresh. That was not helpful.
2. Sometimes I have more than one tab open at the same time in my browser. Actually, most of the time. At times like that, it’s quite possible that I’ll be reading something in a different tab only to notice the icon for the StarTribune tab spinning in a different tab. You just broke my concentration without providing any value, StarTribune, which makes me hate you.
3. StarTribune uses some of my bandwidth every time they refresh the page so they can push new ads.
4. I often open tabs as I see things than interest me, then work my way through those tabs over time. I’m sure some of the advertisers who’s ads are shown on the StarTribune are paying for those ads on an impression basis. If that’s the case, they’re getting ripped off by paying for ads that are reloading in tabs no human sees.
5. At its worst, I’ve noticed that I’ve left pages of the StarTribune open in my browser for almost a full day. If the StarTribune consistently reloads their pages every 600000 milliseconds (10 minutes) they’re serving a LOT of ads prospective customers don’t see yet advertisers pay for.
But wait! Maybe there is a good reason for refreshing the page. Here is what I’d expect to hear in response: “Sometimes stories change so we want to make sure you’re looking at the most current version of the story.”
My response: Go to search.twitter.com and search for a popular term such as “Obama.” Then wait a few minutes. You’ll see a message near the top of the page like this:
Pages DO change over time. This is a better way to deal with the issue. Leave it up to the readers to decide whether they’d like to continue reading what’s already in front of them, or click a link to see the latest version.
This is better for readers AND advertisers since readers gain more control over the content they’re trying to read and advertisers get more valuable ad impressions.