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Make it Easy to Engage

I just commented on a blog post over at Live Journal. Ugh!

Trying to follow Chris Brogan’s advice to Grow Bigger Ears and engage with people and all that, I have a series of Google Alerts set up so on keywords that interest me. So I followed one of them to a post about self-publishing by a writer on Live Journal. I felt I had something to contribute, so I wrote a comment.

That’s when life started sucking for me. There are only three options for identifying yourself as a commenter:

  • Anonymous
  • Open ID
  • Live Journal User (Become a member!)

I hate being anonymous- might as well not post. Open ID…. well, apparently I’m not a geek, since I don’t know how that works or whether I have it (going to the Open ID website DID NOT clear things up). Only option left was “Become a member!”

I should have stopped at this point, but I had already invested some time and thought into my comment. So I forged ahead. I clicked on the link. Filled out TWO PAGES of forms (they apparently want to know what kind of music I listen to). When that was over, I was not returned to my comment- the login process deadended. I had to use the back button on my browser to find my comment. Which I submitted, finally.

Except, wait, no- I haven’t verified my email account yet, so I can’t publish my comment. So I go back over to my email, click on the verification link. The page loads slowly. Why so slowly? OH! You want me to watch a video ad for Best Buy? Classy. And I can’t X out of it for 3…2…1 I CLOSE YOU NOW!

I finally am able to post my comment. I’m so proud of myself, I could just spit.

If you are a blogger, writer, marketer, company, etc:
Do NOT put your primary presence somewhere it is hard to get to. LiveJournal, and places like it, are supposed to be obsolete in 2009. Why do you think they shut down GeoCities? No one wants to look at poorly designed websites cluttered with ads. And no one wants to go through hell just to post a comment. I would have abandoned ship early on, but I decided to see how far this would go (so I could write a blog post about it). Most of your visitors do not have my motivation.

If you are building a community, platform, service, etc:
Remove friction. Do not annoy me. Interruptive ads are not the best way to monetize.

If you are an advertiser:
NO ONE likes pop up ads. No one likes noise to suddenly start blasting out of their speakers. Stop it. Please stop it.

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