Slide shows: Scourge of the Internet?

Widespread practice too often an abuse of readers' trust and time

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This has been bothering me for awhile, and it's long past time for a rant.

I hate Internet slide shows. Hate everything about them.

They're manipulative. They're deceptive. They're incredibly time-wasting.

And they're everywhere.

The HuffingtonPost. Business Insider. Forbes.com (which apparently thinks calling them "Photo Galleries" makes them more palatable to readers). Even, alas, many tech sites.

Do any of the web publishers who load up their sites with slide shows think most people actually want to slog through endless pages to read about the 12 Best Cities to Find An IT Job? Or the 10 Best Places to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks? Or the 15 Stupidest Things Michelle Bachmann Has Ever Said?

I sure don't. I want Bachmann's pearls of idiocy all right there on one page for my time-efficient amusement. But too many web publishers lure readers in with a tantalizing headline (usually containing a number), only to lead them on a Bataan Death March of "Next" buttons and ad impressions.

The thing is, I don't think I've ever clicked on any display ad in a slide show -- or even noticed one! I'm usually too busy trying to curb my growing impatience and berating myself for once again getting seduced by the slide-show siren song. I suspect I'm far from alone.

Further, of all the slide shows I've ever started, I'd say I got all the way through maybe 10 percent of them. The ROI of my time almost never is worth it.

From a financial perspective, maybe I'm missing the big picture. Maybe slide shows add up to big bucks for content sites. Maybe they're easy to sell to advertisers. And maybe they work for advertisers.

I get that. As a content professional, believe me, I want advertising-supported content to succeed. And I want website ad sales people to earn generous commissions so they can buy me drinks once in awhile.

As a reader, however, slide shows drive me absolutely nuts.

But enough of my complaints. I want to hear what readers think about slide shows. If you'd like to weigh in, take the poll below. (Don't worry; it's all on one convenient page!)

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