You know your web page sucks when it cost 7-million dollars to read!

Fred Showker
Oct 8, 2018 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post

Fathom a web page that costs 7.3-million dollars to read? Let’s do the math and see if you agree that it adds up to a web page that sucks!

I’ve been running this series about web sites that suck, and researching every page we run into that seems to be running a very high noise to content ratio. The goal is to find the world’s most egregious spam, stalker/predator pages, and point out the depths the web design industry has plummeted to. Our two other examples actually pale in comparison to this page from cNet. However, I bet there are worse ones out there!

Why do you suppose someone might need nearly TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND characters in a single text file to deliver a web page with only 400 words of actual content? In ASCII text, it would be about 12 kilobytes. However, the other 180 kilobytes of ASCII text appear to be for the purpose of trackers, stalkers and predators.

Put it into perspective

While the whole page is composed of 194,395 characters in code. If you printed that page of text in 12 point Monaco (mono-spaced code font) with no paragraph returns, you’d end up with a line of text 157.73 yards long — that’s almost 40 yards longer than a football field, including both 10-yard endzones! Now imagine hitting a page where you have to read 194,395 characters of code before the page can load. Is there any reason there’s no bandwidth?

Image for post
Image for post

When was the last time you were required to read 257 pages — immediately? When your browser arrives on that page, it has to read all of that, and then act upon all the scripting to dozens of remote, 3rd party web sites. Then you wonder why it’s taking so long to load the page!!!

Image for post
Image for post

Here we see line of text #328. This is a single line of text script that contains 54,419 characters. Using BBEdit, we turned on line wrapping and ended up with 11.4 tabloid pages taped end to end (That single line of text is 114.53 inches, or 16 feet!)

According to TrafficEstimate dot com, Cnet has received an estimated 58,409,000 unique visitors over the last 30 days. (Traffic has dropped 36.4% in a year) In testing the pages we’re finding the Cnet page takes 3.5 times as long to load as a normal html page with the exact SAME content and editorial graphics. That figures out to roughly a half minute. If the reader turns the page, the timer starts again and the bandwidth-starved browser has to load it all over again.

So the ‘lost’ or ‘empty’ loading time factored into the number of visitors last month means a typical Cnet page could be responsible for 29,204,500 minutes of lost time. That’s time that could have been spent more productively.

Let’s do the math : 29,204,500 minutes = 486,741.67 hours times an average wage of $15 per hour = $7,301,125.00 in losses. BOOM!

Now, let’s put that staggering number into perspective

If you took that much time off from work, say, on sick leave, it would take you 56 years to make it up. You would have had to start making it up in 1962, which is more than ten years before the internet was invented!

Fathom those numbers for a moment. Your provider has to receive and pass all that data on to your browser, which then has to read 25,258 words of code just to display the page.

If you had to do that, it would be like reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea cover to cover.

Who pays for it? You do.

Not only are you paying your provider for bandwidth, you’re paying in terms of lost time, and data bleeding. You’re also paying in terms of your privacy. Two of the advertisers on the page we hit are famous for robo call telemarketing. If they captured my UID and cross-referenced it with any number of any other data providers, they now know my phone number! Just take a look at the cookies they’ve dumped on me. So, there’s another loss I will incur due to this predator page!

Yes, folks it gets worse. Did I mention cookies?

Image for post
Image for post

NEXT: Cnet Cookies ??? My Lord, wait until you see all those cookies!

Previously : You Know Your Web Page Sucks

If you find a page that you think breaks the record for highest noise to content ratio, please send it in. You may be in line for our big annual prize!

Image for post
Image for post
Please feel free to share this meme, but let them know it came from 60-Seconds!

60-Second Window

Fred Showker on design, graphics, tech and media, since…

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store