“Have you been to the Wales Online website recently?” Steve said apropos of nothing.
Johnny took a swig of his beer and waited, he knew what was coming.
“It’s bloody useless, almost unusable,” Steve said.
“I know,” Johnny said. “it’s all sensationalism and click bait isn’t it. The amazing story of blah blah blah and then you read it and there’s nothing remarkable at all.”
“Oh, I’m not talking about the articles or the standard of journalism,” Steve popped a few peanuts in his mouth, “although you’re right, it’s sewer press. No, for me, it’s the bloody adverts. Now, I know these sites have to get funding, and I know that they can’t set up a paid firewall because no one would ever pay a tenner a month to read a shitty regional newspaper website, but it is getting beyond a joke. Yesterday, I opened an article and there was one pop up and then three videos started at the same time. I had someone trying to sell me insurance, some shouty car commercial and a real estate advert with a catchy tune.”
“Like three kids competing for my attention, look at me, look at me, look at me. It’s like whack-a-mole, you turn one off another one starts, you turn that off the first one starts again.
Johnny shook his head.
“Thank god my boss was out of the office,” Steve continued. “How the hell are you meant to cyberslack at work if every time you open a website there’s a cacophony of noise? I don’t know why they do it. It’s counterproductive. If I can’t go to their website when I’m in work in case Ray Winston starts shouting at me about belonging to the biggest online betting company in the world, then they’re losing traffic.”
“You know what I hate,” Johnny said. “When there’s an advert in the margins of the website,” he drew an arch with his hands to show what he meant. “And it overlaps with the links, so when you click on the link, you got to the advertiser’s web page.”
“I thought that happens only on porn sites,” Steve said.
“I wouldn’t know,” Johnny replied.
Both men took a swig of their beer.
“But you know there’s the reader view,” Johnny said. “it gets rid of the ads.”
“Yeah, I tried that, but the bloody videos still start, so then you have to close the reader view and stop the videos. And…” Steve tapped the table, “what really annoys me is when the video takes ages to load and you’ve already changed windows, and suddenly from out of nowhere your computer starts singing or talking. After you’ve recovered from the heart attack, you spend ages finding which window is making the noise.”
“Yep, I know that feeling,” Johnny said. “Another beer,” he pointed to Steve’s empty glass. Steve nodded and Johnny scooped up the empties and headed to the bar.