Don’t Hold Your Content Hostage!

Are you holding your content hostage?

Or your readers?

I was searching the web this morning for a specific plugin I’d used before but couldn’t remember the name of.

I came across a website with a demo of the plugin, but instead of being able to see the demo and page content, I was greeted by a greyed out screen with a box that said:


Sorry for the interruption

Please take a moment to share this post, Thank you very much.

(share buttons here)

Wait 60 seconds…

I didn’t wait.  I did come back later to see if it was a one-time annoyance but no such luck.  Every time I attempted to view the page the same pop up kept me from it.

Now, I have nothing against pop ups.  I recommend their careful use.  As long as I can click to get rid of one, and it’s not showing up on every single page load, I can live with it.

But gating access to your site and forcing me to wait a full minute before I can see anything if I don’t share it first is over the top.  Here’s why…

I’m not that patient.  Google is one click away and there are thousands of search results waiting to give me the information I’m looking for.  I’d rather click back, search again, and find it elsewhere than sit and wait a full minute before I’m granted permission to view your content.  Maybe it’s fantastic and 100% worth the wait, but how am I supposed to know that if I’m new to your site and am blocked from seeing it?

I love to share!  If you follow me on Twitter you know this already.  I share great content constantly.  I share on Facebook, G+, StumbleUpon and other sites as well.

But I’m not going to share something from a source I’m not familiar with, and content I’ve never seen!  What kind of respect is that showing to my followers, friends, and colleagues?

I need to SEE content before I’m willing to share it (or else I’d better know you very well and trust you–and that type of trust takes time to build).  Simple as that.

Maybe you’ll get more shares with a strategy like this, but I bet you’ll also see a skyrocketing bounce rate (people who come to your site, get annoyed by the forced sharing, and just click away without sharing or viewing anything).

So, please consider whether holding your content hostage and forcing me to share it sight unseen is a good idea.

Do you really want those types of forced recommendations?

Or would you rather have honest-to-goodness fans sharing your information because they found it valuable and can giving a glowing endorsement of it to their own networks?

Me, I’ll take the real fans, please.  Even if they’re fewer, in the long run they’re more than worth the effort that it takes to cultivate a relationship with them.

Photo Credit: pressmaster/StockFresh

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  1. Yep, we should be honest in what we recommend and we should know that recommendations lead people to action — we don’t want to mislead friends and we don’t want to abuse their trust. Office comes with responsibilities ;)
    Helenee recently posted… Find A Good Writer updated Mon Aug 1 2011 3:29 am CDTMy Profile

    1. It does, and our reputations are on the line — maybe not exactly with every tweet, but it’s got to start somewhere and letting our followers know they can trust us even in the little things is important. :)

  2. Fantastic post! I totally agree – I’d be out of there in a flash and never go back. Very few sites have such exclusive content that I can’t find what I’m looking for elsewhere. Even if I’m shopping for something specific, if I don’t like one site I can usually find it somewhere else.

    ~Amy Sue
    Amy Sue recently posted… Top 10 Weird Phrases Heard in Our HouseMy Profile

    1. Right! We work SO hard to get traffic and readers to our sites… I’d hate to scare mine off and send them somewhere else for the info! :)

  3. LOL I couldn’t agree more! That seems crazy – sharing before you know what you are sharing. Weird.

    I try to be open and free with content – and I can tell you do as well. My thought is – if you know how to do something – post it. There are others out there looking for and will praise you for your content.

    Funny that you should make this post, I just shot a screen capture and mentioned the same thing – share your content and info! It seems some people think that if they tell someone a ‘strategy’ of theirs, the world is going to start using it and the strategy will no longer be as effective for them. I am exact opposite – share and tell the world. :)
    Brock Blohm recently posted… How To Spin Articles Like A Pro And Drive Lots Of Traffic To Your SiteMy Profile

    1. I’m always surprised by how many are scared to share their knowledge. But if we’re constantly learning we can’t possibly share it all, anyway. :) I’m thankful for other bloggers who share knowledge I can learn from, and like you said, others will appreciate when we share with them. :)

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more. I cannot stand when I encounter a pop up that there is no way to get rid of it. How annoying that someone would do that. I am perfectly OK with the type of pop up that you use because it serves its purpose and it is easy to get rid of if you are not interested in the offer. Thanks for another great post. I always enjoy reading your information. I am new and need all the help that I can get. Thanks.
    Jeremiah Johnson recently posted… Samsonite Silhouette SpinnerMy Profile

    1. Right – that was the most annoying part for me was that I couldn’t get rid of it if I wasn’t interested in it. And it kept coming back. Crazy!

      The popup I’m using is WP Super Popup plugin (free version) and it shows once every 30 days for visitors, and you can get rid of it by clicking anywhere on the screen. I’ve been tracking results for quite a while and my bounce rate hasn’t been affected that I can tell, traffic’s still going up, and I’m getting more opt-ins. :)

  5. Not only is it bad strategy, the message can be interpreted as “Please take a moment to share this interruption.” Thanks, but I’ll pass.

    The holding hostage analogy is an excellent one, Michelle. I can see why you have lots of genuine fans!

    Susan Maricle recently posted… Packing UpMy Profile

    1. Yes, that’s what it felt like. “Share this or else!” Yikes.

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