Browser hijacking motivated by online advertising from online news organizations

I read my news online as most people do. Online news organizations including TV stations and traditional newspapers are online and of course need to monetize their content. In some cases as with the Wall Street Journal, you can read three articles per month for free but have to buy an online subscription for full access. Totally understandable.

For other news publications, they monetize their websites with advertising. Some, like the Drudge Report are subtle. Adds appear at the top, sides and the bottom of the page. Others like the UK Daily Mail and UK Mirror, assault the viewer with multiple pop up ads, autoplay videos, redirects and the like. Sometimes there is so much load activity, you have to wait for the site to settle down before you can even read the article. I am surprised this activity does not cause seizures.

There a growing trend however, of what I call “Forward Progression Page Refreshing”.  When you are on the Drudge Report, sometimes you will notice the page refreshing. This is just keeping that page updated every minute or two in case there are any new news headlines. At any point, you can hit the back button on your browser and you will go back to the site you were on before you went to Drudge.

The Seattle Times and the UK Mirror are refreshing as well(you can’t see it), however every time they do their hidden refresh, they are advancing you deeper into their website. This is done so when you are done reading the news article and hit “back” on your browser, you are not able to leave their site. Here are two examples below. I went to an article at The Seattle Times and another article from the Mirror. I clicked on links that were on the Drudge Report.

You can see by right clicking on the back button, I have been taken deep into their site with the same article.

Seattle Times Website Advertising

UK Mirror Website Advertising

In my opinion, the sole motivation for this process, is to keep you on their site longer to deliver more advertising to the viewer. I feel this practice is not only deceptive but is intrusive to our browsing experience.

I was in one Mirror article for 3 minutes and had to have been pushed forward at least 40 times to where hitting the back button to get back to Drudge or even right clicking the back button was futile. I had to actually kill the tab to get out of it.

And shame on you Seattle Times, my hometown newspaper. I expect this kind of thing from adwhores like the papers in the UK, but this is poor etiquette.