For a while, I’ve been pretty irritated that the ESPN home page has a video and audio block (part of ESPN Motion) that starts playing without any intervention on my part and blares ads and sports highlights through my speakers. This morning, while looking for this weekend’s NFL playoffs schedule, my second pageview of the site launched a pop-up ad in a way that managed to defeat the pop-up blockers in both Firefox and the Google Toolbar. At this point, it’s clear that is too hostile to users for me to use; there are way too many alternatives to make it worth my blood pressure to deal with the desire of ESPN’s site designers to subvert their users’ preferences.


I use a Javascript whitelist (NoScript, fwiw: to avoid crud like this. Some sites, unfortunately, won’t display at all without Javascript, or break in other ways, but ESPN seems fine without it to me. (And then of course it frustrates my wife to no end to have one more thing to worry about why sites are broken when she’s borrowing my computer).

It’s amazing how hostile the general Internet feels when I have to go back to using older IEs with no Javascript or popup protection. One of these days we may have to start hiding behind scriptable proxy servers that rewrite out the really hostile code before it gets to our browsers. Feh.

• Posted by: daveadams on Jan 5, 2007, 10:25 AM

Annoying sites like ESPN won’t stop being annoying until they lose visitors. And they won’t lose visitors as long as we’re using popup blockers, noscript, etc.

• Posted by: Amit Patel on Jan 14, 2007, 4:32 PM

I couldn’t agree more about espn. I almost never go to their site anymore because of this; have quit some time ago and do not miss them. Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports are just two examples of all the same content easily clicked on. ESPN is a great avenue of course, but they’ve really gotten too big and successful, in their own minds. Go elsewhere sports fans!

• Posted by: jeff on Jan 15, 2007, 7:28 PM
Please note that comments automatically close after 60 days; the comment spammers love to use the older, rarely-viewed pages to work their magic. If comments are closed and you want to let me know something, feel free to use the contact page!