37 Things I Hate About The Internet

This is a post dedicated to all the things websites have done over the years to piss me off. Some are obvious like my rants against ad overload, others are more obscure like using text-shadow incorrectly and making your site’s text all blurry. I’ve committed some of these atrocities myself in the past. We all have. So it’s important we learn from them. If you have any to add please do so in the comments, I’ll post them here.

1) AESSPITHLBYTLTTIO. – Abbreviating Every Single Short Phrase IThe Human Language Because You’re Too Lazy TType IOut. Then forcing me and millions of others to search online trying to figure out the meaning of the abbreviation. The whole point of a conversation is to understand another person, if I can’t understand what you’re saying our conversation is useless. Would it really kill you to type out words? I’m looking at you: “w/o” & “w”, “AFAIK”, “b/c”, “BTW”, “FTFY”. “lol”, “aka”, and “brb” are one thing. But this?! It’s getting ridiculous, and annoying to keep track of.

2) Trying to tricking me into thinking an ad is part of a page’s content – The more you shove advertising into my face the more I refuse to pay attention to it. I understand your need for revenue but you’ve really brought this down upon yourself. Adblock.

3) Using Text-shadow – Please don’t use text shadow for text, please. It makes text look blurry when used incorrectly or on small text. I’ve actually seen people use it on their entire site.  Example:

4) When Google’s results send me to a blog that has every single article archived on one page and crashes my browser from loading so many images & text.

5) You must sign up to perform this action – Having to register an account with a website to read an article, post a rating, review, comment, or view a forum attachment.

6) vBulletin’s limits on how often you can run a search query – Ever visit a forum looking for something, try to use the search feature and end up having to wait 2-5 minutes to refine your search? Each and every time. Yeah that’s when I leave your site. vBulletin does this to conserve server resources because search requires quiet a bit of CPU power. Correct me if I’m wrong but, I don’t recall seeing this search limitation anywhere other than on vBulletin powered forums.

7) Software websites with no screenshots or demos – Websites that don’t show any screenshots of the app/software/script they’re selling or advertising. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled on source forge project pages or sites dedicated to an app or script that DON’T show any screenshots of the actual app/script. You’re asking me to blindly download your script, take the time to install it, and see if it’s what I need. And you’re asking a lot. No thanks.

8) Not showing the price for an item until we add it to our shopping cart. – Amazon does this (and it’s not their fault) but it’s still incredibly annoying to consumers and just adds another road block. Whenever I see these I don’t even bother with the product. It’s more of an “Instant deterrent” to buying a product.

9) Abbreviating the file names of downloads – 2 weeks from now when I clean out my downloads folder I’m not going to remember what sxh.exe is, just put stock-exchange-setup.exe or stockExchangeSetup.exe. Please take the time to type out at least what the file is. Your developers might remember it because it’s the only thing they work on for months, but to everyone else, your bxdi3.24.exe is one of hundreds of files in their downloads folder.

10) Not Linking to the site you’re talking about – Not providing a single clickable link to the site you’re reviewing or talking about in your article is one of those little annoyances that just adds up over time and pisses you off the more you see it.

11) Turning Comments Off – I understand that some people are extremely busy and don’t want to moderate comments, but how else can I tell you about mistakes in your post, or question your insanity. The first thing I do when I read an article anywhere, whether it’s about software or politics, is I read the comments because that’s where people post mistakes the author made and valuable contrasting opinions. An article with comments turned off is like a city without electricity. It feels dead.

12) Anything that auto-plays – People don’t visit one web page at a time, they load up web sites in tabs and then go through them one by one. So it sucks when you’re listening to music or it’s 3am and suddenly sound blasts through your speakers or headphones. If your site has anything that autoplays at least have the music fade in /or/ don’t activate auto-play unless the user is “focused” on your site (Actually looking at it).

13) Content Slideshows – We’ve all seen them, Instead of the article being on one page they split it up into 7 slides surrounded by ads that take over a minute to load. They start progressing on their own (big no no), are slow to load, and the slow down slides / speed up slides controls don’t work the way they should. One page please.

14) Splitting up content over numerous pages – What could easily have been 1 page has been extended to 4 pages with a small square of content in the middle followed by ads all around, it’s annoying, it’s stupid, and as soon as I see it I immediately close the tab and move on to another site. Some sites disguise this as a “slideshow” which is basically the same thing only it pisses you off by auto-progressing on it’s own.

15) Websites made entirely in Flash – High presentation, low content, long loading times, annoying PowerPoint-like transitions that take forever to complete. An all flash website says, I’m useless, shallow, and don’t have anything important to say, but I want you to think I’m cool because I look good. I’ve never visited an all flash website that didn’t annoy me.

16) Using Non Standard Audio Formats like Real Player – You thought it was dead and no one did this anymore. You where wrong. They’re out there.

17) Video in the QuickTime Format – Stop making me download Quicktime + iTunes just to view a movie trailer. I don’t want it, I don’t like it. This is what Flash video is for. Thank god for YouTube because this shit got annoying real fast.

18) Endless blabber – AKA using 500 words to say what could of been said using 50 words. It’s quality over quantity, not quantity over quality.

19) Useless information – (also see below) Some sites like to post random specs and data that no one cares about like what actions random users just made, the exact time stamp of when someone joined a site or posted something, random people from FaceBook who “liked” the site, twitter feeds of random people, etc…

20) Looking Lively without real content – Home pages that try to look busy and lively by taking bits and peices of random content, numbers, and statistics, all of which are useless, and throw it onto the home page to make it look like there’s “lots of stuff going on”. Example: Yelp.com

21) Neglected comment moderation – “thanks”. “cool”. “awesome”. “haha”. “First!”. Yeah delete those please. Especially when there’s 10 pages worth. When your commments for a perticular article extend 3 pages its time to delete the lower quality ones.

22) Insane numbers of comments – At this point, reading the comments becomes impossible because of the noise. See QuickSprout.com. I respect Neil and there is an advantage to using comments as a conversation but too much is too much. Comments are just that, comments. Not chat. Not forums. They were originally meant as a way for readers to provide additional info the author didn’t, fix the author’s mistakes, ask the author a question. But more and more people are using comments as if they were a forum. If you’re going to do that then just install a message board and have the article link to it’s own forum.

Is this header’s font size large enough for you?

23) Text too big – Headers do not need to have a 90 pixel font size. I’m not blind. I operate my computer in the same room as my monitor thank you.

I assume you’re glued to your monitor like me, so you’ll probably be able to read this, right?

24) Text too small – I’ve actually visited people’s sites that had small text, italics, and text shadow. I had to disable their css in Chrome’s developer tools to actually read their site.

25) Clumping information into paragraphs instead of bullet points when it’s needed – Happened to me a few days ago actually. I clicked a link to “15 best places to live in America” and instead of getting a page with 15 bullet points of all the cities with descriptions underneath, I got one big page with all the cities hidden in randomly clumped paragraphs. They didn’t even bold them or anything.

26) Asking me for personal information to view a demo of your software. – Look, I know you’re asking for my email so you can spam me, and you know I’m not going to give you my real email, so just knock it off. I wouldn’t give my address, phone number or email to a stranger on the street so why would I give it to you? What am I getting out of it? Nothing, just more annoying phone calls and spam. I’m looking at you vBulletin.

27) No Contact Info – Absolutely no contact info, private who-is data, and no way to contact anyone associated with the website. It’s like you need a subpoena just to ask the guy a question or tell him his code is wrong.

28) Opening links in a new window for me – The only time this is ok is for advertisements. Any other time, it’s a big no no. Many times I’m done with a site and want to navigate some place else, I click a link, and it automatically opens in a new tab. Forcing me to manually find and close the site which I originally came from. Also, it breaks the back and forward buttons. Just don’t do it. Please.

29) Disabling middle click / ctrl+click to open links in new tabs. YouTube is an offender. Go to someone’s channel and middle click on the videos on the right to open them in new tabs and they won’t. They’ll just start playing on the current page. Why break ‘open in new tab’?

30) Intros to web episodes, it’s not a tv show, stop puttinng in intros to your web shows. TV shows use this as a way to prepare the audience for the show (It’s starting, grab your drinks, friends, get ready!). Online videos can be paused, rewound, replayed, revisited. You don’t need an intro, it just takes up bandwidth and time. Example: Zero Punctuation has an annoying intro that is completely unnecessary and it plays in every single episode.

31) Lack of a “Stop Loading” button on online videos – We don’t all have 10 MB/sec bandwidth. Even if we did, video hosting sites usually limit the speed at which a video loads. This is especially needed for embedded Youtube videos. Sometimes a blog will have 5 or 10 Youtube videos on a page and I get sick of watching one before it’s done and move on to another. Since I can’t stop loading the one I gave up on, it still loads video, thus making my current video load much slower. Dear Youtube please use this. I made it just for you.

32) Using useless tiny icons that can barely be distinguished – Some web apps use tiny little icons. So tiny that they’re useless. The whole point of using icons besides tool names is to make it easier for the eye to find what it needs. Shape and color are easier to distinguish than text. But when those shapes and colors are tiny, they’re no longer easier to distinguish. Thus making them useless. I’ll post a good sample when I find one again.

33) Disabling right click so no one can save your images – Guess what? I’ve got a nice little screenshot program where I can draw a rectangle around anything on screen and it’ll save to a file automatically. I’m saving your picture no matter what. Get over it. Most of the sites that disable right click are from the 1990s, look almost as bad as my sites when I first started out, and where made by people with questionable design skills. Back then “webmasters” sold clients the comfort of knowing no one can steal their images or site code, so they’d encrypted JavaScript files, disable right clicking, and had big warning messages on their site not to print anything. Some of these sites are still online today. The funny part is, nothing they have is worth “stealing” in the first place. It just annoys you when you try to highlight and copy/paste an email address and are unable to.

34) 30 second video ads for a -30  second video – This is why advertising ruins everything it touches. 30 seconds might work for couch potatoes but on the internet, 30 seconds equates to 30 minutes. In most cases if adblock doesn’t block the ad I just leave the site. Sorry, I’ve got 20 other videos on startups I can watch.

35) Video / Audio ads without volume controls or pause buttons – I’m looking at you, Fora.tv. No pause. No skip. No mute. Well….. that’s what Adblock is for.

36) Putting st*rs in curse words Why? Does that bullsh*t make you feel more moral in front of your visitors? If you don’t have the balls to use strong language then just don’t attempt it. Stick to dang and darn.

37) Microsoft Silverlight – No Microsoft I will not download and install Silverlight just to watch a video on one of your websites. Why? Because that’s what Flash is for. You failed to invest in my best interests so I refuse to invest in yours.


  1. Curt Beckmann says:

    Great list! Wouldn’t the web be a cool place if all those gripes were addressed?

    I noticed that misspellings didn’t make your list (see above, “perticular”, “peices”, “it’s own”).  Probably wouldn’t make my top 10, but might make my top 37.  Or maybe the problem is that the proliferation of brand names and acronyms have made spell checking take forever?

  2. This is awesome list. My favorite was #11. So I had to make a comment that I liked this. Community = electricity for fueling ideas. 

  3. Angie B says:

    Love this post. I HATE internet slideshows with a vengeance! And the 30 second ad for a 30 second video… you are totally right, 30 seconds on the internet is like 30 minutes. I’m not sticking around.

  4. After clicking on the link in point 8 and visiting the article about MAP policy, I realized something that I kinda hate: articles for which there is no readily visible “posted on” date. Here in 2012 I’d really like to know if something was written in 2011 or 2007, and I shouldn’t have to spend any more than a couple seconds to find that date.

    Not a deal breaker, but definitely an annoyance.

    • Bob Dobalina says:

      And I hate it when people say ‘a couple seconds’ when they mean ‘a couple OF seconds’. Makes you look mildly illiterate ;) Having said that, I agree 100% with your comment. Thats actually what I googled to get to this great article. :)

    • Mud says:

      I love weeding through Google search results and finding some that are from sometime around 10 or 20 years ago where the tech info listed is completely irrelevant. Who maintains a server holding outdated websites? Who?

  5. Bet0928 says:

    Great list! My own pet peeve is website search engines that give zero results for something you know for certain is in the site. I don’t know what’s up with that.

  6. jen says:

    Excellent rant. What really brings me down though is that the anonymity so easily can make assholes and liars out of what actually might be decent people.    Plus that ads and bad coding makes fifty percent of all sites mess with my screenreader. I have to listen to most of the garbage on a page before finding content. and Captcha? I won’t even go there. Oh, I could go on and on.   

  7. Lucb1e says:

    Add to this list: bandwidth whores. Example: sites that only load images when you scroll them into view. (You’re an offender.) Not all connections are great enough to load images instantly and I often preload a couple pages in the background by middle-clicking links. This practice of not loading images defeats pretty much the entire purpose. And then when you do have a great connection, your attention is still drawn away from the text and onto an appearing image because, no matter how good the connection, it still takes some amount of time to load the images. Nevermind when your connection drops entirely for a few minutes (train, anyone?). At the very least have some area above the image that, when scrolled into view, already triggers the loading of images just below. That still solves bandwidth problems and doesn’t annoy me when having a good connection.

    Youtube is biggest offender of them all, especially their mobile app. I have 64kbps mobile bandwidth which is incapable of even streaming 240p. The buffer is removed every time the screen turns itself off or the youtube app is backgrounded, pretty much disabling me from viewing videos altogether when on the move. On the plus side, this is Android and I installed Linux, so I can use the youtube-dl command to buffer things anyway. But even then, it’s annoying, and they do something similar with videos on the web. I remember the time when videos would actually preload all the way over time instead of capping to a certain number of seconds ahead. Nowadays when you seek through the video it even throws away previously buffered video… I don’t get this.

  8. George W. says:

    Very good article. Anyway as for problem number 1, it’s something that everyone does (more or less). You are a web developer so you know how many abbreviations (some really useless) there are especially in the computer world. Even on top of this page the titles says: “Chris Norström
    on ui, ux, design, ideas, and video games”. And trust me, I had to search for the meaning of “ux”.

  9. George W. says:

    Oh, I forgot… In order to post these 2 comments I had to give my e-mail address. What about problem number 26?

  10. joe says:

    Online articles with no date are in my top 5 internet grievances. Especially articles that are about technology because that changes constantly. An article might compare software, saying this has this feature and that has that feature… but WHAT VERSIONS??? IS THIS STILL INFO STILL ACCURATE??? WHEN WAS THIS WRITTEN??? So annoying, almost to the point of making the article completely useless.

    The other thing that comes to mind is having to watch ads before movie trailers, which are ADS. Watching an ad before an ad is just not right.

    But as they say… first world problems (FWP). Especially my 2nd one.

  11. Lardass says:

    Oh, ads next to a musicvideo you were just about to watch with sound and no goddamn skip button…