Lifehacker and Gizmodo used to be the blogs I read most often. However, recently all Gawker Media sites underwent a change that at first was just annoying, but after trying to use for a couple of weeks I find is downright prohibitive. Until things change, I’ve actually gone so far as to remove Gizmodo and Lifehacker from my RSS feeds [sniff- I’ll miss you guys!].
First of all, any internal linking (which they use a lot of) has been obliterated, especially on mobile devices (which is where I most often view these sites). Because mobile devices are automatically routed to a page which lists the most recent posts (there doesn’t seem to be any getting around this), ANY link you click will take you to the new “main” page (not the page you were trying to click to).
Also, when using an RSS feed, you see a preview of the stories on a site. It used to be you’d click on the preview for any Lifehacker or Gizmodo story and go straight to the full story. Now you click the preview, get taken to the “main” page, have to find the story again (often buried deep on the list), and then have to click to the story in order to actually read the material.
It was bad enough when Lifehacker and Gizmodo truncated their previews to just a few sentences from the story. The new format is now impossible. For a contrast (that works), Engadget usually shows nearly all the text from a story in my RSS Agregator. I can get the full idea of the story, and if it’s something I’m really interested in, I’ll click through to the site. The new Gawker format forces you to click through (and then sift through crap looking for the story) just to get a HINT of what’s going on. Gawker may think it will increase traffic to their sites, but I’m not willing to do that, and I’m betting a lot of other people aren’t either (and will just find alternative sources for their news).
I honestly can’t figure out what the hell is going on with their new landing page (Lifehacker or Gizmodo –they’re set up the same) when using my desktop browser, so I’ve just stopped visiting altogether. It’s so convoluted with photos, ads, and oddly aligned garbage that it’s not even worth my time.
I went to the Lifehacker site and wrote one of the editors (Adam) to voice my concerns, and I was surprised to actually get a personal e-mail back. He assured me they were working on the issues. Unfortunately though, they aren’t working on them fast enough, and they’re losing readers. Hit any blog/forum discussion of the issue, and you’ll see that people are abandoning ship.
Surely Gawker Media is a aware of how bad things are. I can’t believe they haven’t just reverted to the old setup until they can better work things out for a new format.
They are seriously screwing the proverbial pooch here.
[update] Even Penny Arcade agrees!