Design Marketing Media Web/Tech

Interface Hall of Shame

I think that this is what I’ll call all of these examples … it just makes life simple. The example this week comes from Ziff Davis Media publication PC Week:

screenshot, PC magazine

I’m pretty sure that I unsubscribed from this electronic newsletter, The PC Magazine Buying Guide: Networking, last week, when I ruthlessly pruned subscriptions from my UW email. But maybe not.

The image above is a screenshot of what happened when I clicked the “unsubscribe” link in today’s email.


  • I can’t read the “you have been unsubscribed” text … although I was able to, moments before the popup advert and javascript window appeared.
  • I can “close” the browser window only by clicking “cancel” or “ok” on the in-your-face survey button. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture that “greyed out” close-window button in my screenshot.
  • I’m unsubscribing from a free electronic newsletter, and ZD is trying to get me to pay money to subscribe to a print magazine! If I don’t want something “free,” why would I want to pay for a magazine?

Although I think of ZD as having a stranglehold on the tech magazine market, it seems I’m mistaken. Just last month, ZD emerged from “its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, [and] can now get back to the business of running a struggling tech publishing company.”

This sort of “advertising” is unlikely to help that cause, IMO.


I found another ZD publication in my inbox … and I know why it was still there. Unlike the PC Magazine “unsub” links, which knows exactly which publication your email is attached to, and which truly “unsubs” you on click … the CIO Minute newsletter takes you to a subscription page! Nothing pre-checked! So you have to find the newsletter, scroll to the bottom of the page, type in your email address, and click unsubscribe.

But the reason I’ve added the CIO Minute to this post is the image below: there is an interstitial ad that you have to wade through before the sub/unsub page! I know that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but this … <head shake>.


By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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