Changing Times for Consoles?

Stephen Yagielowicz

A couple of recent XBiz polls focused on Webmaster's attitudes towards consoles — those ubiquitous new Windows that pop-up (and under) the browser Window you are currently using. Here's a look at what you had to say on the subject:

As soon as JavaScript hit the Web, one of the first and most noticeable uses that many Adult Webmaster's employed this new technology for was the manipulation of Window properties, and the calling of them from a currently displayed page. Whether these new Windows appeared as surfers entered the site, left the site, or both, they provided a way to welcome surfers who visited your site, and to say goodbye to them as well:

As with most things in life, moderation is the key, and just as that last serving at the dinner table may leave you wishing you hadn't eaten so much, the excessive use of consoles has led many surfers to automatically close any new Windows that may appear while they are browsing your site. The reason for this is simple: rather than using them in moderation, many Webmaster's decided that if one console can increase revenues, then two consoles would work even better. And since too much is never enough, why not chain a series of consoles together into what is known as the classic circle-jerk, or 'CJ' site.

I personally never understood how alienating a surfer by running him through a console hell that likely necessitated a system 'reboot' would encourage him to take out his credit card and pay for porn. Sure, the old argument that once the surfer sees the troubles with free porn, he'll be willing to pay for quality porn, does make sense — but do you really think he'll buy it from the guy who just sent him into a console hell? While these 'CJ' sites might help 'Top List' cheaters make a profit, they have also greatly diminished the profitability that more moderate console users once enjoyed, and have given consoles a bad name.

I am still a console fan, having used them for years in a wide variety of ways, and for a variety of reasons, but I wanted to know what my fellow XBiz readers thought about them today, and so I asked two simple questions: "Do You Use Consoles?" and after seeing the results of the first survey, I then followed up with "Why Don't You Use Consoles?" Here's the results from those who responded:

Do You Use Consoles?

• No Way!: 41%
• Yes - On Exit: 26%
• Yep! I Use Both: 17%
• Yes - On Enter: 16%

The answers to this first question were a little surprising, as the majority of respondents seemed to show a disdain of consoles, while those who used them to 'greet' surfers entering their site were also more likely to hit them again on the way out. I also expected the percentage of 'on exit' console users to be higher, and the 'on enter' console users to be lower. No distinction between free and pay site owners, or traffic types was made, and as always, the results of these polls are not scientific, being limited to the respondent's opinions.

Given the percentage of respondents that did not approve of consoles, I wanted to understand their reasons, and so I followed up with:

Why Don't You Use Consoles?

• Surfers Hate Them!: 41%
• I Hate Them!: 36%
• What's A Console?: 20%
• Sponsors Hate Them!: 3% I like to use my 'broccoli' example to explain this: I HATE broccoli — but I would not run a restaurant without it:

These answers puzzled me to no end, and I hope that those whose opinions are reflected here will respond by clicking the link below, so that we might all understand their reasoning, but in the meantime, I'll share with you all the reasons for my confusion. First, because 'Sponsors Hate Them!' was as I expected a very low percentage; after all, most sponsors use consoles on their sites, and many offer 'pre-built' examples for their resellers to use. The percentage of survey respondent's wanting to know 'What's A Console?' was high, but also understandable: consoles are known by several names, and today are often called 'pop-ups' and 'pop-unders,' for example.

My confusion stems from the two highest categories, however. Those who don't use consoles because they personally hate them are missing the point. While clean site designs and treating the surfer kindly are both important, a marketing decision based upon personal preference rather than 'the bottom line' is not always the best way to go. I like to use my 'broccoli' example to explain this: I HATE broccoli — but I would not run a restaurant without it:

The same thing goes for those who avoid using consoles because the "Surfers Hate Them!" While I believe that surfers hate an excessive amount of consoles, one targeted console per site has never been a problem for me, and the fact that they do increase revenues when properly and moderately used should be a marketer's first concern, but there are those who disagree.

The bottom line should always be 'the bottom line' — and when properly implemented, consoles can make a positive impact on your revenues. Agree or disagree, click the link below and share your thoughts now! ~ Stephen