Wednesday, August 29, 2012

link spam

Some of you will have heard of link spam - but are unsure of what it is. Well ... I have an example on this very blog. As you will see, anyone can add a comment - but I have the setting so that all comments are emailed to me for 'vetting' so that I can reject unsuitable comments and release suitable ones onto the blog.
 
Below is one comment I received for moderation.

As you can see if you take a quick look at the blog entry on which the comment is added - the comment has nothing to do with the original entry from me. You will note also that that the 'comment' is full of links to a variety of services offered by this company. This is link spam. It hasn't worked on this occasion because I have not published it [and have marked it as spam] - however, many blogs are not moderated, and so 'comments' like this go live on a multitude of blogs, each with a link to the link-spamming organization's website.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

profit by default?

I have never flown with Ryanair before - but much has been written about the extra costs added to the basic price featured on the budget airline's website ... and here's my contribution after booking a flight to Gdansk. Good website usability - or should I say 'moral' website usability - offers extras as a 'click-to-add' offering. Less moral businesses make users 'click-to-delete' extras that are added by default. So I was not surprised when Ryanair added insurance by default with a message saying that "If you are already insured you can select 'don't cover me' in the drop down box"  [I'll not be so picky as to point out that a compound adjective should have a dash ie drop-down box - oh, alright, I will] 

But what drop-down box? The only one I could see on the page was the one for 'Passenger 1' - and it had United Kingdom showing, so I assumed it was for the nationality of the passenger. But I did click on it, and it was - I thought - just a list of nationalities in alphabetical order. Eventually, I clicked on it and scrolled down ... and found the 'don't cover me' option stuck in there out of alphabetical order.

OK, so maybe I was being a bit thick - but consider my background, surely I would not be the only person to be confused by this ... and ultimately, of course, a cynic like me might think the objective was to have customers just say "sod it, I'll just pay for the insurance".