Information overload, news fatigue and WADD (Web Attention
Deficit Disorder) are creating a brutal landscape on the

“Web users are getting more ruthless and selfish when they go
online”, the BBC states in a review of a Jakob Nielsen report on
web habits. “Instead of dawdling on websites many users want
simply to reach a site quickly, complete a task and leave.”

Many organizations’ websites are out-of-sync with their
customers. Marketers think flashy graphics of smiling faces
attract customers on the Web. Showing a smiling face to a
typical web customer is like showing a crucifix to a vampire.

Communicators have gone mad on the Web; publishing press
releases and thinking people will actually read them. News is
being devalued because huge quantities of trivia and vanity are
being labeled as news.

A study of young people’s news habits found that, “news fatigue
brought many of the participants to a learned helplessness
response. The more overwhelmed or unsatisfied they were, the
less effort they were willing to put in.”

Time is everything on the Web. “Auctions were once a pillar of
e-commerce,” a Business Week article states. “People didn’t
simply shop on eBay. They hunted, they fought, they sweated,
they won. These days, consumers are less enamored of the hassle
of auctions, preferring to buy stuff quickly at a fixed price.”

The emergence of the impatient, unforgiving customer has been
gathering pace for many years. Back in 2006 a study by Akami
found that 75% of people would not go back to a website that
took more than 4 seconds to load. It used to be that people
would wait for 8 seconds. In 2008, how many seconds will they

As many as 50 percent of people bail out after a quick glance of
a webpage, another 2006 report stated. Back then you had 4
seconds to convince people that you had something useful to
offer. They might read about 15 words before making that

“If your copy targets multiple demographics, those 15 words will
not work,” the MarketingSherpa report stated. “Don’t construct a
page to appeal broadly across a wide variety of “typical” users.
It won’t appeal to anyone at all and your conversions will

Over 40 percent of people click on the first search result. Over
60 percent click within the first 3 results, and over 90 percent
click within the first 10 results. (More people have been on top
of Mount Everest than have been to the 1,000th search result.
Does it even exist?)

I was told of a study where the first and second search result
were swapped for a selection of searches. The new “first” result
kept getting more clicks. So, what we’re dealing with is a
customer who clicks first and asks questions later. It’s a
customer with their finger on the Back button.

“About half of all people who visit a commercial website
intending to buy something give up because, above all, they are
confused–by product descriptions, navigation and checkout
procedures,” a Newsweek article stated in July 2008.

Think about that: half the customers who come to websites
wanting to buy things leave without spending anything. How
frustrating is that?

Story from BBC NEWS:

News habits of young people study

Auctions on eBay: A Dying Breed

MarketingSherpa Landing Page report

Newsweek article

Gerry McGovern