To all the people who build and manage websites that require me to give you my email address before I can see your content, I have five words for you:
You are doing it wrong.
Take, for example, the Frank and Oak website (https://www.frankandoak.com/ – though, I don’t actually recommend you click this link because you won’t get to see anything there anyway). Frank and Oak is an online menswear store and I was directed to the site by an ad on a different website (yes, online ads sometimes work). I figured it was probably a store for hipster douchebags, but I liked the jacket in the ad and decided to check them out.
Instead of photos of anorexic boys wearing overpriced clothing, all I got when I arrived at the site was a form inviting me to give the company my name and email address so I could create an account to shop. They didn’t even have the courtesy to show me a picture of the jacket that got me to come to their store in the first place. (To be fair, there was a picture of a guy in a jacket underneath the form, so I couldn’t tell if it was the jacket or just a jacket.)
Imagine for a second if this was a store in a mall. (It’s been 15 years since the Cluetrain Manifesto, so I’m kind of shocked I have to do this little thought experiment, but apparently the lessons still haven’t sunk in.) What Frank and Oak are essentially doing is putting a bouncer at the door of their prime mall location. What’s worse, is that bouncer is holding a clip board and demanding your name and info before letting you through the door. What’s worse still, the store’s windows are papered over, so you can’t even get a glimpse at the merchandise before deciding if it’s worth the inevitable harassment from Frank and Oak (and everyone else to whom they will inevitably sell your contact details to).
Frank and Oak: you suck. I will never buy your clothes. I’ll never even bother to give you a second look now because you got greedy. And, I know I’m one person and you probably get hundreds, if not thousands of names from people through this tactic. But, just know that you are contributing in a real way to making the internet a shittier place. That’s on you. You get to wear that on the outside of your douchey fashions.
And you know what… I really liked that jacket. So, you probably lost a sale, too. Asshats.
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