Slate's Shady 'Slatest' Shenanigans

Mon 06 September 2010 | -- (permalink)

If you've been reading Slate for very long, you may have noticed that they recently added a new feature called The Slatest. I ignored it for quite a while, until one day I finally saw a Slatest story that looked interesting.

And then I got pissed.

Despite the heavy Slate branding, the Slatest isn't actually built from Slate's content. It's just a feed of news articles from other sites. But actually getting to the news story on the original site requires an insane number of clicks.

Let's walk through it.

Here's the Slate home page. The Slatest links are in blue, near the center of the screen.

If you click one, you're taken to a page like this:

Ok, that's a little annoying, I was expecting to be taken to the article, but apparently Slate wants me to read this little blurb first. Whatever. I'll click the headline link and go to the story.

What? Two clicks in and I'm still not at the story? I see that there's a little more content this time, but surely this paragraph isn't the whole article. Looks like the headline is a link. Maybe this time it'll take me to the actual article.

At this point, swear words are running through my mind. Why the hell, after all these clicks, am I not at the article yet? Even worse, why is Slate showing me the exact same text that was on the previous page?!

I spot the "New York Times" link at the bottom of the post and try that. FINALLY! I'm at the article I wanted to read.

But at this point I'm too pissed to be interested in the article anymore. I'm taking snapshots so I can blog about this utter fail in website navigation.

To Slate: Quit doing this.

To the New York Times and other sites linked in the Slatest: You're the ones who should be really mad. Not only is Slate taking your content to dress up its homepage, it's hiding the links to your sites in tiny type at the bottom of posts, and leading unsuspecting readers on wild goose chases through the Slate site to find the articles they're interested in. You ought to send Slate a nastygram.