Reader Backlash At USAToday.com?

4 03 2007

Last Friday, USA Today updated their website to capitalize on the web 2.0 and social networking trends and already are seeing some backlash from the community. In an open letter to their readers, USA Today announced the changes to their approach while trying to minimize the design aspect of it.

Changes include:

  • A larger focus on the biggest stories of the day
  • Tabbed interface including “Top Stories” and “Most Popular”
  • A “Only on USA Today” section containing exclusive stories grouped together
  • Ability to comment on news articles
  • Recommend button (ala Digg This)
  • Personal profile pages and avatar
  • Photo submissions
  • Story tags
  • And an overhauled search feature

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Regular visitors to the site have expressed their distaste for the new layout in comments on the “To our readers” letter. Here is just a sampling of their issues:

 

This format is horrible. Difficult to find anything. Front page way to long. Score and Stock links taken way from front page….bad. Readers opinions/blogs most prevelent thing on the front page….also bad – who cares.

Back to the drawing board ladies and gentlemen!

Count me among the many who registered only to complain. But note that this will be the last time anyone at USAToday.com hears from me. Because my boycott starts right now. It’s clear from this reaction that USA 2.0 is a tragic misfire that didn’t take into account the wants or needs of the original site’s loyal core audience. However, complaining about the new site is a waste of all our time. The only logical action is to leave it now and leave it completely. Change your homepage setting today and avoid the tempation to visit the site for the next month or two. They’ll get the message only if and when traffic numbers decrease and advertising revenues slide. Registering for the site, staying here and complaining gives false traffic numbers and with it false justification for the move.

For all of you who enjoyed the original site as much as I did for all those years, I invite you to join me in boycotting USAToday.com until it’s management realizes it’s error. Switch now. Stay away. Hope for the best.

See you all at CNN.

I’m curious if the site will listen and respond but history as shown us that it doesn’t happen that often.

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