How and why TheWeatherNetwork.com sucks

Every time I visit The Weather Network’s site at www.theweathernetwork.com – I leave pissed off, even if I eventually find what I’m looking for.

I always figured that they were just clueless and couldn’t implement basic search, but after thinking about it some more (and putting on my tinfoil hat, natch) I think that it’s a clever strategy on their part.

The search interface on The Weather Network’s site www.theweathernetwork.com is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

Here’s why! Every page you hit on their site throws you three new ads, and some website geek has engineered their site to make sure you visit the most pages possible on your search to find the weather in some city.
The more pages you need to go to…the more “visits” they have, and the more ADS they get to serve you.

Let me give you four shining examples of how crappy The Weather Networks website is:

1)      Search for city,state (two letter) combinations does not work. Example: Boston, MA search FAILS outright – but you get 3 NEW ADS! Ditto for Toronto, ON. Try it for your city!

2) Even a search for BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS asks you to confirm if you want the one in the United States.

3)      Getting even more absurd, so does a search for BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES.

4)      Search for common cities by name only fails. It takes you to a new page (NEW ADS) and asks you to confirm which city you really mean. Example: On a “Boston” only search…

I think they’re trying to game their advertisers by having single users have to click through more pages than necessary (and therefore, multiple ad throws), in order to find the information they are looking for.

What TWN may not understand is that upsetting your users for a commodity site like weather will just drive people away. Advertisers on this site like Royal Bank, Kudo, Bose and Disney should know about this underhanded strategy.

Hey – Weather Network – just take me to the effing page already, and save your extra 6 ads for somebody else. Also – since I’ve gone off on you already, how about showing me more than the 24 hour forecast, in case I’m planning for beyond tomorrow.

I feel better now.

Are there any other popular websites out that abuse the patience of their users like this one? Let me know at pboule@gmail.com

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