Could 'Next Page' Buttons Die Soon?

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Tools like Readability and Instapaper make it possible to get at the content of a story without using the cluttered and advertising-heavy pages on which it appears. Their emergence could help end of some of the web's more dreaded practices, namely the "next page" button at the bottom of many a news story. Publishers supposedly use them to break up long stories into more manageable bites, but the truth is that when you click "next," you register as another pageview. Pageviews are, in essence, what websites sell, so if you can count for two instead of one, all the better! (You'll notice we don't really paginate around here.)

At Technology Review, Chris Mims wonders whether web users' increasing savvy (and toolset) might eventually end publishers' reliance on the pageview as a metric.

Online publishers have crowed about the death of pageviews for year...but when it comes to demonstrating reach to an advertiser, or just plain figuring out what to charge them, pageviews still rule the roost. When calculating the value of a website, the math is simple: (number of ad positions) x (value of each ad position) x (number of pageviews)...

That's why publishers use those little "next" buttons at the bottom of webpages, breaking articles across multiple pages... Whatever purpose it might have served, the "next" button may go extinct as Instapaper, Readability and other personalized scrapers give readers - or at least some readers - what they really want: a reading experience that is as unencumbered as what they've come to expect in print.

Read the full story at Technology Review.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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