Could 'Next Page' Buttons Die Soon?

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/08/could-next-page-buttons-die-soon/60929/