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How Pop-ups are the Doorway to Evil and the End of the World

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It is probably my least favorite information-age experience. I’ve clicked through to an article and I’m reading the first few sentences. Then, for a few seconds it seems like my computer is crashing. My ability to scroll down is taken away, the screen goes grey, and a pop-up text box appears, asking me to sign up for more articles like this one that I have not yet been allowed to read.

Sometimes they also offer a free ebook, given that obviously I’m such a fan already that I can’t wait to read more, as well as tell them how to contact me.

Everyone hates these things, so why would anyone use them? It seems like using a pop-up box to collect emails is about as smart a business move as flinging a pie at the head of every customer who enters your restaurant, asking if they’d like to try the key lime after their entree, which they may only receive once they order the dessert that’s presently hanging off their face.

Well, these sites do it because it works, by which I mean it increases weekly newsletter signups. For the online marketer—and anyone making a living online is an online marketer of some sort—income generally scales with the size of the mailing list.

If I ever add popups to this site you should shoot me. I can’t imagine I would ever be tempted, but I can see how an otherwise good person could succumb to it. Implementing them will almost always give a site owner a higher income, which is something human beings are not accustomed to saying no to.

However, the coldly pragmatic business philosophy behind implementing pop-ups on your website also inevitably results in mass extinction, global warming and a general creeping apocalypse. The connection might not be obvious so I’ll explain. 

Growth creates distance, distance creates coldness

As universally off-putting as pop-ups are, imagine how difficult it is to say “Well, not really” to the question, “Do I want to increase my income?” when you know you wouldn’t exactly be stepping over corpses to do it.

With pop-ups, everybody’s doing it, so it must be worthwhile even if it feels gross at first. And so a tradeoff is made: do something slightly, but not grievously, against your conscience, receive a pay raise, and it won’t bother you for long.

And thus is the beginning of the long but straight slide to the end of decency and the poisoning of our oceans. As hard as it is for a solo entrepreneur to decline a guaranteed raise over a point of conscience, for larger companies it’s much harder, perhaps even impossible.

As a business scales up, two related things happen: the individuals making the decisions become more divorced from the effects those decisions have on people and the planet, and the less responsible any particular person in the company feels for those effects.

Let’s say Super-Mega-Mart does a study and finds it can reduce annual shoplifting losses by $200 million, and all they have to do is treat all their customers like suspected thieves by hiring a “greeter” at each store to tape people’s shopping bags shut when they walk in. Everyone hates it, it punishes many times more loyal customers than actual thieves, but it doesn’t matter because it works.

Now, a solo entrepreneur might have the moral wherewithal to say no to an additional $10,000 a year (a much larger proportion of their income than Super-Mega-Mart’s 200 million is to theirs) if it saves their audience from a degraded experience. But no CEO from a public company can really say no to a 200 million dollar gain, even when the company’s annual profit is $15 billion, except one who won’t be CEO for long.

American Airlines famously bumped up profits by $40,000 a year by removing one olive from each first-class salad. Northwest reportedly saved ten times as much by cutting their cocktail limes into sixteen slices instead of ten. Some corporate policymaker becomes a hero and ensures his job security, and each customer’s flying experience gets slightly shittier and more demeaning, and no less expensive. You can imagine where this goes when everybody’s doing it, and they are.

Only individuals can have a conscience

This is why large companies can’t really have a conscience. I don’t mean that they’re wantonly evil necessarily, that they hurt kittens for fun or burn forests for no reason. But their actions cannot be tempered by a conscience the way an individual’s can. A conscience is something that only exists in a single person, and can maybe be aligned between four or five people. Even that is tough—ask your startup-culture friends, or anyone in a band.

In a big public company, nobody has to personally bear the responsibility for wrecking an ecosystem, or anything else, because it’s not a person making moral decisions, it’s an organization making pragmatic ones. The CEO is beholden to the board of directors, the board of directors is beholden to shareholders, the shareholders are beholden to their own families’ finances, and nobody in that all-destroying pyramid has the power not to go ahead with whatever works for the bottom line. All any conscientious individual can do is opt out, lose their income, and be replaced by someone without the same reservations.

And so even though big, steamrolling corporations are staffed mostly by people with real consciences and real human values, they find it almost impossible to say no to pop-up boxes, tax havens, or any other practice that makes the world a patently worse place yet is certain to increase their margins.

So my plea to prospective pop-up implementers is this. You are at a fork in the road. Say no to this kind of cold, pragmatic scheme while you’re still able to. Save the oceans, and grow a smaller but more dedicated list. All those strategies that make you feel bad even though they work—as you grow, they will only work better, and make you feel less bad. And that’s not good.

Capitalism has a lot of great benefits, but it sure does a spectacular job at removing the influence of a conscience on a business. I’m not suggesting we overthrow the system, at least not yet, only that we inject a little self-scrutiny into it on the ground floor. Let me read your article before you put your hand out.


Photo by Dennis Skley

sabtehoma May 30, 2016 at 1:39 am


Barb May 30, 2016 at 5:18 am

I am with you 100% on this David. I have a firm policy to not follow, read or in anyway patronize sites that have pop-up ads. I don’t want to read any content badly enough for that. Sometimes I am annoyed enough to comment and let the blogger know why I won’t be staying but usually I just move on.

I am now starting to unsubscribe from bloggers who link to sites with pop-up ads too as my trust in their recommendations falters. Are they recommending an article because it supports their philosophy or because my click-through earns money?

Thanks for writing about this!

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:10 am

Thanks Barb. This post kind of became a bit of a rant but I knew people would be able to identify with it.

Zoe May 30, 2016 at 5:20 am

I think it would feel very wrong if you suddenly had pop-ups interrupting your articles, David, even if you hadn’t written this one.
It made me laugh and then it made me scowl. A lot. Just thinking about the company I used to work for (and it wasn’t that big)… At least, as self-employed individuals, we get to make that important choice now. :-)

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:16 am

Thanks Zoe. Self-employment feels really different in that way. I never worked for an “evil” company, but as an employee, there was no decisionmaking about purpose, or impact on the world, or the direction of the company or anything like that. But even the people who worked on the executive level didn’t really have the freedom to take things the way they think is right.

Zoe May 30, 2016 at 11:50 am

The worst thing is, that particular company doesn’t come across as “evil” to the general public. They fund a load of charity work on the side and that’s the image they try to present to the public… As if that excuses everything, somehow.
I was also just reminded of a sad example of how even as freelancers, we can still be made to suffer from these decisions: a well-known freelance work platform, which used to pride itself on taking very little commission, just upped that same commission from 10% to 20%, but only for small earners. Also, if you now want to know how much other freelancers have bid for a job, you have to pay extra… :-(

CARLA May 30, 2016 at 7:06 am

Thanks for pointing this out. I too hate being asked to subscribe to something I haven’t seen yet. And thus, being asked for closure before getting through the opening act I will NOT…in fact I usually leave at that point and go on without the article, annoyed and irritated that I was lured to even go there at all. Sort of baffles me that these things actually work, that phone scams actually get bites and that people simply do not think for themselves or even try to. Appreciate knowing I am not alone. I enjoy what you write very much.

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

It baffles me that they work too, and I wonder if they do. I mean, there’s no question that they increase subscriber rates, but I don’t see how they could really be useful subscribers, if they’re just opting in to get rid of that annoying box. I suppose a lot of people will sign up the second or third time they see the box, not that it’s any less annoying.

David May 30, 2016 at 7:19 am

Thoughtful and articulate. Thanks. It also reminds me of the Canadian documentary which I think was simply called “The Corporation.” It argues that corporations (in the guise of their corporate identities) actually fit the profile of a psychopath because of their corporate lack of conscience. No accountability as the corporate ball gets rolling!

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:27 am

I remember the Corporation, with their checklist of psychopathic symptoms. I’ve seen it while scrolling through Netflix, and I want to watch it again because it was so good, but it’s also kind of infuriating.

Tracey May 30, 2016 at 7:42 am

I’m so with you on this one. I’d much rather support a site through Patreon than deal with pop ups. Well said.

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:28 am

Thanks Tracey.

Cheryl May 30, 2016 at 7:43 am

Thanks for discussing this topic. I agree and close websites where a pop-up is in my face immediately. I’ve also had a couple of experiences shopping online and getting to the final click, after all of the deliberation on a purchase and time spent putting in information, to get a pop-up right at the submit, so I don’t make the purchase! Saves me money. It’s like a little reminder, “Do I really need this?, no!”.

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:30 am

Heh… well that’s just bad business. Marketing 101 says not to put any extra clicks, actions or considerations between a prospective customer and the sale. They got greedy!

Kat May 30, 2016 at 8:37 am

I work for a very large company that recently instituted (another) deeply unpopular policy. Emails and complaints from those effected are met with form replies. This is happening in a union shop but the working conditions & terms continue to worsen. I am one of the fortunate few who might be able to bail, which is kind of sad as I enjoy the challenge of rapidly changing technologies and would like to stay but the decisions from above are too insulting & out of touch with reality. No one in upper management (or lower) ever wants to hear about what totally sucks or how to make things better. It’s disheartening and I am making my way out.

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:34 am

That is just awful. The bigger the system, the less actions are motivated by human concerns and the more they’re motivated by policies and protocol. I noticed a lot of perks when I went from a 3-person company to a 10,000-person company, but I also noticed how impossible it was to change the way things worked there. It’s all policy, and you either go with it, or you can quit. And like you say, that second option isn’t an option for most people.

Angie unduplicated May 30, 2016 at 9:20 am

Thank you for your intelligence. Most websites feature a menu. Adding “Subscribe” to the menu is simple, effective, freezes no systems, wastes no data, and recruits fewer trolls.

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:35 am

That’s another thing… the quality of the subscribers who opt-in through a pop-up must be much lower.

William Collier-Byrd May 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

I think the more insidious version is the shopping page you’ve loaded to look at something and suddenly you’re greeted with an offer for 10-20% off if you just sign here.

I might not have really wanted something or have even been comparison shopping, but all of the sudden it feels like I need that discount – even if I don’t want to buy whatever thing I was going to the site to look at.

I’ve always been really impressed at how Leo keeps Zen Habits ad free and hope I would be able to make a similar decision should I find myself in his position.

David Cain May 30, 2016 at 9:56 am

Hi William. I always flip into wary-mode whenever I see a discount offer like that, because the promise of savings makes us feel like it’s smart to buy something that we weren’t going to. We can always get the most savings by not buying anything.

A couple of years ago I experimented with Google Ads, and originally there was a long section about my experience with it in this post, but the draft was too long so I cut it. Basically, my philosophy was “I know *nobody* wants to see ads, but it will pay some bills and they don’t exactly ruin the experience.” But they showed a lot of scummy-stuff, like “miracle foods” and creepy niche dating sites. From the back-end tools I learned that the network ads that make money these days are the scummy, manipulative ones that almost certainly don’t sell a worthwhile product. The whole thing led me to think a lot about what I’m willing to do to pay the bills and I learned a lot. Anyway I have lots to say about ads but there wasn’t enough room here.

Cristina May 30, 2016 at 10:37 am

Yes yes yes! Agree 100%

Phil May 30, 2016 at 10:47 am

Thanks for this rant! I usually hit the back button when a site immediately gives me a pop-up, or a video ad starts playing. Vote with my feet. But as a fellow internet marketer/site-owner, I struggle with these choices every day. I would like to proudly say that I have resisted the pull of pop-ups, but in fact I resisted only after split-testing an exit pop-up showed no significant boost in conversions, so it was an easy choice, and I can’t claim much moral credit for it. On the other hand, I do offer a 24-hour discount, with a countdown timer, to first-time site visitors. I hate it, but it doubled sales. Doubled. That pays for my daughter’s school tuition. So how do I say no to that, and cut my family’s income in half? Part of the problem, as with spam, is that people BUY from these devices. If no one bought stuff from spammers, there would be no spam. If no one signed up in those pop-ups, there would be no pop-ups. If my 24-hour discount didn’t cause twice as many people to buy, I would be thrilled to get rid of it. Come on, people, stop behaving like the lemmings that marketing textbooks say you are, and resist these sales manipulations. Then they will go away.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:41 am

Yeah marketing is a requirement for solo entrepreneurs, and we are faced with these decisions all the time. The “create urgency” tactic as in the countdown timer is basic marketing, and I have used a version of that too.

It’s a tricky question: of course we want people to buy our stuff, and as much of it as possible. But this isn’t necessarily greedy or immoral. The important question, I figure, is whether the customer actually benefits from the sale or not. You could even argue that if you think that people really are better off with your product, that you have a moral obligation to try to convince them to buy it.

There’s an article on that here:


But basically, I find that I can only feel good about marketing my products/services if I believe they are actually good and actually worthwhile.

Allan Fein May 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

This hits a sore spot for me too, so thank you for writing this post. I’ll share this everywhere. I also have another area on web pages that annoys me and I leave the page immediately. Site owners want to have page hits, so they advertise something like “10 ways to xxx” and when you arrive at the page and read #1, you then have to press the arrow to have your browser load another page and so forth.

kddomingue May 30, 2016 at 11:48 am

I absolutely despise those and will leave that site immediately.

Clearwing May 31, 2016 at 12:10 am

I was thinking about those while reading this as well. I feel like one click per item is doing ok these days. I once had to click midsentence to read the rest of one number on some top ten list. To be honest, though, it was probably celebrity gossip or something obviously not worthwhile to begin with.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:41 am

Hi Al! Those are the worst. The horrible thing is that I sometimes still click through them :(

Allan Fein May 30, 2016 at 11:15 am

Hi David, wrote something to William about Google adds, I just want to say thank you, as I didn’t even consider the type of adds I might be supporting. I recently incorporated adds in my Youtube channel. That is coming off today.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:44 am

Yeah definitely consider it. I don’t think ads are horrible but I found there were too many that were just total crap. I tried blocking the ones I didn’t like but they kept adding duplicates to get around it. And I could see which ads make money and they were mostly bunk products.

Jon May 30, 2016 at 11:39 am

I just rebuilt my pc and was wondering why the internet sucked all of a sudden… then I realized I forgot my add-ons!

Adblock Plus add-on
Ghostery add-on to block trackers

They aren’t 100% perfect, but they stop a lot of the garbage. Sometimes they block too much, so you can disable one or the other on specific sites.

Go install them, join the rebellious few!

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:48 am

Ad-blocking plugins are great, and now that tons of people are using them, a lot of sites are asking people to disable their ad-blockers because it is shrinking their revenue. I can see both sides of it — we make use of sites that are only viable because of ad revenue, but at the same time, it’s mostly a crappy way to make revenue, with so many of the products being total snake oil.

Also, FYI: AdBlock sold out to an unnamed buyer last year. The owner/developer sent out a message saying that not much will change, except some ads will be let through, presumably the ads run by whoever bought them (most people assume its Google). So you may want to explore alternatives.

Peter Howells May 30, 2016 at 12:04 pm

A very good article David.

I’ve worked for big organisations.
Everyone is competing for recognition when things go right but no single person is ever responsible when things go wrong.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

Heh, yes I know that feeling and have been on both ends of it. When you work for a big company you find it’s easier for your mistakes to get “lost” in the system. But it’s also easier to find yourself on the hook for what someone else has done, and you can’t necessarily say anything because they are an important person/contractor/affiliate.

jlcollinsnh May 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Yes, yes, yes! A 1,000 times, yes!

I was beginning to wonder if my own aversion to these things was just a personal quirk or, worse, a sign of my creeping geezer-dom. :)

No matter how engaging, interesting or even needed the article, if one pops up, I immediately close the site and move on.

I can only assume they are very effective, but a I am left to wonder who on earth allows themselves to suffer such abuse, let alone reward it?

Frequently I have been told adding them would be a boom to my site, and I suspect that’s true. But it is never going to happen. Ever.

David, maybe you should start a drive like the Gates’ push for the super-rich to pledge giving away half their wealth. A place where websites can pledge to never institute pop-ups and/or to take them down.

You can count me as signer #1.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:57 am

Hi Jim! I would love to see an initiative like that… I guess this post is my plea. But I am also hoping that Darwinian forces are behind the extinction of pop-ups, and that they’ll disappear because they create enough shame in the people that use them that they’ll give up the benefits. That would make me feel hopeful.

Joel McKinnon May 30, 2016 at 1:33 pm

I found a fairly creative alternative to obnoxious popups at http://www.waitbutwhy.com, one of my favorite blogs. First, the popup doesn’t appear until the reader has spent at least a couple of minutes at the site. Second, it appears covering part of the sidebar rather than the post content or comment thread. I’s so unobtrusive that I didn’t even notice it until it had apparently been there for some time. Lastly, it tells you exactly what it’s there for and what the consequences will be of signing up.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:58 am

Yes, I was going to mention waitbutwhy. Most of the text is an apology for being a pop-up, it’s pretty funny.

It also doesn’t hurt that his content is supremely amazing.

Christi May 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm

There was a blog I used to visit regularly and when she switched to self-hosted, she added a newsletter pop-up. Since I knew her site well, I signed up. Thing is, I still get the freakin’ pop-ups every dang time I visit! So naturally, I stopped visiting. Shame, because it was a great blog.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 9:58 am

Yikes, that almost calls for an intervention.

Sue June 5, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Christi, I was just thinking along those same lines! It drives me absolutely nuts when I click to an article from an email I’ve received (because I signed up for the newsletter) – and when I get there, I STILL get the pop-up to sign up for the newsletter (that I’m ALREADY signed up for!). It happens way more often than it should – and these aren’t new blogs. I’ve been so tempted to comment and ask them NOT to do that, and I’ve unsubscribed from more than a couple because of it.

Sarah Thompson May 30, 2016 at 2:49 pm

I have enjoyed your Raptitude emails, but never was so moved to respond as now. Like many who have commented, I will almost always immediately leave a page that interrupts what I’m trying to do with a pop-up. How on earth would I know if I want to subscribe to something I haven’t yet had the chance to evaluate? And one that’s just assaulted me with a pop-up that’s generated feelings of annoyance and mistrust.

I use a few different email addresses; one for banking, one for shopping, one for family & friends, one for subscriptions, and one or two more. I find this categorizing and isolating very helpful in managing my email communications, but I still find it takes longer than I’d like. Agreeing to have yet another subscription feeding my inbox is not something I take lightly.

Sure, I could make up email addresses, or keep an actual account I never check to appease those who try to bully me into subscribing, but I hate the idea of generating and encouraging more useless data transfer.

I find it hard to believe that such tactics truly work. That is, unless all that matters are the numbers. In which case, I am even less willing to participate.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 10:00 am

The sad thing is many of the people who employ them are newish bloggers who have been assured that pop-ups are too valuable not to use. They might see an increase in subscriber numbers, but they can’t know how many people they’re losing who might have been long-term loyal readers. So they may not actually work, but the math makes it look like it does.

Amy May 30, 2016 at 2:50 pm

I agree with you, but the title seems inappropriate for Memorial Day.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 10:02 am

That is debatable of course, but I think it’s important to remember that Memorial Day is an American holiday and not all of the internet is American.

Alexander May 30, 2016 at 4:10 pm


Thoughtful per usual.

As a small-ish business owner, there is one other factor besides those you outlined that often plays a large role in a business making an unpopular decision: competition.

I don’t know that this would apply to pop-ups, but you mentioned tax havens and other “evil” acts that corporations do to increase profit.

I’m constantly faced with different trade-offs. Do I forgo an opportunity that my competitors are doing (maybe pop-ups does fit) and lose out on profit that can be shared back out to my employees. If I don’t, do I risk my employees leaving to work for the company that does and can pay higher wages? Do I insist on working with a small local producer and end up not being able to compete with my competitors that don’t?

It isn’t always profit, although that is likely more true for larger companies. Sometimes its just business viability. Do my employees have good jobs? What would happen if we went out of business because we refused to compete in some of the arenas or use some of the tactics our competitors use.

I’m not saying we’ve had to do anything really odious or immoral to stay in business, but I haven’t always been able to make what I would consider the “best” decision because that decision may hurt our competitiveness and limit our ability to provide good jobs to our employers and more importantly, great service and products to our customers.

Even the beleaguered airlines who are pretty much universally hated, which includes some things they can’t even control (TSA), haven’t always been great businesses for the last 50 years. Yes, some are doing quite well now, but there was a period of time where many just collapsed and failed. When United went under, a cousin of mine who was a pilot for them spent several years looking for a job in the aftermath. Would he have wished that United had been just a little more evil/competitive (sliced those limes and withheld those olives) and stayed in business rather than folding up shop and putting him and many others out of work?

I’m not trying to nitpick. I sometimes think it is too easy to disparage large nameless faceless corporations because many of the decisions seem unfair or ill-advised. But I’m often considering other things besides profit and still end up having to make decisions that aren’t always universally good.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 10:14 am

Great point Alexander. The original draft of this post touched on other tendrils of this discussion, including competition, but I was determined to get it back to a thousand words so I suppose a lot ended up left unaddressed. Particularly I discussed my own experience with “should I / shouldn’t I” marketing questions. Those decisions are inescapable and I’ve gone too far in both directions at times.

The bigger point I tried to get at, though, is this process of the gradual removal of the conscience as a major factor in what business are free to do, as they scale up in size. The bigger they are, the more completely their hands are tied by the nature of the system, which of course includes competition.

Jen May 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Well said! If I click to open a link, and it has a pop up, I usually just close the page and realize I don’t need to read it that badly anyway. The problem, of course, is that almost every site is doing it now. It’s disappointing because I already have so many sites I visit regularly, so I don’t need to get emails to alert me to their new articles. I get too many emails as it is.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 10:15 am

Same. It’s a good reminder that I’m probably wasting time on the internet.

Michelle Kowalski May 30, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Hey David,

I think the answer here is to delay the pop-up for a new visitor till the 30 second mark. That way a person has a chance to read a good chunk – which also by the way is a stronger indication that they are liking what they’re reading. This as opposed to all or nothing with regard to pop-ups. You’ve nailed the matter on the head in terms of HOW QUICKLY most sites present pop-ups, not on the matter of pop-ups per se.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 10:16 am

Yeah there are varying degrees of annoyingness, and there are ways to do it right. Someone mentioned waitbutwhy.com as an example of a good way to do it.

Mark Goodsob May 30, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Simple demarcation between people and machines here David. And I agree that we lose our humanity when we advertise that way. Companies view visitors as stats not souls.
As someone with a webpage I can’t deny I know the urge to sellout with parlor tricks to get views. I have to rely on faith in the bigger picture of what I’m doing to keep my growth organic and right-sized.

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 10:18 am

As a fellow website owner I know that we all have to face those decisions about what tactics we think are okay. I think that the faith in the bigger picture you mention is the key to avoiding making the wrong decision.

Chris May 31, 2016 at 4:44 am

Did you see how REI closed on Black Friday? They had a campaign for #optoutside. http://optoutside.rei.com Seeing bigger companies make decisions like this is refreshing!

David Cain May 31, 2016 at 10:16 am

I love that!

Arthur May 31, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Why did you have to post this right when I was seriously considering adding a pop up to my site haha…

David Cain June 2, 2016 at 1:51 pm

To make you agonize over it

Gus June 1, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Yes…Thank you for this!! I thought I was alone on this. I was told to add pop ups to my site and I refused. I have been to sites that I loved and then a pop ups. I leave. I can’t do it. They are like the lap cards in magazines. Annoying as shit!

David Cain June 2, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Oh man don’t get me started on lap cards!

Jeff Syrop June 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Your essay touches on the fact that it is not malevolence that makes things like pop-ups happen. On any inhabited planet, once an intelligent species of animal starts using recognizable sounds with meaning (words) and money (symbolic wealth units, whether gold, shells, or printed paper banknotes), you will see that species go through changes similar to what humans have experienced on Earth. As soon as some scrawny weak animal discovers the concept of charging interest on a loan, thus discovering a way to survive over others of its species more fit than itself, that planet is destined to be TOAST!

Money is like an elegant little computer virus, which uses the computer’s resources to add complexity and layers to itself, until global monopolistic corporations arise, the media become controlled by these corporations, and bizarrely complex financial “instruments” such as credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations are used to make profit out of nothing, while the middle class is reduced to dragging stones to build pyramids. Corporations, especially in the fertile soil of democracy, grow and evolve following the laws of natural selection–survival of the fittest bottom line!–and become gigantic lumbering robots that mine the planet and subjugate the intelligent beings. Ethical, progressive, future-looking board members are AUTOMATICALLY weeded out by the pressure to maintain a high ANNUAL bottom line. There is no malevolence required.

David Cain June 2, 2016 at 1:54 pm

This is a huge point and you said it really well here. Our failure to recognize this gets in the way of addressing the problem, because we’re convinced that the problem is really just evil individuals making heartless decisions. The problem is inevitable given the current system.

Matthew Hertzman June 2, 2016 at 12:04 pm

I love this post. I’m in website optimization and it’s a delicate balance on letting clients know this will work but should they actually implement it? I just sent the article to the whole company! Thanks again David!

David Cain June 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for sharing it Matthew. Our remaining ocean life thanks you too :)

Vicki June 3, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Thanks so much for writing this! I too close any post/blog where this happens. As a new blogger, this is something I really don’t care for at all and I will not do it just to get new readers.

Elsa June 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

I could not agree more.
My first visit here; via Susannah Conway. Definitely becoming a subscriber.
And sharing with my friends on that ‘other’ place.
Where I will also, for once, recommend that they read the comments, too.
Thank you.

Björn June 4, 2016 at 4:04 am

Thanks for all your great posts, David.

I recently discovered a for me new type of video ads/clips on mobile sites that start not by clicking it but just by (unknowingly) grabbing inside of it at the bottom part of your screen when scrolling down the page. Pretty tedious, and even more so when you’re on limited data like me most of the time.

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John B June 5, 2016 at 1:32 am

the worst thing is pop ups that invite you to subscribe to their mailing list when you reached it through their email link! Its a f-off, unsubscribe moment.

TheHappyPhilosopher June 6, 2016 at 10:06 am

Haha, love it! I have a question though. What if I (hypothetically of course *cough, cough) had a blog with a pop-up that popped up after reading the article? Would said blog still be evil? Slightly less evil? I don’t want to be responsible for the end of the world…


Ryan F June 7, 2016 at 8:38 am

This article sums up why I love Raptitude so much. Over the past year and a half, this is the only email that I’ve opened every single time it has hit my mailbox and read every single word in the article. The content is a completely unique perspective, you are consistent and you are never pushy about products or programs. So when your book You Are Here came out I was happy to spend whatever it cost to support this blog because you’ve added huge value to my life. Thank you for being such a good example to myself and the rest of the online world of how to build a strong, solid audience and community…not just pop-up bait email addresses.

Lisa Thomson June 19, 2016 at 11:30 am

LOVE this, David. I clicked over from Blogging Success.Where you’re one of many talented bloggers featured.

Pop-ups are the worst, I couldn’t agree more. Even if you do sign up for a blog with one, the box doesn’t go away. It continues to pop up no matter. So, the only way to avoid the pop up is to never return to the site. I’ve been on a blog where the readers complained and yet the blogger (a very interesting and funny lady) justified it and essentially told her readers she didn’t care if it interfered with their experience at her site because ‘it works’. Most people who have a high number of subscribers are also losing many the next day because they’re likely capturing the wrong audience.

Well, you said it best in likening it to polluting the ocean and living without a conscience. YES.
Great article.

Complete Essays June 29, 2016 at 12:41 am

Such a wonderful post.. As you describe in detail is very impressive.. and its all true.

Online Essay Maker July 19, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Interesting Blog! Good to find you people having great work. Thanks for sharing

دستگاه تزریق فوم August 9, 2016 at 5:16 am

very good

Johanna Baynard August 12, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I make it a practice (on principle) to immediately exit a site with a blackmail box. I can either read the article or not and if not, good-by.

خرید زالو August 14, 2016 at 1:05 am

your blog is wonderfull

پرورش زالو August 15, 2016 at 1:37 am

i love your beauty site <3

زبان در کرج August 30, 2016 at 12:22 am

The language in karaj

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