So every time I connect to the Starbuck’s Free Wifi I am forced to sit through this 10 second WSJ advertisement and then this dialog is displayed. Have you ever sat and looked at the people sitting around at Starbucks using the Wifi? I have and sure I am being prejudicial and stereotyping but it is based not on race but rather on just the age bracket and demographics of the people at Starbucks at any given time using the Wifi. I bet you the ratio of people clicking the prominent grey “Connect & Get the latest” versus the “No thanks, just take me online” button. Then I want to know of those who choose the grey button do so because they ignore the No Thanks button and really have no intention of going to the WSJ site. I would not be surprised if the numbers were 100% with an error rate of less then 1% in either direction.
I know this because I am an IT Consultant and I often help people remotely over the phone using what I see on my screen, performing the same tasks on my computer that I am instructing them to do. I am very good at my job, I know because the people I help often tell me this and because I take a lot of pride at not only being competent, I want to be excellent at it. I know that there are times when even I sometimes rush and click the wrong button. The first time I encountered this advertisement, I clicked the wrong button because I had absolutely no intention of purchasing anything from the WSJ. I had absolutely no intention of giving them ANY of my precious money and I think that whomever designed the screen above did so in order to create click-through hits. The WSJ pays someone a fraction of a penny for each time someone clicks the grey link and the page loads. Since you ultimately have to click a Check Box and an Agree button, if you click the Grey button, you have to wait for the page to load completely. This means that everyone who does it, generates a Nickel for Cloud Nine, and a Penny for AT&T and Starbucks to share all paid for by The Wall Street Journal.
The first problem is that I see the same 10 second ad that delays my from getting online and doing what I want to do. So I tune it out and ignore it as soon as I see the WSJ captive portal appear and I am sure most other people do to and watch the timer count down and the blue link to appear. So basically when I made the mistake, WSJ paid 6 cents to waste a few minutes of my time in the hopes that they could extract some money from me. The sad part is that if I could get a subscription to the web based WSJ site for like $10 a year, I might pay for it for those few random times that something I am researching would have a WSJ article on it but more importantly I would do it to support the advertisers who support my free Wifi, Unfortunately Starbucks and the WSJ seem to think that the majority of their clientele seem to be in a higher financial demographic then I seem to be encountering at Starbucks because I am pretty sure that most of them do not read WSJ on a regular basis. So more then likely EVERYONE who see’s that dialog box is intending to just get on the internet and really did not want to get the latest content from the WSJ.