Never put ads on your sign-in page

06Feb09

It’s fun watching products evolve over time, especially if they grow to add new features that make your life easier. One of the web-based services that I use has been improving things a lot lately, including making their customer sign-in screen much cleaner. They also added an area on the screen where they announce new features and provide tips on using the product.

However, when I went to sign in to the site a few days ago, I noticed that the news and tips area had been replaced by some spammy-looking ads for unrelated products. My first thought was maybe I was on the wrong page, but I reloaded it from the bookmark and got the same thing. Next, I wondered if the site had been hacked, but then I verified that the ads were being served by the website itself. Finally, I reloaded it a few more times and noticed that they were alternating between the unwelcome ads and the familiar-looking news items that I described above.

Like most people, seeing unexpected content on the sign-in page made me nervous. I doubt anyone would click on the ads anyway, since people arrive at the sign-in page with specific tasks in mind. So, my recommendation is to avoid putting ads or other unexpected content on your sign-in page. The same goes for any other page where you ask customers to enter personal information. Unless the messaging and visual treatment are directly related to your product itself, placing ads on the sign-in page will erode customer trust with little additional revenue to show for it.



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