It must have been a slow news week for Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton, because of all the things he could critique in the paper he chose the slow load time of the Post’s website.
One reader told Pexton that porn sites load faster then the Post site despite being more content dense and text light. The Post site, despite more text and less content dense material, often freezes the reader’s computer. I guess that’s better than having the porn site freeze his computer.
Another reader even timed washingtonpost.com’s load time and told Pexton that it takes five times longer to load than The New York Times or Reuters. He was frustrated enough to say that he avoids the Post site altogether when searching news sites.
The Post is trying to do something about this problem but they are leery of doing too much, as it could lead to less information being gleaned from users and potentially lower ad revenue if they tinkered with the online ads to make the page load more quickly.
For the Post this is a no-win situation, as they need to devote more money and manpower to solve the problem along with being willing to sacrifice ad revenue at a time when profitability is in decline at the company.
Yet with all that the Post reports on, it is rather surprising that the biggest criticism that Pexton could throw at the Post this week was how slow the website loaded.
If this is Pexton’s idea of what an ombudsman should do, the readers would be better served by not having one at all.