Snap isn't that bad, is it?

Readers may have noticed that I used to have the Snap previews on this site, and I recently disabled them. Truth is, I don’t mind Snap. I kind of like the previews. I like getting an idea of what to expect when I follow a link. It was also helpful for me to double check links that I add to my posts without having to actually follow all the links.

I disabled them because it was becoming very clear that I am in the minority in my appreciation of the previews. With all the negative buzz, I took the code out rather than get complaints. It didn’t matter that much to me.

Are the previews really that annoying to people? I find sites that throw in green underlined hover-ads instead of legitimate links to be far worse. And don’t get me started on any website that makes noise without asking me if it’s okay first.


5 responses to “Snap isn't that bad, is it?”

  1. Personally? Yes, they are that bad. As a reader, they add absolutely no value to my reading experience, as a thumbnail of a linked site gives me no useful information about whether I want to go there. The large (relatively speaking) graphics flashing in and out of my field of view as I read and attempt to check links are a constant annoyance which strongly encourages me to leave the page, rather than put up with it.

    I did eventually find a tip describing how to disable the popups as a user, but it wasn’t an obvious solution, and I’ll bet dollars to donuts most readers have no idea they can choose to turn them off.

    I fully agree Snap was less annoying than the other 2 egregious assaults on readers you mentioned, but ‘sucking a bit less” isn’t enough.

    At least as far as this reader goes, Snap is a perfect example of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” – a cool effect that adds zero value, and much potential aggravation.

    There’s my .02. You’ll have to calculate the exchange rate yourself 🙂


  2. Well, I also turned off my Snap Previews on my websites. Why? Well, they were bugging ME! I have a list of the blogs I read daily on my blog and I actually use it. The Snap Previews were getting in my way.

    I *thought* that they would be very useful to me as a way to preview a site and see if the blogger had updated it since I last read it . . . but they didn’t perform that function well.

    So, I took them off. They aren’t that “cool” that someone would pine away for them and between the actual aggravation to me and potential aggravation to my readers . . . easy decision.

  3. Judi,

    Thanks again for taking the time and effort to give Snap Preview Anywhere a spin on your site. My name is Jason Fields, and I am the Product Evangelist for Emerging Technology for and Snap Preview Anywhere blog widget. I’d like to respond to some of criticism of Snap Preview Anywhere (aka SPA) product circulating in the blogosphere.

    We are committed to making Snap Preview Anywhere (SPA) a useful feature for both the site owner and end user. Rest assured that all viewpoints have been, and will continue to, inform the ongoing development of this product.

    Admittedly its not a product for everyone, however, we are acutely aware of the issues described by people that ARE using it and have several enhancements scheduled to release over the coming couple of weeks that will address them. Some of these enhancements are:

    (1) Making improvements that will reduce the confusion about whether a link is SPA enabled, or not.

    (2) Make it much easier for a site owner to point SPA to a particular type of link to use SPA.

    (3) Allow the site owner to totally customize the SPA bubble, css, link behavior preferences, etc.

    Regardless of these improvements, SPA is still gaining popularity every day. There are literally thousands(!) of people signing up for SPA on a daily basis AND we have served more than 150+ million previews since the launch of the product in November 2006. We are also preparing to post another popular 100 sites using SPA to our blog in the coming week (and there are more of those posts on the way).

    If you are curious about other peoples perceptions about Snap Preview Anywhere, there are some good third party analysis of our product at ReveNews , at and at AjayD’Souza.

    Thanks for your attention.

    Jason Fields

    Product Evangelist, Emerging Technology

  4. I think it comes down to choice, and putting the control of the previews in the hands of the surfer, not the site owner. I’d much rather see Snap come out with a Firefox add-in that adds the previews in my browser, than have webmasters add them to their site and require every visitor to deal with them.

    Yes, you can make global preference changes and the visitor can manually turn them off. But that’s not an answer. The visitor is going to resent having to turn off something they didn’t ask to be on in the first place. This is exactly why sites that autoplay music (including sound in embedded video) makes me crazy.

    I would love to have the Snap previews when I search with my choice of search engines or when I view my page, for example.

  5. Great points, Judi. I also HATE embedded music and video — I will not stay at a site that forces me to listen to their music. It’s just rude.

    I like the idea of being able to use Snap Preview through the browser (go Firefox!) than embedding it in my blog or website.