Monday, March 9, 2009

Top 10 List on 10 Separate Pages?? Uhhh... NO.

I discovered a new old Firefox add-on which is my new favorite. Repagination lets you take many annoyingly spoon-fed articles on the web which are broken up into separate pages and consolidate them as you like.

Increasingly, to get their advertising exposed to as many eyes as possible, content publishers will take anything from a howto article to a top 10 list and break it into individual pages. I think mainly the purpose of this is increase the CPM, which is understandable if someone is publishing content for purposes of earning some money.

Another reason for doing this is to try to regulate how much bandwidth is consumed in viewing the site. One user gobbling up 1 item of a top 10 list at a time uses less bandwidth than a user grabbing all 10 items at once. This is certainly a concern particularly for a forum which might be running with an ISP which charges for monthly bandwidth overage. However, some sites like Something Awful will do stuff like charge users a one-time fee for the privilege of searching their forum. While this is understandable, I find it annoying.

Say you have a favorite thread on a forum which is huge, but unfortunately only shows a set limit of posts per page. This add-on lets you bypass the site's limitation, and lets you consolidate all the posts into a single, huge web document.

In the screenshot below, by right-clicking on the Next link, a Repagination popup menu is present, and the "All" option I choose lets me append to the current page all subsequent pages of the forum thread.

In this example, a thread which is several hundred pages long can, if I like, be loaded en masse in a single browser window. At that point, I can easily search it for references, in this case, to artists or songs I like, or just save the whole mess for viewing later on a laptop if I happen to be somewhere without wireless connectivity (a situation which is becoming increasingly infrequent).

While the popularity of this kind of add-on certainly will open the floodgates as far as your ability to gobble up more of a content publisher's bandwidth at one time, it also will and arguably should send the message that informed users can and will get around attempts to spoon-feed content and advertising to them.

Although this add-on hasn't been updated recently, someone posted an update to this extension here which makes it compatible with Firefox 3.x. I hope that the author will consider an update of his own, I find it an incredibly helpful and useful add-on!

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