I hate climbing walls.

It’s my pet hate.

“Hey you.  Yes you. We have this free digital thing. It’s worth lots of money, but we are giving it away for free. Just go here to get it now.”

They don’t tell you that it involves filling in a form that involves telling them your life story.

Or just as bad.  You’ve already signed up to their stuff, you just can’t remember the login details and the user experience of the website doesn’t allow you to reset it.

The usability options are only part of the problem.

What gets to me is that when this is done, then it’s not really free.  It’s more of a barter.

“We’ll give you this, in return for your life story and email.”

That’s not free, is it?

It’s not free because I’ve wasted x amount of minutes of my time just trying to get access to it.  And now you have my life story and perhaps worse, my email.

“It is free because you didn’t spend any money on it.”

Money = time. ‘enuf said.

“We can’t do that. Marketing wants emails. Sales want leads. We don’t have time for building relationships.”

Why not just make it as easy as possible to get it. Then I might actually read it. Absorb it. Make use of it. And if it is a good as you claim it is then I’ll tell my friends about it. On Twitter. On FaceBook. On G+. On my blog.  Then my ‘friends’ might do the same.  I might even go back to your website and sign up for that newsletter that you wanted me to sign up to.  I could go a step further and follow your tweets or blog.  I might even ‘like’ your Facebook page.

Oh and if you are really engaging you might notice that I’ve tweeted it. Liked it. +1 it. Blogged it.  You might jump on this opportunity to actually communicate with me.  ’cause hey, we probably share the same interests.  And because you helped me out.  Maybe I’ll help you out.


Oh, but no.  This won’t happen because in the first place you put up that big wall called a form.

If you want a really good example of this kind of practice, check this out.  I even tweeted about it, but got no response.