An Open Letter to Zap2it.com Regarding Spoilers

Dear Zap2it.com,

I have been a reader of your site for the past number of years. I stumbled across it in my search to gain TV ratings data, and it has become a permanent stop on my entertainment news trawling ever since. It offers a wide range of commentary, quick news updates, and an occasionally biting sense of humour within its briefs that I find to be quite engaging. And yet, despite all of these positive qualities, I have a serious beef with you. Why?

Because you have spoiled more episodes of Survivor for me than I could count on my two hands.

Survivor is one of those shows, as I was discussing last week I believe, that I don’t often watch live. It is much more often that I am waiting to watch it until at the very least Friday afternoon, having not yet found the time to peruse it. And yet, during that time, I would like to be able to spend some time at Zap2it.com…but I cannot.

You insist on placing a picture of the evicted castaway on your main page, sometimes unavoidable when loading it. When Anthony was eliminated earlier this season, I knew before watching the show because I headed to Zap2it to see if the ratings were up yet. This, effectively, makes the show’s last 15 minutes absolutely worthless. In essence, these episodes of Survivor are being ruined for me.

I know that you’re trying to bring people in to read your recaps (Hell, I write my own recaps of shows all the time), but is putting a picture of the castaway eliminated REALLY necessary? Just slap a picture of Jeff Probst up there, include a little headline which hints at the episode’s actions, and then save the photo for the From Inside the Box post itself. It’s so frustrating to know that a simple change like this one could keep people from unwillingly discovering who was unfortunate enough to get the boot the night previous.

You need to realize that this is the age of TiVo, where people will often have not watched a show for a few days after it airs. This is especially true of Survivor due to the large amount of programming within its timeslot. There’s Ugly Betty, ABC’s award-winning drama. There’s Smallville, for the young teen set. And then there’s The Office and My Name is Earl for the 18-49s. And, for the unintelligent, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? on FOX. There are a lot of options here that people might choose over Survivor…and they are.

But this doesn’t mean that people aren’t watching; the recent Nielsen data regarding same-week DVR viewings showed that Survivor gained two million viewers compared to its initial same-day viewing total. That’s two million people who didn’t watch the show that night, and yet who would be entirely capable of mistakingly coming across that picture when browsing your site.


Spoilers are a tough thing to avoid, and I do best to do so; however, what frustrates me the most are spoilers that are out of my control. I would feel the same about any reality show; if I was a fan of America’s Next Top Model, and waiting to watch the episode myself, I would hate to see the picture of the eliminated girl sitting on your website in an unavoidable position. And the thing is that you often feel the same way: in your recaps you often warn people about spoilers before they go too far into an article. And yet, for whatever reason, this does not extend to your main page. This somewhat boggles my mind.

I see other websites who go to extreme lengths to get their point across; EW’s Popwatch will hide any real spoilers from its main page, and BE Something does the same, even denoting that you really shouldn’t read their recap if you plan on watching the episode yourself. Is it so hard, then, for a site like Zap2it to do the same? To replace those pictures with ones of the show’s hosts, or of the show’s entire cast, or a photo from a previous episode?

Soon, the season will be over. Survivor has its finale in only two weeks or so, and then I guess it won’t really matter. However, I do know that I will not be heading to Zap2it.com on Friday mornings, for my own safety. However, I shouldn’t have to do that, because no one should be encountered by such blatant spoilers just by browsing an entertainment website. And, for the sake of those people who haven’t yet watched those episodes, I think that you should reconsider.

Sincerely,

Myles

3 Comments

Filed under Ratings, Reality TV, Survivor, Television

3 responses to “An Open Letter to Zap2it.com Regarding Spoilers

  1. A lot of people are using DVRs now and websites need to think more carefully about this or their fans will stop going. I think that if they really want to do the spoilers, then they should publish a spoiler free version of the site as well. It wouldn’t take much work and you could delay the spoilers for a few days.

  2. It’s a problem that I think is heading towards its watershed moment; while I think that making a spoiler free version of the site would be ideal, I don’t even think that’s necessary. Just being more careful, more considerate, can be as simple as making small little changes with little impact on their reporting abilities. I think you’re right, Davis, in that people will start avoiding sites which have this problem.

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