Worst commercial Web sites ever?

OK, maybe not ever, but I happened upon these two ghastly sites today and they’re both terrible but for very different reasons.

First there’s the Web site for Gasser’s camera shop in San Francisco. Forget about the lack of any sort of search tool or navigation scheme. Forget the broken links all over the place. Just look at the damn thing!

This screen shot of the “Digital Cameras” page was taken on a 1680×1050 monitor with the browser at full screen. Notice the scroll bar? There’s more to the right, right off the page! It looks like somebody cut a bunch of ads out of a magazine and then threw them on the floor and took a picture of it. It is mind boggling! And the fonts are all Zapf Chauncery and Comic Sans! Needless to say, I didn’t find anything I was looking for because I was so overwhelmed by all the visual noise.

At the other extreme are the various Web sites for Crumpler bags (one for Australia, for the U.S., Canada, etc.). Fun, hip, and irreverent, oh yeah! So goddam hip and irreverent that you want to scream and go running back to Gasser’s.

Screaming monkeys, gunshots, weird zombie talk, and endless waiting for Flash pages to load. That’s about all I got out of Crumpler. I eventually (after endless loading, waiting, and enduring all those unwanted sounds) found the shopping area, but it didn’t help much. The pictures of the bags are really small, and the descriptions are terrible. I don’t care if they have hip and irreverent names like “The Breakfast Buffet” and “The Dreadful Embarrassment;” descriptions like the following do not make me want to shell out a hundred bucks for a camera bag:

You are more embarrassing than a lizard without a tongue, chum, more embarrassing than Superman’s skidmarks, son, I’m gonna throw you reverse piking from the diving board with your costume up your three bum cheeks!

Thanks guys, that really tells me a lot. I did manage to find some tech specs, but by then I was so tired of waiting for pages to load and so distrustful of the site and the people behind it that I had no desire to buy.

I mean really. It’s like a bunch of rich trust fund kids hired some bag designers to create what look like decent bags, but then they threw it all away by smoking a whole lot of pot before they came up with their site design and marketing approach. The whole thing just stinks of “I’m like really stoned so I don’t care if you don’t buy the bag cuz I don’t need yer stinking money anyway and besides like if you don’t like the web site then don’t buy the bag cuz like I don’t care if you don’t buy the bag cuz I don’t need yer stinking money anyway and . . . hey, are you gonna eat that? What were you talking about? Heh heh. Donuts.

16 thoughts on “Worst commercial Web sites ever?

  1. OMG! Crumpler’s site should be taken down! It’s so awful, it’s disturbing and puke enducing!
    On a laissé faire tellement que c’était gossant!

  2. It’s Gasser’s! It’s a San Francisco pilgrimage place for all film students! This is where we rented all the film and lighting equipment that our school couldn’t afford to buy, as well as our film stock. These guys were pretty patient with students. I’ve been there countless times and as a camera geek, I know you’d love the place. I’m surprised I never took you there during out trips to the Bay Area.

  3. Any chance they’ll have a Sigma DP1 in stock next time we’re there? ;-)

  4. That is by far the most amazingly bad website ever… it’s like bad made into an art form…. it transcends bad into something totally new


  5. The information (?) below is from a box in the bottom right corner of the page you’ve reviewed – it’s way off screen. Prompts you to check every day for updates – but the last tinkering took place June 20th! BTW, the e-mail link there doesn’t work. He claims he’s looking for suggestions, Blork. Why not reach him through the sales e-mail found in the upper left corner. Click it and it reads: mailtojmudw@gasser.comjmudw – gotta be the same guy.

    Are you familiar with the B&H camera superstore in NYC, it’s on 9th, not far from Penn Station & the MSG. They’ve got a site I’d expect to be more to your liking… Google – B&H NYC

    Here’s that Gasser’s blurb:
    Wednesday, June 20, 2007 Please contact me with any questions, suggestions or any photographic needs. E-mail Me:jmudw
    This site designed & maintained by Jim “Mud” Weaver’s, Do It!.
    Check every day for updates. All rights reserved Adolph Gasser Inc.
    This is the END for NOW

  6. What on earth happened to the Crumpler site between January and today? That is one sloppy redesign.

  7. the gasser site strikes me as someone wanting to reproduce a real life bulletin board but not having the design leet skilz to create such.

  8. Well that’s the thing. As ghastly as Gasser’s site is, at least it’s an honest attempt to provide the information – an attempt that is unfortunately crippled by the person’s total lack of knowledge and skill. Crumpler’s site, on the other hand, is more annoying because it’s not an honest attempt to provide anything other than a narcissistic view of how cool and irreverent they are.

    Harry, I had noticed that the email link is broken (just take off the “jmudw” at the end an it will work), but there’s no point in writing. That site is beyond hope. Trying to explain to the guy what’s wrong with the site and how to fix it would take days, and it would take weeks or months for him to learn how to improve it. I have better things to do.

    However, I do plan on visiting the store in person next time I’m in San Francisco!

  9. the first site could be ‘fixed’ partially simply by:
    i) remove tiled background image
    ii) re-orient page so that it scrolls vertically, not horizontally
    iii) use a sans-serif font for all display text

    the second one, i’m not even going to go see, because from your description, it sounds like i’m going to want to punch the website designer guy in the cock.

  10. The thing about the Crumpler site is that it could be fun if you go there just looking for some fun flash implementations and silly noises. But if you go there looking for information about Crumpler bags it’s as annoying as Hell.

  11. I made it past Crumpler’s awful flash and ordered a bag (I have a moderate embarrassment). It was a bit smaller than I would have liked, but it is quite lovely. Enough so that I can forgive them for their dreadful website.

  12. You know the amazing thing about the crumpler site? I got all the way into the store and realized that I knew and recognized their logo. Why isn’t it anywhere on the site except on the bags?

  13. Something happened at Gasser’s in the past few days. Maybe Jim “Mud” Weaver read your review and took appropriate action. It’s much more user-friendly and generic looking now.

    Crumpler’s on the other hand is all you say it is (and worse). A genuinely horrible web experience. I wouldn’t be caught dead with one of their products.

  14. With the second one, I got these giant percentage numbers on a “loading” screen. When it got to 100%, nothing happened. Was I lucky?

  15. Heh, ever seen the logo for when an item is out of stock at Crumpler? (Granted: If you can get that far in the website..)

    A big middle finger.

  16. And yes, they don’t care. They sell through retailers and have the sweetest bags ever for decent prices.

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