There's been some talk on the online-news discussion list about the tendency of some news sites to link home-page headlines to intermediary index pages instead of linking directly to the articles. (For example, a headline "Mozilla getting more popular" might link to the general technology page, which contains a link to the story itself.)
A few culprits were singled out:
This practice is a usability nightmare. It forces users to search twice for the story they want to read: Once on the home page itself, and again on the intermediary page.
It's like asking for directions at a gas station and being told, "Drive a mile north, and ask again at the gas station up there." In the words of one online-news list member: "Every time I follow one of these links, I feel cheated."
This isn't only frustrating; it cheapens a site and makes it less credible. From my experience, people are cynical enough to believe this technique is done solely to increase page views. Is this an attitude you'd want your site's users to take?
A Brazilian member of the online-news list reported it's a common practice in Brazil:
The usual method is: A teaser in the very home page, a click takes you to a section/sub-site home page, and finally to the final destination. ... One may say that's for the context and to allow the user to see more of what he's interested, but I believe it's just for the audience numbers.
Aha. The audience numbers. Never mind the fact that if you frustrate users enough, they'll stop visiting your site entirely -- which, I might point out, does not bode well for audience numbers.
I advise news sites -- and any other information-based sites -- to stop this practice entirely.