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seb
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What is the reasoning behind these, why do people have them, and would you ever make a site with one? Personally I loathe them, they waste my time - a client wants one on their site and I just want to double check that it's pointless before I tell them so Smile

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Tony
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Splash screens

Hi seb,
I agree with you and advise against using them from SEO point of view.
Search engines will most likely index the next page better then the Splash Screen.
So search traffic will miss the Splash Screen anyway.

Splash Screen also filter out users that can't be bothered going on more click to the next page.

Hope that helps

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Splash screens

Splash screens, if handled correctly, can imprint the client's logotype or branding device firmly in the subconscious mind of the visitor. If you also use a short and effective one-liner, you can imprint that in the mind too. As for the SEO angle, I have carried out numerous tests of my own and have concluded that splash screens delay complete indexing of a site by a few weeks, but from then on in there is no real disadvantage. As for visitors that cannot be bothered to go on one click: they're probably not going to go on two clicks so is it any great loss!

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Splash screens

Now that I am sober and awake, I shall expand on my post above as I get quite annoyed when I read so many criticisms of splash pages made by people who perhaps don't understand the technicalities of brand building or identity management or whatever else the 'jargon of the moment' calls it. I've even seen 'Spash Pages' cited as number three of someone's Top Ten things you shouldn't do with a website!

The main reason for a splash page is to push home the brand image or trading identifier when the viewer is most receptive to it. Without the clutter of the average home page, the logotype or branding device stands out very clearly and cannot fail to be registered in the brain of the viewer at a deeper, subconscious level than might otherwise be achieved. This is because the viewer is waiting for a page to load. They are actively receptive to an image and at that very moment you hit them with the branding device. Job done. If this is all a bit esoteric to you then read a few good books on hi-level marketing, corporate image or brand building - it all amounts to a similar thing and it all involves planting the branding device at a subconscious level. It's brain washing really, but it works very well.

Another advantage of a splash page is that it will load quickly and in the few seconds that it takes the user to click on the 'Enter' link, you can be preloading graphics for the next page so that this then loads even quicker.

As I said above, anyone that cannot be bothered to click on the Enter link is unlikely to maintain their interest beyond the next page either, so is it really any great loss?

I recently had two sites going live at the same time; one with a splash page and one without. They were both rebuilds of existing sites and both needed 404 redirects in the .htaccess file (pointing to the splash page and home page respectively) due to vhost structure changes. They went live at the same time and within two days both opening pages had been spidered by Google. During the next few weeks I noticed that the site without the splash page was deep-indexed sooner than the site with a splash page, but that was only a short-term problem.

Current SEO thinking is that a regularly changing home page will improve your ranking with Google, in which case this could be a problem if you use a splash page. But I don't know the technicalities of this thinking and whether or not the spiders/software differentiate between a changing home page called 'index' and a changing home page that is one click on from there.

My current thinking on the whole issue is that if my client or its product or service is an up-coming, 'also-ran' name in a crowded market place then I advice the use of a simple 'hit them where it hurts' splash page; but if the client or product or service is already very well known (i.e. through an existing saturated marketing drive), then forget the splash page and go straight for a busy home page with lots going on and regular changes.

Splash pages have pros as well as cons Smile

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Anonymous
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Splash screens

When a splash page uses flash and you look at it at 5am and the thrash metal music blasts you out of your chair...well, that just sucks.

Smile

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Splash screens

Yes; when I talk about an effective splash page, I'm talking about a logotype, one-liner and 'Enter' link. Not Flash. Not sound.

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Splash screens

Here's an example: http://www.onpointfirearms.com/

Evil

This is the reason people say they hate splash screens. This is the reason people say they hate flash. They are both used in this manner far too often. In this case the hate is not unjustified. Smile

I've also seen good examples of splash pages and flash is OK if used very sparingly. Smile

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Splash screens

Hi Roy,
From a marketing point of view It may be a good idea to use a splash screen.
From Googles point of view it's not http://www.google.com.au/webmasters/2.html

Lets look at this another way.
We all know that having links from other sites helps your page rank.
If those links go to your splash screen as they should then the splash screen will have a higher page rank but because of the lack of text to index, search engines will not show the page when searching for terms found else where on your site.
So the pages that will show up would be lower in the list then they would have been had the search terms been displayed on the splash screen.

If you need to use a splash screen try to incorporate text into the page without using underhanded tricks such as hiding the text.

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Splash screens

I accept what you say Tony. I was trying to point out that there is at least one very good marketing reason for using a splash page. The SEO drawback that you cite is a valid one for a site that is on a PageRank linking-score threshold (if you know what I mean), but it is also good for people to know all the pros and cons so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to use a splash page, depending upon the particular website and its purpose.

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rbolwerk
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Splash screens

In my opinion splash screens are silly and a complete waste of time. It was interesting to read about the SEO issues, however, in my opinion it will do absolutely nothing in terms of brand/image building.

A customer evaluates the brand ONLY the moment s/he has contact with the company, its representatives, products or something like that.

For example, your car brakes down and you call the AA. You have been told that they would be with you within 20min to fix your car, however, they only turn up after 1 1/2 hours. What do you think (read: evaluate)?

Well probably something like "what a sh***y company".

So if we define that a splash screen is a moment of contact, it then follows that a customer will be evaluating the brand/image and consequently you have to be very careful about its eeffects.

I am certainly one of those persons (when i see a splash screen) who thinks: "Here is another idiot site who believes that i am more interested in some stupid logo and a sh***y tune instead of the products and services the website sells."

Why an earth do some designers think its a great idea to let a user wait for the damn thing to load and force the user to have to make one extra click to where they want to be.

Nah, waste of money and time, get that home page to load fast will have a better impact then showing a silly logo.

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Splash screens

i design a lot of media intense sites, and still consider splash screens to be a very touchy subject. I usually only use them on sites like car clubs, and music artists, business sites get a direct homepage most of the time. The demographic is what will win this battle. of course if your selling something, you want to show that ASAP.

wayne

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Splash screens

rbolwerk - you seem to thrive on winding people up! If I didn't already have experience of your over-opinionated, ill-informed ways (re. MS v. the world), I might take great offence at being called an idiot. I am not suggesting that everyone should use splash pages, simply answering the question about why they are sometimes favoured.

I'm not going to rise to the bait in any great detail because an entire industry of corporate image specialists and brand builders know their craft - you don't (so kindly shut up). When you see a huge billboard with nothing on it except for a Coca Cola logo, are you evaluating the product by looking at the image? When you pick up a stylish brochure with a front cover featuring nothing but a logo, do you think: "Why don't these idiots start the text on the front page?" When you stub a cigarette out in a logo printed in an ashtray, or place your pint on a beer matt with a logotype and one-liner, are you evaluating the company or product any more than when you visit their website? Do you think millions are spent on these things for no good reason? Do you seriously suggest that the look and feel of a logotype does not affect someone's evaluation of a company or brand? Are you completely ignorant about marketing and branding?

Did I mention the word 'evaluate'? ...no, I talked about the subconscious recording of an image (which leads to familiarity and confidence on a subconscious level, as it happens).

Do yourself a favour and learn to keep such strong and offensive opinions to yourself until such time as you know what you're talking about! :roll:

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Splash screens

you could do somthing along the lines of a preloader...

http://www.superclubs.com/home.asp

Their actuall flash is too much but the preloader gives you a nice and simple one liner.

The problem with their set up is that once the flash is cached you don't see the preloader.

All the same though you could have a 3-5 sec clip in the body that then fades in to the actuall body text.

~B

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Splash screens

The only sort of splash screens that I like are the type that load in a second or less. I'm not a great fan of Flash!

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Splash screens

Roy, you have a problem with me and I am starting to take it personal now. In my post I call nobody an idiot! READ BOY!!! And calling me over-opinionated and ill-informed and reffering to some other topic is idiotic and so now I will call you an idiot! I have taken great offence.

I really do not deserve all this name calling from you just because i disagree with what you say and make remarks about that. That's what keeps a forum interesting.

"not going to rise to the bait" - Really Roy there is no bait, you just take everything I say personal.

"entire industry of corporate image specialists and brand builders know their craft - you don't (so kindly shut up)" - What! You don't know anything about me, where the hell do you think you are coming from to talk to me like that. I am responsible for 14 million pound sterling in sales - I know my stuff - so you shut up and quickly because you certainly do not belong to the group of specialists you are refering to, I do!

"When you see a huge billboard ... or place your pint on a beer matt with a logotype and one-liner, are you evaluating the company or product any more than when you visit their website?" - No, the point you don't seem to grasp is that when you visit a website you 100% are evaluating the brand consciously or subconsciously. With Billboards and ashtrays that's different, the marketing purpose of these is to remind the consumer of the brand. To illustrate further ... when you see a billboard, that particular moment is usually not a buying moment or a moment that you make a buying decision about that poduct.

I repeat, visiting a website is a true moment of contact with the brand since it usually is also a buying moment and therefore you must recognise that it is a moment of time where a customer is evaluating your brand extremely critically. You don't do that when you see a beer mat - get it?

"Do you think millions are spent on these things for no good reason?" - Yes, that's exactly what i think!

"Do you seriously suggest that the look and feel of a logotype does not affect someone's evaluation of a company or brand?" - Where do I suggest this?

"Are you completely ignorant about marketing and branding?" - No, but you seem to be ...

"Do yourself a favour and learn to keep such strong and offensive opinions to yourself until such time as you know what you're talking about!" - Just practice what you preach.

Look RoyTheSillyBoy, we allready decided long time ago that we will never agree, let's just keep it at that ok. But never, never tell me to shut up again, there was really no need for your last post!

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Splash screens

Simply put, I despise flash intros, because I'm on 56k. I can't wait 10 minutes for a file to download that I'm not even going to watch. It's even worse if there is no 'skip intro' button until the file is loaded.

websitesthatsuck.com - check out the 'biggest web design mistakes' - great little bit about flash intros.

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Splash screens

"Better to stop short than to fill to overflowing."- Taoist saying

It's very easy when reading text to take it the wrong way or feel it was a personal attack.
Differing opinions are fine please remember to keep some face and allow others the same privilege.

One of the things I like about this forum is the lack of head butting.
If you feel something was directed at you intensionally take a step back, think about it before stooping to the same level.
In most cases a simple PM or email may clear up the confusion and will keep the forum clear of unnecessary agro.

If a PM hasn't helped clear up the problem feel free to contact me with your complaints.

Please, don't post to this topic unless you are posting an apology.

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Splash screens

Tony - the following was written prior to your post above.

rbolwerk - I really don't want to get into a long and abusive argument here as we are clearly both taking offence at each others' comments and life is too short for such aggravation. I would like to be constructive if I can, so let me start by apologising for my tone, which was in direct response to yours, whether you realise it or not. After I had explained why logotypes and splash pages can serve a purpose and that I sometimes use them, you then wrote: "Here is another idiot site who believes that i am more interested in some stupid logo..." and "Why an earth do some designers think its a great idea..." If you were attempting to create a meaningful dialogue, you were going about it in a very antagonistic and personal way!

rbolwerk wrote:
"Do you seriously suggest that the look and feel of a logotype does not affect someone's evaluation of a company or brand?" - Where do I suggest this?

rbolwerk wrote:
A customer evaluates the brand ONLY the moment s/he has contact with the company, its representatives, products or something like that.

If you were not suggesting that evaluation does not start with the trading identifier or branding device then why did you write this?

We are clearly both professionals in a similar field but I would suggest that our methods and/or understanding of the issues originate from different schools of thought. I have spent many years running a corporate communications and identity development business, working for clients of all shapes and sizes, large and small, both private and public sector. Although in my senior years I am now starting to do more of what I love doing most (i.e. developing web applications ), my true specialism is in identity development and image management, which deals with exactly the same sort of issues and methods as brand management. You seem to be coming in from the product sales side of things, but I dare say we could teach each other a thing or two based on our different experiences.

The bottom line is that EVERYTHING that bears a company, service or product name or image sends out messages about that company, service or product on one or more levels of communication. This is the core principle of Corporate Communications although it also extends way beyond design and presentation of course. Design and presentation counts for everything on a superficial level, although one bad personal experience can blow all that out of the water in an instant. As I'm sure you know, a company, service or product is also 'positioned' in its market very precisely by the graphic 'tone' of the visual communications, as well as by all other communication methods being employed. I trust you would not disagree with any of this (?), although it is not the gist of my original post.

My post refers to 'pushing home' the image. You class this process as reminding people about the brand and clearly follow the common school of thought about further targeting the 'buying moment'. I do not disagree with any of this, but my background is one of looking much deeper into the art of long-term suggestion and the different levels of memory that can be accessed. This is the almost 'esoteric' side of things to which I referred and although I do not usually measure my successes in terms of unit sales of products, I can look back with satisfaction on the number of businesses and organisations whose fortunes have been turned around (to the tune of a great many millions) by what I and others like me do.

My precise point is that a quick and simple brand image or trading identifier (not a Flash mini-movie), presented at a time when the viewer is looking at a screen waiting with anticipation for a website to load, is a very good opportunity to register or imprint an image and name in a deeper part of the brain than can otherwise normally be accessed (e.g. by glancing at a billboard or beer mat). If I did not make myself clear enough then I apologise but I thought I had.

The object of this long-term exercise is to prompt familiarity and confidence beyond a level of mere recognition. When it comes to a buyer being presented with conflicting sales messages at the moment of purchase (be it in a supermarket, the Yellow pages, or a short-list of options in a purchasing report), to which company, service or product do they turn? All other things being equal, they will go with their gut feeling but here is where we can influence that decision because void of other influences, the brain works in such a way that a deep-level familiarity with a name or image breeds confidence, which influences the buying decision. I know what I mean, but I'm sorry if I am not getting this across very clearly.

Like you, I claim to know my stuff and in writing this long post I hope that I have been able to share some of my understanding. If you still think I don't know what I'm talking about then that is your prerogative, but I'll finish by asking you to please look carefully at the tone of your own posts before having a go at others.

...can we agree on anything here?

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Splash screens

Tony:Thanks for calling us back in line and setting the standards again, it was necessary! :oops:

I feel exactly like you about this forum that there is no head butting. Its exactly the reason why I like it too.

Roy: It was never my intention to antagonise you personally or anybody else for that matter. As far as I was concerned I was only posting an opinion, my opinion, that's all.

However, having antagonised you anyway I apologise sincerely. I am not on this forum to get at people or you specifically. I have read my post over and over and can see how you could get upset from 2 points of view. I will not get into that now, its irrelevant, except maybe for this:

The tone of my post is a direct result of me having to translate my thoughts into english, I can see that I must change my style. Maybe I can invent a new css rule for that Smile).

Joke aside, maybe the next time you can remember that there is a silly Dutchman on the otherside trying to speak in english about topics which are complex but close to his heart, (read: is passionate about), so please don't take it personal anymore Wink.

Roy: In life I never have discussions which lead to p*ss*ng somebody off. Its not my style, I couldn't sell anything otherwise. I always try to be constructive but am very critical, that's true. I now know that you also try to do the same and are also critical and even come from the same background. Maybe this was at the foundation all this getting angry nonsense.

As far as agreeing on something, let's agree on what you said:

"but I dare say we could teach each other a thing or two based on our different experiences"

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Splash screens

Smile

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Splash screens

its good to see you two made up... Smile Lifes no fun when your angry.

Pineapple ... I love the websitesthatsuck.com it makes for an amusing read. But if you notice #3 of the biggest mistakes is:

"3. Mystical belief in the power of Web Standards, Usability, and tableless CSS."

"There is nothing wrong with any of the above except they're being touted by...guess who?...people who offer web design services specializing in...guess what?...Web Standards, Usability, and tableless CSS..."

"Yes, Web Standards can make your site search engine friendly, reduce bandwidth, etc...."

i saw that and laughed...

~B

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Yep, I had a chuckle at that. Best bit was about a homeowner not caring what brand of hammer used, as long as the house got built.

However, to me it's less about web standards and accessibility, and more about lean, 56k friendly code and easily updateable (?) pages.

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I've just had a look at the site in question and can't help feeling that the author has over-simplified some things to an unhelpful degree. The key points he makes about website mistakes are valid of course, but there is so much more to so many of the issues about which he expresses such strong opinions.

For example, he says: "Too many organizations believe that a web site is about opening a new marketing channel or getting donations or to promote a brand. No. It's about solving your customers' problems. Have I said that phrase enough?" I know of plenty of websites that exist to promote a brand. They may use entertainment to attract visitors, but they still exist and are funded in order to promote a brand. Is that so wrong if it results in a website that people like to visit?

As for his comments about web standards and accessibility: they leave me cold - or is that because I care about the quality of my workmanship and want to see the web looking a little better than it currently does?

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Splash screens

I'm afraid that the comments vis-a-vis web standards do not impress whatsoever, he should have thought that through a little and he might have realised what a soppy comment he was making. Smile

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Guys, let's not argue about what he said - this topic is about flash intros, after all. However:

Quote:
is that because I care about the quality of my workmanship and want to see the web looking a little better than it currently does

Yep, that's exactly why I was taken aback by the comments. However, it's from the company's point of view, not the designer. In all fairness, you wouldn't care what hammer was used to build your house, would you? As long as it did the job well!

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Splash screens

PH - the topic is about splash screens generally, not flash intros, and either you want to continue the thread's direction change or you don't :? (you're contradicting yourself Wink ). So let's continue it...

I don't see what difference the writer's perspective has on the argument - you either want a clean and lean site that is easy to update (i.e. stylesheets v. table structures) and that will still work on tomorrow's browsers, or you don't. I think we all agree that we are not collectively pushing the use of standards just so that we can get more work. Well I'm not, that's for sure, because I could turn out far more sites in a week using tables than I can using CSS (thanks to IE Evil )!

As for the hammer, that's a flawed metaphor. He would be better to ask if we care about what wood, bricks and mortar are used to build our houses, to which I am sure the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" The hammer relates to what text editor the designer uses (i.e. who cares!).

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Re: Splash screens

seb wrote:
What is the reasoning behind these, why do people have them, and would you ever make a site with one? Personally I loathe them, they waste my time - a client wants one on their site and I just want to double check that it's pointless before I tell them so Smile
Ask your client what he expects of his website. Is it a point of sales? A source of information for customers and potential customers? Is it a problem solving site, i.e. 'helpdesk'? Or is it a political/social soapbox to espouse a point of view?

Then ask him how a splash screen improves the visitors' experience. How does it sell more, inform more, help more or reinforce a point of view? The fact is that a splash screen does none of these. If anything it annoys the visitor because he wants to get to the purpose of his visit, and watching a cute splash screen isn't it.

Your client may say, "but it builds brand recognition!" Bullsplat. He already knows whom he's visiting. Besides, isn't the company logo and slogan prominently displayed atop every page? One of the posts in this thread compared the splash screen to a, I believe, Coca Cola™ billboard. Coke™ does not rent that space because thousands of people drive past each day. They rent it because the same thousands of people drive by each day. repetition is the name of the game. The Coke billboard does not slow traffic or otherwise delay driver satisfaction. The splash screen, on the other hand is inferred to be in the way of what the visitor wants. Instead of repetition building a positive image, the very sight of the screen causes irritation in the regular visitor—not exactly a desired result.

Ask your client the right questions, and if he has a modicum of clue, you'll get the right answer. Smile

cheers,

gary

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Re: Splash screens

kk5st wrote:
One of the posts in this thread compared the splash screen to a, I believe, Coca Cola™ billboard. Coke™ does not rent that space because thousands of people drive past each day. They rent it because the same thousands of people drive by each day. repetition is the name of the game.

I feel the need to attempt yet again to clarify the post I made early on in this thread. First and foremost, when I have referred to a splash page in this thread, I have had in mind a very simple, fast-loading logotype or brand image. Not a flash mini-movie or such like. I hate flash intros as much as the next web user!

The comparison of a splash page with a bill-board was made by me to illustrate the fact that evaluation of an organisation can take place before coming into direct contact with it. You are of course correct about the 'brand recognition through repetition' purpose of billboards but that has little to do with the point I was attempting and obviously failing to make at the time.

Seb's question at the head of this thread was "why do people use splash screens?" and "would you ever use one?" I was attempting to explain the circumstances and reasoning behind why a splash screen can sometimes be an effective tool towards building confidence on a subconscious level. This depends totally upon the client, their service and/or products, and the purpose of the site (i.e. although I have clients that insist on using logotype splash pages on shop sites, I do not recommend this approach), and I feel that such pages are definitely not needed for sites of companies with established and well known corporate identity systems or brand images.

But there are circumstances where a simple splash page can serve a purpose - and this is the sole point I have been labouring very hard to make in this thread. When the logo, logotype or brand image is being used as part of a much wider strategy to break into a new market or to reposition within an existing one, then a splash page can be used to effectively lodge the image in a deeper part of the memory than could otherwise be reached. That's it - that's my point. No more, no less.

An example (deliberately made without referring back to the thread): someone posting to this thread uses a huge black and blue signature image at the foot of their posts. Despite the fact that I see it almost every time I use this forum (thousands of impressions?), I can't remember what it says because to me it is part of the general 'wallpaper' of this site and my brain just isn't interested in taking note of it (no offence to the owner). BUT, earlier on in this thread someone posted a link to an example of an integrated splash page. It featured a bright blue logotype on a white background with two blue waves underneath. I can't remember exactly what it said - Super Cubs perhaps - but I'd know it instantly if I saw it again. The splash page was the type that annoys (on a short-term basis) and not the sort I would ever suggest using, but nonetheless I have remembered the logotype and if I am ever in the position whereby I have to make a buying decision and that company are on my short-list, I will recognise the logotype and will feel slightly more comfortable about using them, without really understanding why.

Is there nobody else using this forum that understands or acknowledges these established 'deep' methods of marketing communication? Am I totally on my own here? ...I give up! Sad

Contradict me if you must fellow forum-users, but Seb: I truly hope that I have helped you with your original question.

Life's a b*tch and then you die!