Tag: linkbait

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What is Clickbait?

My definition is the authoritative answer. Period. Journalists and their readers debate about what is clickbait, and also linkbait, and whether or not they are the same. They most certainly are not, and neither has a place in responsible journalism.

Both are constructs of the Google free economy—that is giving away valuable content subsidized by online advertising to get high search ranking. Problem: There is too much content, and too much of it alike, for ads to financially support. Excessive ad space means lower page rates and greater competition for advertisers. The shortage encourages even more clickbaiting and linkbaiting, which generate more pointless posts that suck limited advertising from high-value news content. 

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Good Headlines provoke Readers

Today at BetaNews, Brian Fagioli stirs up a hornet’s nest with story “Sorry Netflix, but you should pay ‘tolls’ to ISPs“. As I write, there are over 300 comments, in about 14 hours, and fierce debate and strong reaction among them. Funny thing: My January story “Sign me up for ‘Sponsored Data’” takes similar position—that ISPs shouldn’t give bandwidth gluttons like Netflix a free ride. I got 13 comments before they closed two weeks later.

My post focuses on a specific situation, an ISP program where services like Netflix pay and are rewarded. Brian also responds to a news trigger—Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ commentary “Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality“. Headline is one of the primary reasons Brian’s story soars, while mine fell to earth. Keywords that matter to readers—we don’t care about Google—are “ISPs”, “Netflix”, and “tolls”, which punch with commanding verb “should”.