Here's 10 things I did before I wrote this blog post title. What happened next will shock you.
What a crap title, eh? Just the worst. But this kind of linkbait garbage is rampant on our internet - that's yours and my internet, people - and we're promoting their chicanery by spreading their links.
This came to a head for me yesterday when a video started going viral on the social web AGAIN. I say AGAIN because it was the same darn video from 5 years ago, just with a new title. Seriously, a totally unrelated "viral" site made up a new title, called it an article, then embedded the video with their ads everywhere, then (I presume) went to their bosses and say "my stuff generated x PV (page views) this week."
Step 4. PROFIT
I partially blame BuzzFeed, but every once in a while they have a decent article. Upworthy is another, disguising their stealing with an "inspirational spin." One that is the worst is ViralNova - find them yourself, no link from me. Sites like these started this style of hanging headline:
- It Might Seem Like A Normal Temple From The Outside. But Go Inside And… AHHHH!
- This Is The Most Unique Sunrise You’ll Ever See. Guaranteed.
- A 12 Year-Old Boy Wrote The Perfect Advice To Understand Women. This Is Priceless.
- You’ll Have No Idea What You’re Seeing In These 20 Photos. But Look A Little Closer…
How is this a business? Apparently mining for Page Views is more profitable than mining for Bitcoin.
And now this madness is spreading to CNN. That's supposed to be a real news site, folks.
14-year-old girl stabbed her little sister 40 times, police say. The reason why will shock you. http://t.co/5ZFqHFrviw— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 23, 2014
These are custom designed to prey on our base human need to always be seeing new crap. It's drug pushing.
Many sites declare their content "curated" and pull it (most often without explicit permission) from elsewhere. They pull so much from the original site that there's usually no reason to visit the original site! One article recently had 20 high resolution pictures lifted from elsewhere. Buried in the the post it said "via so-in-so" so I visited there, if only to give my page view to the original author and some how cleanse myself. I counted the photos while I was there. There where 20 images. They had reblogged them all.
These are entire "media companies" that have turned reblogging into an art. Reblogging is not journalism. It's not even nice. It's not appreciated, it's not appropriate, and it's not kind.
Nearly completed the Internet but struggling with the end of level boss. Any advice on how to kill Buzzfeed? Top 10 tips?— James Roberts (@jroberts332) January 11, 2014
When you blog, think about what it really means to curate. Consider the Curator's Code. When you use something, give attribution or a hat tip. Confused or not sure if you should use something, ask. Just email them, explain what you want to do, and ask.
There's even Chrome extensions like @snipeyhead's "Downworthy" that will replace the text in headlines like these with more appropriate text.
Please, don't start a multimillion pageview media conglomerate based on copy-pasting other people's hard work combined with deceptive copywriting.
Reject them. I reject them. Will the beginning of the end start on the Dark and Evil Side of the Internet or will it sneak up on us slowly with harmless titles like "The 26 Craziest Crimes That Involve Taco Bell." OMG! I have to click.
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