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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Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Of course, with people like "Upworthy" focusing on Youtube videos, we're in this weird spot where Youtube gets ad revenue and so does the link bait site and so does the Youtuber (sometimes), so everyone kind of feels like they are winning.
Honestly, don't know if we can fix this without a serious look at both copyright and people like Youtube having clear policies on activities like embedding. I'm honestly not clear about the end result of even these changes.
KONY2012!! or what was it, again? ...
2 write a web crawler in .net that can compare images and other works for what is registered.
3 Send ominous and legally threatening letters to owners of websites to pay up or else.
4 Take a cut off the top.
I feel dirty just putting that into print
Such a cop out.
Then more recently it's on all these prime time shows... Biggest Loser and the like.
Yes it's annoying and awful but it's just human nature to do anything possible to make as much money as you can. Every system we participate in is driven mostly by those looking to game it as much as is legally possible, and sometimes even more. Never going to stop that or even slow it down.
I really hope someone would sue these sites for stealing and recycling content all over again.
Music RT @HuffingtonPost Don't forget the most important part of your Super Bowl party (hint: it's not beer or wings) http://huff.to/1fjVSlK
21,500; also 20,000 sausages RT @HuffingtonPost: You'll never guess how many hot dogs will be made at this year's Super Bowl venue
Would love to build a browser extension that identifies this kind of clickbait link, spiders the linked article for you, does a bit of smart NLP on the content to identify core themes, and then automatically generates these huffpospoiler-style tl;dr's....
What would be interesting would be finding some way of knowing how many readers of the article then opened a new tab and searched for "The 26 Craziest Crimes That Involve A Taco Bell"... (and worse still, who else copied the fact every word is capitalised...)
What does it cost to save the life of a child? The answer may surprise you: http://b-gat.es/1jUl4n6 pic.twitter.com/li1vWImJV7via: @BillGates
I kind of expect crap like this from no-name startup news/advertising sites like these but it's really disappointing when you see it from reputable (or should I say formerly reputable) sites like CNN.
And I thought I have a bit of fun with your recent blog titles:
I hate ads more than anything, it ruined the internet.
Are all of our news media outlets similar to the National Enquirer?
I can't get them to stop.
My Facebook profile says "I will never install your Facebook app. Ever. Stop sending me your crap."
I'm in Indiana, we have unpredictable weather. But I noticed one day when they were talking about tornadoes *in my neighborhood* that conditions were more of a "severe clear" nature and realized that even the weather channel was doing it. "Don't change the channel or even look away because you'll probably die!!"
I just don't understand why thinking people get suckered into this.
Or how I can make them stop.
Stackoverflow faced similar issues for a while: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/01/trouble-in-the-house-of-google.html
I am a Photographer, if I photograph any Copyrighted item such as a Marble Statue, an Album Cover, a Photograph, a piece of Jewelery, or a page of Calligraphy without the Copyright Owners Permission-- I would be guilty of Copyright Infringement even though the copy I made is in a different medium (photograph versus: Marble, cardboard, photo-paper, metal/stone, & paper).
Your original BLOG would commonly be interpreted as written words, the narration, a spoken version of those very same written words; different media, but again same Copyright Infringement.
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But for years, Google and Facebook's revenues have been artificially inflated by this link bait trash and the accompanying adverts, and this is increasing exponentially, so can't see them wanting to actually stop it.
Think it will become increasingly apparent that most of the Internets advertising revenues are only a little better than a ponzi scheme.