The Art Of Clickbait
Bleacher Report is one of the most popular websites for information and news on the topic of sports. Unfortunately, like all websites, Bleacher Report has problems of its own that cause the company from expanding in certain aspects. For instance, certain things that Bleacher Report does just does not makes sense to readers and those that follow them in their everyday life. Fortunately, more things that Bleacher Report does is beneficial to their own survival rather than hurts them. However, one aspects that Bleacher Report should tone down on is their art of clickbait. With that being said, Bleacher Report has an audience of its own to make clickbait titles for. I believe that clickbait is used effectively by certain websites, however, not by all. Bleacher Report is one of those websites where it is used incorrectly.
In the time of “yellow journalism,” the headlines that people read were in newspapers for everybody to get a copy and read the same thing. Bleacher Report’s goal is to entertain their audience of sports fans. Their clickbait titles are all relative to sporting incidents that have taken place recently so that they can draw the attention of their target audience. Articles from Bleacher Report’s website have titles such as, “Beef Alert! Hawks Vs. Angry Heat Fans” and “Once Banned For Sex, NFL Prospect Is Finally Free.”
The thing that Bleacher Report likes to do is that the clickbait title that they use is not the actual title of the article itself. As an example, when you click on the article titled, “Beef Alert! Hawks Vs. Angry Heat Fans,” it brings up the article normally. However, the title is changed into a more reasonable title that actually explains what is going on such as, “HAWKS’ TWITTER MOCKS ANGRY HEAT FANS AFTER ATLANTA LOSS COSTS MIAMI PLAYOFF BID.”
The same thing with the article with the title of, “Once Banned For Sex, NFL Prospect Is Finally Free.” When you click on that headline, it takes you to an article with the title of, “AFTER 5 YEARS OF BYU AND ITS HONOR CODE, JAMAAL WILLIAMS IS FREE. WHAT NOW?” In this title, there is nothing written about sex whatsoever. If this was the real title to the article at hand and not the clickbait title that was used, less people would have clicked on it. That is the art of clickbait and Bleacher Report uses it to perfection. Unfortunately, some people love clickbait while others hate it. Depending on how over the top and often the clickbait is being used, depends on how successful the company using it will end up being.
“(On the internet), content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page” is clickbait. Some people love clickbait. It excites them, draws their attention, and makes them click on whatever the article headline may be. I personally do not mind the art of clickbait if it is used correctly. However, when clickbait is being used in 1 out of 3 articles it can get pretty annoying and old to the point that you do not want to even click on it anymore. The idea of clickbait has been going on since the nineteenth century. Back in the day people called this form of journalism, “yellow journalism.” In fact, one of the earliest and most popular forms of click baiting or yellow journalism was in a magazine called the New York World.
Ironically, the magazine was ran by James Pulitzer. This is ironic due to the fact that the Pulitzer Prize was named after him which is one of the highest honors a journalist can receive even though Pulitzer was known for his clickbaiting journalism. The main cartoon that people read was called the “Adventures of the Yellow Kid.” As a result, journalists back in the day referred to this time of journalism now as “Yellow Kid Journalism” due to the popularity of this certain newspaper cartoon. The reason why this was considered such a big deal then was because people were buy the New York World to read these cartoons instead of actually looking at the news. Actual headlines from 1913 in The World were articles such as, “King Victor Shielded By His Queen From Assassin’s Bullets,” “Crowd Tries to Kill Would-Be Murderer,” and “Coffyn Carries Passenger in Air Trip About the Bay.” Of course, when we take a look at the way that Bleacher Report uses clickbait, we can see how the times have changed based on the article titles. Bleacher Report will be more social media based and not necessarily in a newspaper format.
As stated previously, click bait can be very effective if it is used properly. For example, one of Bleacher Report’s rival websites goes by the name of Deadspin. If Deadspin can ever take a shot at Bleacher Report, they do so immediately. That is exactly what (former) Bleacher Report writer Tom Schreier did. His article that he used went by the title of, “Top 200 Ways Bleacher Report Screwed Me Over.” This was the perfect title for his article. It turns out that Bleacher Report did in fact screw him over. Tom worked for Bleacher Report for years and was given a check for $200 his whole internship. Interestingly enough, Tom took his post and put it on the Deadspin website. By doing this, Tom Schreier gave Bleacher Report one last big slap in the face.
Another way that clickbait is used well and effectively is on Buzzfeed.com. The reason why clickbait is effective on Buzzfeed and not all the time on Bleacher Report is due to the professionalism of both websites. Bleacher Report is a world renowned website that is held to a respectively high standard and should be held accountable to that standard at all times. Bleacher Report should not be using clickbait titles often at all in order to get there articles clicked on. However, a website like Buzzfeed can easily get away with these types of article. In fact, this is exactly what makes Buzzfeed so successful. In fact, on May 2nd, 2017 at 2:28 AM, if you would have taken a look at Buzzfeed’s home screen, this is what you see. As you take a look, all of the articles have clickbait titles.
For example, you have, “Apparently There’s A Duck With A Knife In Its Head Wandering Around South Australia And People Are Furious,” “41 Things That’ll Annoy Almost Everyone Who’s Ever Worked In Retail,” and to top it off (no pun intended) you have “Pick A Penisey Food And We’ll Tell You A Penisey Fact!” You may be thinking that these titles are ridiculous but for Buzzfeed, this is what readers want to see. This is the main reason that they even get on Buzzfeed. As a result, these funny, interesting, and click-baity titles are what gives the Buzzfeed audience the laughs that they want to see.
However, these types of articles do not work well on Bleacher Report because the audiences are completely different. Bleacher Report is a more formal website, therefore it is held to a higher standard. The audience of Bleacher Report does not want to know, What type of Pokemon are you?” Instead, they want cold hard facts of the situation that they are searching for.
In conclusion, the art of clickbait has been around for over a century. It has just been referred to by a different name. The first main type of clickbait was considered to be “yellow journalism” which was introduced in the early 1900’s. As technology changed, it has been a big part in the social media era for major companies. We then noticed how Bleacher Report uses clickbait as a strategy to get people to click on the links.
However, as a Bleacher Report audience member, if I am going on Bleacher Report to find out information about a sports article or news story, I want the cold hard facts. As a member, I do not want to be “clickbaited” because I know how professional Bleacher Report is and should be. Fortunately, for certain websites, such as Deadspin and Buzzfeed, these types of articles are very popular. I am not saying that they are unprofessional but these websites are more laid back and their target audience is a lot different than that of Bleacher Report. These are reasons why clickbait is effective for some, yet ineffective for others.