You may consider the headline of this article to be clickbait. But it isn’t, honestly. While it IS designed to pique your interest, it also gives an accurate picture of the content of the article. And all without employing any of the tricks of the trade that are taking over the Internet. Tricks such as the five listed below…
Vague Ambiguous Hyperbole!
OK, so that last sentence was clickbait. We apologize. But it was included to show how subtle the differences are between a clever headline designed to grab your attention and a deceptive headline designed to trick readers into clicking through to satisfy their innate curiosities.
We explored the subject of clickbait in last week’s We Ask You discussion, enquiring, What Is The Worst Clickbait You Have Ever Seen? We were hoping to get specific examples of clickbait headlines used across the Web, but we ended up with examples of generic clickbait headlines that are guaranteed to annoy you whenever and wherever you see them.
Headlines such as these:
- The Hot New Phone Everybody Is Talking About
- You Won’t Believe What Happened Next
- Watch This Video To Discover The True Meaning Of Life
- See How One Man Made $$$ In His Bedroom
- Health Insurance Companies HATE This New Trick
There were plenty of other suggestions made during the discussion but these stand out as obvious and undeniable examples of the worst kinds of clickbait. They all share that same magic formula of vague hyperbole that almost always results in disappointment.
For more examples of classic clickbait check out Clickhole from The Onion. If Clickhole doesn’t teach you how to recognize and avoid clickbait then nothing will. And we really do all need to work together to kill this turgid trend.
Comment Of The Week
We received a lot of great comments, including those from Rob B, xgod, and Swaminathan Venkatesh. Comment Of The Week goes to Peter F, who won with this comment:
If something seems to good to be true it usually is. These adverts with the “See how one man made $$$’s in his back room” or “Health insurance companies HATE this new trick” or anything with a Kardashian on it are a real turn off. (To this day I do not know what a kardashian is).
Growing up with computers I was always told to keep an eye out and stay away from banner adverts as they could be malicious.
I’ll admit I have caught myself hovering the mouse over an article and very nearly pressing the link before stopping myself for being so stupid.
I’m sure I’m missing out on some very important information or life changing “secret” but they all read like pyramid schemes and scams to me.
Maybe I’m super cynical, but every one of these adverts seem like a scam with nothing viruses behind to ruin my day.
We chose this comment because it opened with one of those proverbs as true today as the day they were penned, then pinpointed two really egregious clickbait headlines, before bringing Kim Kardashian into the conversation for no apparent reason. This is a rare combination that deserves to be applauded.
We Ask You is a weekly column in which you have your say about a particular subject. We ask you a question each week, with the results compiled and compressed into a follow-up article the following week. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.