So, I didn’t actually start a clickbait website. Shocking, isn’t it? Anyway, this is how a lot of sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy get their delicious click money. You didn’t think their CEO’s drive around in expensive cars because of sound and ethical practices? No, they are filthy rich from luring people into reading about Mac and Cheese bites from McDonalds to baking your face which *SPOILER ALERT* isn’t sticking your face in an oven until you resemble Pizza the Hutt from Spaceballs. For the purpose of this article I actually watched the video on the “face baking” page and it’s literally just 4 minutes of women putting on make up. Now, for those “in the know” it apparently refers to a specific make up technique that helps make up stay on longer or some shit, I don’t care. However, how many people would know this? It’s clearly an attempt at making a ridiculous sounding link to get people to click on it. I just know that there were hundreds of people sitting with a skeptical look on their face, feet bound in duct tape because they don’t trust shoes, thinking to themselves, “now surely they can’t really be proposing we put our face in the oven?” and then clicking on the link.
What makes clickbait more insidious to me than just being a glorified middle finger when you click on it is how self aware it is. To give you an example I was reading an article and noticed an ad for an article called something like “10 Space Facts” – now, I absolutely love space and this piqued my interest. It didn’t sound particularly clickbait like and I am always open to learning new things so I thought I would give it a go. That was until I found myself staring at something that makes my stomach drop every time I see it: multiple page articles. You know, you have to click on a “NEXT” link to read the next sentence. It’s a ploy that clickbait manufacturers employ in order to maximise their clicks and ad revenue. The more times you click through to the ad of for Justin Bieber armpit scented cologne the more money the content creator makes. The reason I say this is self aware is because they know what they’re doing. This isn’t some kind of radical attempt at making a new content delivery system where the intention is to keep you on the edge of your seat, no, it’s about money and the way they flood the pages with ads means they know what they’re doing and they’re unashamed.
So, I got to thinking. How hard would it be to make my own clickbait website? I mean, the business model has already been tried and tested. You just need an angle. What would mine be? Well, first we need to get started with a name:
Here were the finalists for the name:
So, with this one I said to myself, “why not just be honest?” and came up with Ad Revenue Machine. The way I see it, people who are willing to click on YOU MIGHT BE CLEANING YOUR PENIS WRONG are probably willing to overlook the name of the site it is hosted on. I mean, how hard is it to clean your penis? What are you a 4 year old and you’re using the internet for hygiene tips? I think you’ve got bigger problems than a filthy cock.
With “What’sHappening” I wondered about what would actually comprise a clickbait website name. Buzzfeed, on top of sounding like it was invented by a marketing guru from the early 90’s, is a stupid name. However, it is effective in that it incorporates “buzz” to inform of its relevant nature and “feed” in that it provides a neverending conveyer belt of muconeum to feed you. Don’t google muconeum by the way. Anyway, I just took the name of a sitcom from the 70’s and turned it into a website name. I need to get used to recycling old, outdated and stale material and thought this would be a good situation to practice.
I personally feel like LumpyHairyGrowth.com could be a breakout hit. I mean, it combines the appeal of the cancer that is clickbait with the kind of attractive name that you’d find listed in a clickbait article named something like 10 WORST DISEASES YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW CLICK ON THIS OR YOUR CLITORIS WILL FALL OFF.
I don’t know about this one. I just kind of threw to words together that vaguely rhyme.
So we have our finalists. I like them all equally but I decided to go with What’sHappening because it at least sounds similar to the other sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy.
What now? Well, now I needed to come up with some clickbait worthy articles. Here’s the shortlist:
- THIS MAN THOUGHT HE WOULD NEVER STOP UNCONTROLLABLY URINATING…UNTIL THIS AMAZING THING HAPPENED!
- 10 REASONS GETTING PUNCHED BY A HOMELESS MAN NEEDS TO BE
PART OF YOUR DAY!
- WHAT KIND OF CARROT ARE YOU?
- REMEMBER NINTENDOS AND SEEGAS? YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS HIDDEN IMAGE
FOUND INSIDE OLD GAMES!
That was a good start. However, something was missing. I needed some kind of video content as well. You know, it’s not a clickbait website unless you feature thumbnails of scantily clad women doing push ups and call the video WHAT SHE DOES WILL BLOW YOUR MIND…AND YOUR ERECT PENIS!
However, because I don’t have a team yet I’ll just steal video content and say it’s original because that’s what Buzzfeed does all of the time anyway.
There we go. Nice. Stolen content…I mean, uh, original content. Lots of clickbait articles with ridiculous headlines, a nebulous and vaguely industry sounding name. I think we’re onto a winner here folks.
There we go. Now, I have my own clickbait website. All I need to do is sit back and wait for the ad revenue to fall into my lap while I slap my secretary because she brought me the wrong coffee. Life has never been sweeter for the worst kind of capitalist imaginable.