Clickbait backlash and backlash-backlash

Click-bait headlines have become more and more prevalent recently. My Facebook feed is full of them for the simple reason that they work. People click on them because they promise something amazing, yet they usually under-deliver.

I'm tired of them because when I do click on them, against my better judgement, I feel dirty and let-down afterwards. Great headline but usually a mediocre article.

Thankfully, since May 2014, there has been a new Twitter account to help you out. @savedyouaclick clicks on click-bait so that you don't have to. It's a great joke and a useful light-hearted Twitter feed.

Unfortunately, Buzzfeed (the cheek of it!) came out against the trend of saving-you-a-click in an article at the start of August. In my eyes, Buzzfeed is one of the worst offenders of the click-bait craze so it seems like they've got a vested interest in trying to end this practice.

Then yesterday Nilay Patel at the Verge, called out Saved You a Click for stealing "an experience". The article from Nilay seems to be a bit of an over-reaction. 

He's probably right in that an experience has been "stolen", or at least lessened. But only a little. While most articles with click-bait headlines usually don't deliver a worthwhile article, the Vox article in question is worth much more than the headline. But, saying that an experience stolen is a bit of an exaggeration.

This is an article about The Sopranos, a TV series that finished seven years ago. And it has asked the series creator whether the main character died at the end. Considering that remaking the series is very unlikely, I don't think it really matters if Tony Soprano died or not, although I never watched the series so maybe I'm wrong there. 

If you're interested in The Sopranos, the article will be worth reading whether you've had the big reveal spoiled or not.

The Verge and Vox are sister publications owned by Vox Media. Both write headlines in the style of click-bait that try try draw you in to the content. I don't tend to lump them in with click-bait sites because the content is often better than pure click-bait, but sometimes it isn't. 

The Verge is full of articles like this one about Instagram's Hyperlapse app that promise to tell you "Everything you wanted to know about how Instagram's Hyperlapse app works, and more". Except when you click through, it's just a single paragraph and a link to an in-depth article on Instagram Engineering's blog. I definitely could've been saved a click there! Fortunately someone has now created @savedYouAVerge.

If you're going to write annoying click-bait headlines, click are going to be saved. And that's a service we can all use.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Nilay stole your experience by giving away the big surprise too.