Clicks, or page views, have always been vital to the function of all websites. This has led to clickbait, articles with titles meant to entice clicks, while the articles themselves often lack meaningful content. In many of these cases, the titles of the articles can be deeply misleading. Therefore while these practices have proved effective at gaining clicks, they have become highly controversial, and many consumers have become embittered towards these deceptive practices.
The controversy itself is worth discussing. There is a general feeling that online content creators have a duty to be intellectually honest. Regardless of one’s personal opinion on this issue, the effects of this sentiment are undeniable. There has been a strong backlash against articles designed to generate clicks. Readers are more interested in accurate, trustworthy information rather than deceptive behavior designed to milk them for profit.
With the rise of the phrase, “fake news,” skepticism regarding internet content has increased. Accusations of being a clickbait website can cause real harm to a brand, more so even than accusations of bias. There may even come a time when you could be charged with a crime if you post something that isn’t factual or you have evidence that isn’t initially turned over the proper authorities before posting. According to Lori S. Murray, “a criminal charge for a misdemeanor or felony offense means you are facing the loss of freedom, extensive fines and permanent damage to your reputation and criminal record.” You don’t want that, so be sure that you have the correct information before posting something.
The Value of Facts
While the temptation to utilize clickbait in order to gain greater profit is omnipresent, it has become increasingly important to provide accurate content. A lack of accurate content seriously erodes trust. There has also increasingly been a backlash against clickbait. Readers are intelligent people who are now, more than ever, capable of identifying clickbait. Readers are far less inclined to trust sources that deal in clickbait, as clickbait gives readers the feeling that they are being taken advantage of. Writing strictly informatively and sticking closing to the facts allows one to provide accurate content that is simultaneously interesting and honest.
The alternative to clickbait articles is to build a rapport with readers. Gaining a reputation for publishing reliable and engaging content builds positive brand awareness. It also has the advantage of creating a core loyal following that serve as advocates.
The bottom line is that use of clickbait tactics will inevitably lead to a loss of faith in the honesty of an institution. A lack of trust can do serious damage to your reputation. In the modern social climate, trust plays a crucial role in the consumer experience. People always prefer to interact with brands they trust. Therefore, clickbait is simply not worth the controversy.