So I found this article interesting and is a great "headline culture" 101. More interestingly is that the sole point of the post is to promote sharethrough - a native advertising service.
For those who don't know, native advertising is "the future" and the name for those scummy ads that don't look like ads. They look exactly like the content existing on the page. The tweets with the small "ad" label. The articles on gawker that are a slightly different background color. Etc. "The advertiser's intent is to make the paid advertising feel less intrusive and thus increase the likelihood users will click on it" Blah blah blah.
There are two links in the article to sharethrough as well as a comment (and another link):
Even more interestingly, he makes this point:
And what is native ads? Not losing the trust of your audience when I accidentally click an article title that is sneakily labeled as an ad in a way I won't notice? That's not losing my trust?
This, my friends, is the future of marketing and advertising. Not just the services like sharethrough - but the articles like this that promote those companies through places like medium.
I actually think this is really really worth watching:
Hubski breaks this. We dive deeper. We actually engage. We don't swipe past each other. Are we doomed because of this? Who knows. I certainly hope not.
There are a large number of restaurants in the US that source their entire menus from the same food distributor. These businesses are not actual restaurants. They don't make the food, and they don't think about how to make their mash potatoes taste better. Their goal is to get you to eat the food items with the highest profit margin. They crunch the numbers, look at their data, then optimize the menu. They are in the business of selling a restaurant experience. Upworthy is not in the business of content. It is in the content consumption business. Aside from providing a general theme (like the kitschy items hanging on the wall at TGIFridays), Upworthy is in the business of getting content consumed quickly. They crunch the numbers, look at the data, then optimize the menu.
The author makes a mistake in assuming that headlines are going to result in a loss of trust. That can't happen for sites like Upworthy. Deep down, people know that jalapeno popper was not cooked from scratch in the kitchen. The real danger is that genuine publishers forget what business they are in and thus enter competition with Upworthy when they never needed to.
EDIT: BTW, have you noticed how Medium started putting 'x minute read' in the upper right? Medium competes with Upworthy.