Crunchbait … or How to Be a Sucker on the Internet

It’s hard to imagine that if you’ve been involved in internet marketing for any length of time, that you aren’t familiar with the concept of linkbait. Since most of you are part of the Generation X/Generation Y crowd, and supposedly aren’t easily fooled by “the media”, it’s inconceivable that so many of you took the bait and fell the latest bit of crunchbait aka “the time has come to regulate SEO” (yea I no-followed that)

First off linkbait isn’t in and of itself bad, it serves a purpose that every internet marketer should be aware of (getting links and getting traffic) and have in their toolbox. However that’s the very reason this is all so disappointing. You are supposed to have some level of expertise in this area, yet many of you feel for it, hook line and sinker. To make an analogy it’s like Bernie Madoff swindling people out of their money and then losing it to a 3 card monty dealer.

Do I know for a fact that Techcrunch has traffic quotas, or page view bonuses like Gawker media just re-instituted … no. I do know that Techcrunch dropped federated media and is now running it’s own network. I also know that techcrunch engages in the ethically debatable action of generating “extra” page views. Think I’m making that up look at the homepage and see this neat little bit of javascript that causes the homepage to reload periodically:

<body id="techcrunch" onLoad="setTimeout('location.reload(true)',1200000);">

You could make the argument that it’s a usability function that refreshes the page so people who are on techcrunch all day are exposed to new stories. However I’d tell you if techcrunch users are too stupid to figure out how to hit the refresh button by themselves they are idiots.

Now if you cover SEO news, then carry on, your coverage of this story is fully warranted. However if you’re not in that group, and you wasted any more than 5 minutes of your day on it, you need to get your priorities in order. When something like this comes up, here’s what you need to think about:

  • Is getting involved going to help me make money today or in the future?
  • Is getting involved going to help me make affiliate sales or land paying clients today or in the near term future?
  • Is this a field I am an acknowledged expert in, and my non participation would be detrimental to my expert status?
  • Is getting involved going to secure me any new links?
  • Is getting involved going to bring me any significant traffic?

Unless you can answer yes to one or more of those questions, it’s simply not worth your time getting involved.

Did I not break my own rules by spending more than 5 minutes writing this blog post … yep you got me … but my goal here is hopefully to teach you something (some people say I have a high school teacher complex). If putting your time into something isn’t going to put money in your bank account, keep money flowing into your bank account, get you something of non monetary value that is hard to otherwise secure, or teach you something, it’s probably not worth wasting your “work time” on.
photo credit: norwichnuts

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