As a webmaster and writer I do a lot of research on other sites. Almost everyday on Kotaku, IGN, Gamespot, and Polygon’s Facebook pages I see their ignorant followers making false claims of clickbait. I myself have been called out for spamming clickbait under false claims a few times.

Its become blatantly obvious that the majority of people pointing the clickbait finger at websites have no idea what it really means. Its becoming a more confused term then #hashtag.

I don’t think most people calling people out for clickbaiting understand how strong of a word it is to a webmaster or writer. Serious writers usually work for hours a day to create the content we enjoy for free. When some troll comes along and falsely accuses a contributor of spamming clickbait its demoralizing. Its like a white guy calling a black guy the N word.

Clickbait in a nutshell is when a website uses bogus headlines or images to lure people to their site under false pretenses. Usually the point is to get you onto their site to try to sell or advertise something.

Clickbait - #GTUSA 2

Before I go any further I’d like to talk about how much most websites are making off of advertising. Back in the day websites used to make a killing off of ads. Now CMS (content management system) have made it simple to create a website, and there are multi-millions on the internet.

Most banner ads pay on the CPC (cost per click) method. This means to make anything someone has to click on an ad. Out of every thousand impressions very few of them click on any ads at all. We’ve gotten so used to website ads we’ve developed what is called “Ad Blindness.” Most ad networks pay $0.05 or under per click.

Another factor to consider I don’t think most people realize is that there are many ad networks. Almost anyone can join up with AdSense or their competitors who pay crap rates. To join a quality ad network like Taboola you have to be getting over 500k impressions a month. Out of all the websites currently in operation a very low percentage are getting that much traffic.

In other words, mostly only big companies are really making any money from banner ads. For most of us it takes thousands of impressions to make a dollar. Most mid to small sites aren’t even making enough from web ads to pay for our server costs.

I’ll get to the point of explaining how much ad networks pay in a minute. I’m trying to paint a clear picture that most mid to small sites not only aren’t making crap off of banner ads, many end up paying for server costs, themes, maintenance, and other variables.

Clickbait - #GTUSA 3

Its not easy now to make money from a website. For many of us its a passion. We create things to contribute to our favorite hobbies because we love to. Unless a small website is selling a product, has a private sponsor, are using hacks, etc, they probably are lucky to make enough to pay monthly for a decent server.

So some webmasters have become desperate. Clickbait is a real thing people try. The public isn’t completely overall stupid. We caught onto it fast. We’ve become aware of it, and are more cautious about what we click on now. Basically as the term has become trendy to ignorantly use, the method is dying out. Not only does it not make much for the clickbaiter, but it fry’s a sites standing.

I see people point the clickbait finger the most on Facebook groups. I was unknowingly sharing our posts in a retro group without realizing they had a no self promoting rule. One of the admins that obviously doesn’t understand the rules of the group he runs claimed if you are making revenue on a website from banner ads then all of your posts are clickbait. A few people even backed that up. I replied – That would mean almost every website on the internet is a bait site.

I run many GT USA groups on Facebook, and help several friends with theirs. A very small percentage of posts being shared are actually clickbait. 9 times out of 10 clickbait posts are obvious to spot out for those of us with common sense. Facebook also alerts the group admins on every post they think might be spammy.

A website article should contain something of value to its reader. Just because a post is short, doesn’t make it spam. If it has something someone will value, then it is legit. If the post has no value, and only exist to lure you in to make money, then its clickbait.

Clickbait - #GTUSA 4

I’ve only been accused of this a few times, but I’ve stood up for webmasters being publicly bashed by ignorant trolls many times, when all they are trying to do is contribute to the online gaming community. When someone accuses a webmaster of this it gives bad feeling. Makes me feel really underappreciated.

Like I previously stated, if not used correctly clickbait can be a strong word. If you falsely accuse somebody of this its makes you an ignorant troll. Unless you moderate a page or group, the proper thing to do if you think you’ve spotted a case of CB is to alert an admin. You are not the internet police! You are not preforming a public service by wiping all of the clickbaters off of the face of the internet. Most times people throwing the CB word around are just bringing negativity to other peoples groups or pages.

Sorry this isn’t my best composed article. I’m short on time today and this rant went on much longer than expected. I noticed a young guy being wrongly bashed in a group this morning, and this topic is on my mind. I think a lot of people throwing this term around don’t realize they are trolling.

Hopefully this opinion piece helps enlighten some of you unknowing trolls. If you see somebody being falsely accused please stand up for them. One time I was standing up for myself against around 5 guys who were friends on this matter. I was feeling really unappreciated because I had been a member of the group for a long time. One guy stood up for me, and it felt like my faith was restored in humanity. That’s a little drastic, but I think you get what I mean. Most webmasters and writers work really hard at this. Sometimes just one person showing appreciation can feel so good. Let me tell you from experience, running a website is much harder than it appears. I love it and don’t need a pat on the back. But it does feel good when someone simply says “Good Job.”

I appreciate you reading this article even if you don’t appreciate me writing it from my heart. I wrote this for you. Yes, specifically you if you read it. I hope it helps clarify your perspective on this matter. Thanks for reading, please comment below.

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