NYT Editors Reckless with Title-bait?




I had planned on giving my thoughts on Google’s acquisition of Jaiku and rebuking The New York Times suggestion that the service could be “the harbinger of a new, truly interconnected world.”

I was going to point you to the fact that many of Google’s acquisitions never really go anywhere, especially in the mobile space–dodgeball anyone?

Then, I went back the NYT headline: “Google’s Purchase of Jaiku Raises New Privacy Issues.”

Wait, did I just read the wrong story? I don’t recall seeing any mention of Jaiku raising privacy concerns. The entire article looks at how Jaiku’s mobile application could help us all better connect with each other, blah, blah, blah.

Then I found the small reference to privacy…

All this opens serious questions about privacy, and about whether people are prepared to be constantly traceable, even if only by friends. Mr. Koponen said Jaiku was aware of this and was working hard to allow users to limit the information they share, without making the service too complicated.

Almost 600 words of praise for Jaiku and less than 50 suggesting privacy issues. How does that warrant a headline about privacy issues? I’ll tell you how, the NYT has woken up to the power of title-bait and knows that the words “Google” and “privacy” will generate a lot of clicks.

Keep that in mind the next time you read a mainstream media channel criticizing bloggers for being sensational! ;-)

  • http://www.watersubject.com Water Portal

    I thought Michael of Techcrunch was only one having problems with mainstream media:D

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    Andy I think the Times had been in on the entire SEO thing for awhile now. They’ve cloaked pages and are now making more content available in front of the login wall.

    They recently added more social features and didn’t they publish a post not long ago with the title “This title written for search engines” or something to that effect.

    I think the Times is realizing ahead of others that they need to embrace things online, including seo, if they hope to compete in the future.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Steven – yeah, here’s the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/weekinreview/09lohr.html?pagewanted=all

    They acquired About.com and got Marshall Simmonds along with it. He’s helped them with their SEO over the past months but this is the first clear sign they chose SEO over content for their headline.

  • http://www.terryhoward.net/ Terry Howard

    Well isn’t the news industry the original link baiters? What is “Is their a killer lurking in your cupboard? Tune in tonight to find out what is killing your children! Only on News Channel 8!” if not link bait!

    I caught a local news station’s website doing almost exactly what you mention. They had an article about how the police used MySpace posts and instant message logs to determine a suspect in a murder. Despite the article focus being on the police use of technology to catch criminals and having no mention of email itself, the headline was “Could an Email Get You Killed?” I had to read the article a couple times because I thought surely I missed something. Here’s the article, read it for yourself: http://www.cfnews13.com/News/Local/2007/9/26/could_an_email_get_you_killed.html