Clickbait. Beneath porn and angry people who can’t spell, it’s the most common thing on the internet. And yet, we don’t seem to know too much about it. What you’re reading is my attempt to educate you on the matter. So in order to give you a proper rundown on the matter, allow me to break it down into simple questions. Who, what, where, when and why. Let’s knock the easy ones out first.

What: Clickbait is any article with an overly alluring and juicy title that ends up being a garbage b.s. article.

Where:  The internet, ya dummy.

When: 24/7/365. Evil never sleeps.

Who: Well there are tons of ‘companies’ that produce these articles by the hundreds daily. Those in the know call these Content Mills. The individuals in charge of these monstrosities are mainly struggling writers just trying to feed themselves. A rather interesting article by Cracked provides an inside look to the lives of one such writer. (Click here to read) The writer talks about having to churn out articles at rates of 3 an hour, since they’re getting paid like, $5 an article. And they are given their article topics and do all they’re research based on like one source from a google search and no references or fact checks, slapping a luring title on it and pressing submit. Lying was permitted, overlooked, almost encouraged. All they want is people to click on the article. They are putting in the kind of work that you put together the class period before something is due. By the hundreds. Every day. It’s like a sweatshop for poor writing.

Why: Money. That is it. Plain and simple, up and down. They want cash. And they get it by you clicking on their “article”. And how is that? Ads. Duh, right? Have you ever accidentally clicked on clickbait? Most of us have, and the giveaway is all the god forsaken ads. Clickbait articles have pop-up ads, sidebar ads, overhead ads, picture ads, all of the above, all at once. See, companies pay to have their ads on websites, and most of the time, they pay per click or per view. Like let’s just say toyota sponsored African Bean Bags. I put Toyota ads on my articles and they pay me at a rate per view. Maybe 25 cents per view. So if I get 40 views, Toyota gives me $10. I like money so I try to make more of it. Naturally I’d try to get a lot of views. But what if I can’t do that? What if I can only pull 10 views? That’s $2.50. I can’t live off $2.50. What do I do now? Well if I can’t get a lot views, I’ll just get the most of what I have. So I start putting more ads on my page. Each one paying me 25 cents a view. Okay, I’m up to 10 ads on my page. That’s now $2.50 per view. What if put out like 5 articles with all those ads? Now, I’m still at 10 views an article, but I’m reeling in $125. And why stop at 5 articles? Why not 10? 20? 50?

And that is where clickbait comes from. An endless landfill of dumpster-fire articles shamelessly written for a little cash. Hopefully you understand a little better just what Clickbait is. Remember, if the title is too good to be true, and you’ve never heard of the source, don’t waste your time. Stay safe out there.