The grand master of that had been (and maybe still is) Nick Denton. He founded his digital gossip tabloid Gawker on the platform of maxing traffic. That includes everything from page views to comments.
Well, when Gawker aired the online video of Hulk Hogan having sex with a friend's wife, it got the expected outcome: high traffic.
But it also got itself in the lawsuit "Hogan v. Gawker." The Florida jury awarded Hogan $140 million. That litigation was funded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
The question is: Can Thiel's initiative put in play the end of clickbait? Will other social media sites now put the law, journalistic ethics, and even good taste above the chase after traffic?
The New York Times looks at clickbait through the lens of Thiel's smackdown on Gawker.
The matter is not simple, though. After all, the numbers to provide evidence of readership and engagement (low bounce rate) are needed to attract monetary support. That might take the form of advertising, (including sponsored content) and/or subscriptions.
Being in the digital media business is not easy. Everyday we read of closings, as in some of Yahoo's publications, and layoffs, as at The New York Times itself. Owners and managers have to be clever. Perhaps, though, Denton was too clever by far.
The New York Post reports that cash-challenged Gawker founder Nick Denton is putting his SoHo apartment up for rent. The cost is $15,000 a month. Here is the coverage.