Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:47 pm

<2018 “The stories were tawdry, and the news coverage sometimes veered toward clickbait, but there were important questions hiding beneath the sheets.”—New York Times, in article titled ‘Trump’s Tawdry Tabloid Sagas Reveal Weightier Themes,’ 9 December>
clickbait noun:

1) (Internet marketing, derogatory) Website content that is aimed at generating advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs; such headlines.

2) A sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article on another web page.

3) Online material (such as headlines) designed to make readers want to click on hyperlinks especially when the links lead to content of dubious value or interest.

4) Attention-grabbing headlines used for Web content to lure readers into clicking on normally uninteresting content. Many websites use clickbait as a mechanism to gain popularity via higher click-through rates. Clickbait is characterized by a highly enticing headline with a hyperlink that, when clicked, reveals a website that has content that is not nearly as interesting as the headline. Clickbait is therefore considered to be a strategy to increase the number of views to a particular Web page.

Etymology: 1990’s from click (on a computer mouse) + bait

(Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, Wiktionary,, and

The following quotes are from archived sources:
<2011 “Creating clickbait junk on the Internet didn’t start in a big way. . . . They choose topics people are searching for on the Internet, pay a “journalist” a tiny amount to write something–anything–about it, then slap it on the Web so people will click on it.”—Chicago Tribune (Illinois), 3 January, page 33>

<2014 “The unfaltering availability of clickbait is rivaled only by the tantalizing pull of its trivial vagaries: ‘A Talking Parrot Met A Stuffed Rabbit – You’ll Never Believe What The Parrot Did Next!’”—Boston Globe, 22 June, page N20>

<2016 “Everyone’s definition of clickbait is a little different. Here’s how The Washington Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, described it to New York Magazine:

‘The way I would define it is, it has a headline that tries to trick you to read the story and when you get to the story there’s nothing of any substance.’”—Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois), 3 July>

<2018 “Few conditions bare a greater burden, and it’s easy for people with diabetes to feel overwhelmed. There is no shortage of click-bait articles and promises of a quick fix that tempt the vulnerable and leads to more frustration.”—Fort Collins Coloradoan (Fort Collins, Colorado), 9 December, page A10>

Ken Greenwald – January 27, 2019

Re: clickbait

Post by trolley » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:44 pm

Gawd! I'm such a sucker for this stuff. My daughter always gives me a hard time about it, but I often just can't resist. I know it leads nowhere, but just in case...

Re: clickbait

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:50 pm

Ken, I was unable to resist the lure of the title you chose for this thread. :D

Re: clickbait

Post by trolley » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:00 am

Oh no! I'm the exact species he's phishing for.

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