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You Asked for It, so Here It Is: 9 More Clickbait Headline Secrets Revealed

David Pogue
Tech Critic
Yahoo Tech

A couple of months ago, Facebook announced that its algorithms would attempt to reduce the number of clickbait headlines in its News Feed — teaser headlines foisted upon us by writers who will do anything to make you click. When you see how underwhelming the actual story is, you feel used.

Well, guess what? Facebook is as full of clickbait as ever.

In fact, something really strange has started happening. Nowadays, the headlines don’t just tease you. They’re starting to ignore the underlying article completely.

On BusinessInsider.com, for example, I couldn’t wait to find out what “This Phrase Will Make You Seem More Polite” might be.

First, when you click through, you find a different headline: “Four Words to Seem More Polite.”

Worse, if you read the article, it turns out to be an essay about the virtues of empathy.

And what about the “four words”? They’re “Wow, that sounds hard.” Which is part of a goofy opening anecdote and nothing more. (The writer got a “very beautiful woman” to talk to him when he asked about her job, and he replied, “Wow. That sounds hard.”)

In other words, the clickbait problem is really going off the rails.

So I’m happy to present the fifth installment of my Clickbait Spoilers. If a headline says, “You won’t believe what happens next,” I’m going to darned well tell you, to save you the hassle.

Ready?

Clickbait: 8 things you should never feed to dogs and cats

Sugar-free gum, chocolate, avocados, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, onions, garlic, and — for crying out loud — marijuana. 

(Yes, I know that’s 10, not eight. I didn’t write the headline.)

Clickbait: Here’s What Happened When Six Corgi Puppies Visited a College Campus

Nothing. It’s just puppy footage.

Clickbait: Unique Restaurant Caters Toward A Specific Audience

Unbelievable. The SFGlobe headline writer didn’t even watch the video itself.

It’s about a Canadian restaurant that hires only deaf waiters.

But they don’t “cater toward” a specific audience; the experience is meant to bring the deaf waitstaff in contact with the general hearing clientele.

Clickbait: I Left My Husband & Daughter At Home And THIS Happened! I Can’t Believe It!

This video has nothing to do with the husband and daughter being left at home.

It is, however, an adorable duet between a dad (on ukulele) and his quirky 4-year-old daughter. 9 million well-deserved views on YouTube.

Clickbait: Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down to 2 Basic Traits

Actually, the article is about marriage, not “relationships.”

Anyway, the two secret “basic traits” are kindness and generosity, as you display them toward your spouse. Shocker.

The article is actually fascinating. Too bad they ruined it with a stupid headline. A better one might have been “What Studies Show About the Characteristics of Marriages That Last.”

Clickbait: Road Workers Found This Mysterious Box Underground. They Decided To Look Inside And…

From China: a 700-year-old tomb containing a well-preserved corpse.

Clickbait: A guy took an ordinary box of crayons…and proceeded to blow everyone away. What He Did = Epic.

When you click the clickbait headline, you find out that the actual story has a different headline: “You Won’t Believe What One Artist Can Do With Crayons. It’s The Coolest.”

In any case, the guy carves crayons into tiny people, especially Star Wars characters.

Clickbait: Cupcakes Kept Disappearing From the Counter. So They Set Up A Hidden Camera – Wow!

The dog was eating them.

So let me get this straight. A family that owns a big dog needed a hidden camera to figure out where the cupcakes were going?!

Either they or the headline writers are dopes.

Clickbait: Scientists Have Figured Out What Makes Women Attractive

Seriously?! Scientists have only just now figured out what makes women attractive?

If you click, you’re treated to a painfully slow video of a guy talking to the camera. There’s nothing else. It should have been a two-paragraph article, not a video.

Anyway, I’ll save you the time. The six things that (according to this video) scientists say make a woman attractive are a high voice; healthy hair; smiling; less makeup; red clothes; and a small waist-to-hips ratio. (The teleprompter-reading Business Insider host actually gets it exactly wrong. He says a larger waist-to-hips ratio is more attractive.)

Really? Less makeup and a high voice? Not big, pretty eyes, smooth skin, high cheekbones, or youthfulness? Not even sense of humor, intelligence, or being a good listener?

Scientists. Jeez.

See more clickbait stories… busted!

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