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"I'm used to seeing online pieces with linkbaiting headlines that take more liberties than a drunken sailor. But I was particularly struck by this review of the Nook in Business Insider. The headline make a very very strong statement that there is NO question whether you should pay $40 more for a glow-light Nook, as opposed to a no-light Kindle. But the review itself is somewhat equivocal. Here is the payoff sentence, under the subheading, "Should you buy it?"


"If you read a lot in the dark or low light, then yes, you should definitely buy the new Nook." Note the reviewer's word "If."

Clearly the review recommends the Nook over Kindle, but not as strongly as the headline. The headline is even more unjustified since the entire review ignores one of the most important factors in the competition: the comparative services and buying experiences of B&N and Amazon. I understand this is a review of a hardware update, but how can you not match the services against each other when your headline is demanding one choice over another? That's like making a buying recommendation of an Android phone over the iPhone (or vice versa) without considering the operating system or the apps.

The actual review, really, is perfectly fine. I was just struck by the headline, not just in this case, but as an example of a disappointing trend of excess and exaggeration in heds of web pieces. Unfortunately, the payoff for such stuff is so great that it's just about futile to suggest anything different. Any suggestions?

http://www.businessinsider.com/nook-simple-touch-with-glowlight-review-2012-4?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider+(Silicon+Alley+Insider)#sf_service_src_facebook_123065
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21 comments
 
My Suggestion: Stop reading Business Insider, it's bad for you...
 
Are headlines often written by someone other than the article's author?
 
Have had both Nook and Kindle. The Nook simple touch was already my choice, so the addition of a glow light makes the headline perfectly legitimate. The problem is that the writer didn't match the headline's decisiveness in his review.
 
Business Insider is no stranger to such link-baiting, disingenuous headlines. It's use of them is really quite egregious.
 
Web headlines have been getting nearly tabloid-esque, and that sucks. Funny, just last week I got the cheapest Kindle because I simply wanted a basic ereader without speakers, lights, touchscreen, or any of the other features every other ereader has at this point.
 
+Robert Scoble If it is true that someone else comes in and writes a headline, I retract my comment.
 
+Robert Scoble wow, I'm surprised.. maybe I'm not. Wonder if the headline is written first, then the article. Maybe that's even common practice. Thinking of this does not put me in my happy place :)
 
That's yet another reason why we need professional journos in journalism. Not SEO specialists.
 
I write my content - and I generally submit with a title, but frequently the headline my editors pick will be their own. I get the feedback about the headline being link-bait when readers think that the headline is misleading, inappropriate or trolling. Sometimes the readers have a point, but frequently, they just have a sacred cow that the headline attempts to tip. It goes both ways. FWIW, I called Gizmodo out recently for a headline that read, "Are these images proof that NASA has filmed alien UFOs," when the body of the article said, "duh, of course this isn't proof of alien UFOs," about a third of the way in.
 
The trend is so oriented to the linkbait headline these days I'm totally shocked they didn't include "or the Apple iPad since Foxconn makes it for them!"

Lately every linkbait headline throws apple in there to attract the fans and the haters. Big fail by that headline writer. 
 
I have a suggestion.

Ridicule. And Satire.

Everyone who does something like this (and BI is particular for it) should be mocked fully and completely.
 
+Stephen Manning Business Insider has been ripe for mockery for a long time now. They are really the kings of nonsense and insane commentary. I think an 'Onion-esque' version of Business Insider is long overdue.
 
+Steven Sudit that is true. I mean, it's a blog about business analysis and commentary that is founded and edited by a guy who was convicted of lying in his business analysis and commentary.
 
The response to this really all depends of the granularity of the division of labour at businessinsider.com; does the reviewer write the headline, or is that done by a sub-editor? I hated all my subs when I was a journalist because even cat-up-tree stories ended up sounding like previews of the apocalypse.

If it was the reviewer, it's nothing that good kick in the pants via readers' letters wouldn't at least bring to notice, if not fix.

It obviously bugged you, +Steven Levy, as I think it should have. Maybe a 'Lord Copper' note to the reviewer is just what the doctor ordered.
 
If it blees it leads. It's a sad state of affairs, but I don't see the trend changing any time soon...
 
I generally submit my articles without titles since titles are usually the editor's bailiwick.

I just sent a fiery letter off to the Financial Times about a restaurant review. The sub-head of the article suggested that the restaurant under review was Japanese, but the content of the review (and of the reviewer's meal) made it clear that it was nothing of the kind. This was, I am sure, the editor's mistake.
 
Someone should make a Mad Libs style Business Insider Headline Generator.

"Read the __ things __ doesn't want you to know about ____"

"See the __ things the __ thinks will change the way you __ forever"

"____ just really ___ _____ so hard that it won't be able to ____ right for weeks"

etc..
 
Could this be a new form of producT placement?
 
BI articles have been popping up on radar more often than not in the last few days. BI articles always seem to need repair.
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