This week, SF Weekly writer Joe Eskenazi tore apart the sports news website Bleacher Report, pointing to the site’s poor writing, cheap tactics, and crowd-sourced articles designed with one goal in mind: to rank high in search results. The site’s model flies in the face of traditional journalism by harnessing the power of unpaid citizen writers to develop huge amounts of content in response to trending keywords.
The model may be unsexy, but it allows Bleacher Report’s paid staff to focus on maximizing the number of daily visitors in order to sell more ads, making the site incredibly lucrative for its owners. In fact, despite its reputation as a trove of “lowest-common-denominator crap,” (quote courtesy of Bleacher Report’s recently hired managing writer King Kaufman), Bleacher Report was recently acquired by Time Warner, Inc.’s Turner Media for $175 million, a surprise indication that at least a few believe in Bleacher Report’s model as the way of the future.
Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. But in any case it’s not hard to see why Bleacher Report has gotten a bad name in journalistic circles. Some of their articles are downright unreadable, just as you would expect from amateur journalists churning out content at a frantic pace. This model has led to an over-reliance on photo slideshows, usually in the form of “Top Ten” or “Top Five” lists. In response, Rudy Digital brings you:
The Top Ten Reasons that Top Ten Lists Are Lame!
Inane topics like “25 Celebrities You Never Knew Were Cheerleaders” that tempt you to click in spite of your better instincts.
Stretching the list much longer than is necessary. For instance, “50 Fantasy Football Mistakes You’re Already Kicking Yourself For.” Really, fifty already? The season’s still pretty young, folks.
Wildly unsubstantiated claims like “Tom Brady is the most overrated quarterback in NFL history.” (An actual article that has garnered almost 15,000 views on Bleacher Report).
Author bias. If I wanted to listen to self-proclaimed sports experts rant and rave, I’d go to a fraternity Super Bowl party.
Text-anemic, picture-heavy content for the ADHD Generation.
Ads in the middle of the slide show.
BUY AXE BODY WASH AND SMELL LIKE A GOD!
Lame attempts at humor or authenticity. (Please, no more street slang in quotations, “playahs.”)
Grasping at straws to come up with just…a few…more…examples… (My editor is going to kill me. Where’s that Red Bull? Hook it up to my veins.)
Elaborate justifications for why THIS PARTICULAR point needed to be at the top of the list. “I agonized over the earth-shattering decision to put this point at number two, and let me tell you why…”
After all the buildup, number one leaves you with a vague sense of shame, disappointment, and the desire to have those 5-10 minutes of your life back. You start to close the window, vowing in the depths of your soul that you will never to fall into this trap again, when– Ooo, the Top Ten Worst NBA Jerseys! Well, maybe just one more…
Image by Snap®