Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great Moments in Trolling for Traffic

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm quite pleased with the fact that ESPN has apparently freed Neyer, Law, and the others from the subscription prison that was Insider. I don't know what that means for ESPN financially, but it seems to me that it's the right move for long-term readership, bloggy interactivity, and plain old karma.

It also seems that the ESPN editors who write the headlines are equally savvy about driving traffic to their newly-accessible properties. For example, note the Red Sox Fanboy-baiting headline they tagged Neyer's MVP post with on the front page this morning:

An exclamation point and everything! After seeing that I could almost hear the thousands of Sullys and Drews clicking through to give old Rob a piece of their Sawxy minds!

Only problem is, Neyer's post bears no resemblance to that inflammatory headline. While Neyer says that Pedroia wouldn't have been his choice and isn't "the obvious choice," he adds that that "isn't to suggest that Pedroia wasn't an outstanding MVP candidate." He goes on to say that Pedroia "wasn't a poor choice," and acknowledges that if voters are intent to go with guys on playoff teams -- as we know they are -- Pedroia was probably the guy to pick. Well, either him or Youkilis.

I wonder how many New Englanders saw that this morning and geared up for a fight, only to find upon reading the post that there's really nothing to fight about.

UPDATE: A couple of people have commented or emailed me asking me if I'm "shocked" or upset by this kind of teaser being placed on Neyer's post. Far from it! In fact, I'm quite happy with it. You see, it's one thing to tease crap with an inflammatory header, but it's quite defensible to tease good stuff like Neyer's writing with such things. Indeed, by doing so it may trick someone into reading something that's good for them, much the way I trick my three year-old into eating his vegetables.

I'm also reminded of how many really good books were marketed with salacious and plain old crazy cover art back in the 40s and 50s. You know a bunch of them were sold to guys looking for smut, but if a handful actually got something good out of it, it was well worth the deception.

All in all, I'd much rather have ESPN market Neyer's stuff like this than anti-market it by keeping it behind a subscription wall like they have for so long.


Jason @ IIATMS said...

Betchya they are bombarding the comment section regardless. Lest you say anything not glowing about the Sawx.

or Yanks, sadly

mooseinohio said...

Two Things -

One - Are you actually shocked that a news outlet would use such a teaser? Craig I watch the same local news as you and they are all horrible about such tactics and use over-hyped and misleading teasers all the time.

Two - You seemed to imply that folks would read Neyer's piece before responding or read it with an open mind and possibly be persuaded. So maybe two of the thousands folks who are bogging down the ESPN server did so - the rest responded like it was the election season all over again (i.e. from already prepared talking/shouting points and without a real clue what the other person was truly expressing).

matt said...

I was so frustrated by that headline last night that I did the least effective thing possible outside of arguing about it on the internet (although I did that too): I sent an email to the ombudsman. I don't know why it bothered me so much, but it did.

Like any good Philadelphian I grew up hating the Yankees. However, over the last five years I've noticed that while Yankees fans may have an arrogance about them, they know their baseball. Unfortunately the same can't be said about most Sawx fans I've encountered.

Peter said...

I saw that last night, and as a Sawx hater I smiled and clicked, hoping for something incendiary.

I was disappointed when I found Neyer's calm, reasoned, well-thought out blog entry. Leave it to Rob to stay above the fray. Tsk, tsk.

Ken Dynamo said...

the comments on neyers post are oth sad and hilarious. sad, because it was predictable, but hilarious as displays of the depths of so many red sox fan's sports inferiority complex. still, after all the recent success people have to get worked up into a froth over something like this.

i know that the crazy commenters are the minority and theyre plenty of reasonable sox fans but, im sorry, this is why there are so many red sox haters, and i find it perfectly justifiable to be one.

and i agree too that the inflammatory headline is ultimately a good thing. why not?

Craig Calcaterra said...

A good thing, and I'll go further, Ken: who cares about the commenters? I mean, I certainly value the commenters here -- indeed, I find it to be about the best thing about writing this blog -- but, unlike ESPN, I'm not trying to turn a profit here. If I was, and the difference between doing that was dealing with a horde of, well, less-than-riveting readers and commenters on the one hand, and having a witty, educated discourse on the other, I'd have to choose the former, because the kids gotta eat.

Besides: that's what Google Groups are for, and if I'm ever lucky enough to get a massive readership that allows me to make a living doing this, you can bet that I'll start a private, invitation-only group called "Old School ShysterBall" for our discussion pleasure. You're all invited.

Daniel said...

Child: Daddy! I don't want to eat my vegetables!

Angels Fan: Son, you see that vegetable right there? You can't really tell, but that veggie is wearing a pink Red Sox hat and a throwback personalized Red Sox jersey. For every minute those veggies go uneaten, more will appear until your plate is covered in more obnoxious, smug vegetables than you can count.

Child: (*gets look of horror in his face*) Okay Daddy! (*inhales vegetables*)

(I would give a lot of money for this to work on my 2 year old son.)

tadthebad said...

Ah, yes. It HAS been a long time since "the nation" was appropriately trashed. I love the smell of freshly minted, regionally biased criticism in the afternoon. It's just