Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The secret to a meaningful life

The team that brings the world bbc.com is surging forward into 2017, under showrunner Jim Egan. The mega-site claimed 98m unique browsers each month for 2016. I'm usually a little suspicious of news releases which point to a bald figure without saying the previous record, but BBC Worldwide's annual review says monthly unique browsers for the financial year to March 2016 were 39m - so we're talking more than double in nine months. The review said much of the growth was coming from feature pages.

I've had a pop at these bbc.com extra pages before, and I'll say it again - there are vast swathes of pretty shameless clickbait-y headlines, leading to myriad magazine-style features of variable quality. If this is the way the BBC wants to get to 500 million users a week worldwide by 2022, then it's welcome.

Here's my selection, from the front pages of those sites that are visible in the UK today (but without the ads that the rest of the world sees)

BBC Future (Our Mission Statement is simple: "Making You Smarter Every Day")
"The secret to leading a meaningful life"
"19 emotions you never knew you had"
"The dangerous myth of vitamin pills"
(The article headline goes on to say "Why vitamin pills don't work and may be bad for you", but the clickbaiting continues in the url - http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161208-why-vitamin-supplements-could-kill-you)

BBC Capital
"Dress code - how about naked once a week ?"
(The article headline reads: "Instead of the pub after work, they get naked together here", with a strap "My instant reaction was to put my hand on my crotch". More clickbait in the url - http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20161020-where-its-common-to-get-nude-with-your-colleagues

BBC Autos
"Food, feet and farts"
"When is it ok to switch plane seats ?"
(There's plenty more like this from Minnesota freelance, and former flight attendant, Beth Blair)

BBC Culture
"English has 3,000 words for being drunk"
Written by Susie Dent from Countdown's Dictionary Corner

Heaven knows what's going on at BBC Travel. Maybe readers outside the UK can let me know.

I apologise for my headline above - but if it works for bbc.com, it may help this little blog (just shy of 1.5m page views in seven years).

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