You know what Buzzfeed is. You’ve click on 100’s of links of “Things You Forgot From The ’90s” or “Here’s 30 Gifs Of Daniel Radcliff”. Buzzfeed recently spiked in popularity and is now reporting a grossing networth of greater than $200 million and it’s even expected to be closer to the $500 million range.
But how did it get so popular? It’s what is refereed to as “the shotgun approach” and is implemented in thousands of things beyond the internet. Merchandise for shows, Burger King’s new menu, and even bands on tour. Basically the idea is to get as many things out there at once hoping that at least one thing will become popular enough to pay off for the time wasted saying “yes” to everything. Buzzfeed is no different.
But how do they constantly post new content day after day? Well, if you’ve ever noticed the authors of the posts are usually labled as “community members” and it’s exactly how it sounds. People just like you sign up and submit content. People with no prior writing experiences, or even spell check. That’s right. You need absolutely nothing besides the ability to copy and paste to create a widely popular article where no one will pay attention to the person who “wrote” it. With this, Buzzfeed has created a self-sustaining environment of unpaid (and probably lonely) college students who should be studying for tests but probably would have been on Tumblr anyways.
As someone who spent years of writing online, designing my own sites, it’s down right discouraging to watch such an idiotic idea become so world renowned in such a short time frame. Sure, Buzzfeed has been around forever but it wasn’t until lately when it began paying off.
Now, I’ve come up with a test that you can do yourself to see how these posts are created; and yes, you can use this method to create even more articles for Buzzfeed if you want. After all, I’m 90% sure this is how they’re getting the content in the first place. I’m sure by now you know that Google has a sub-site “Images” that will return an onslaught of pictures for anything you can imagine. That’s the method.
The hilarious part of this test is it actually works. Let’s look at an example. On Buzzfeed there is an article “31 Struggles Kids Today Will Never Understand“. That’s right. 31 actually things. Why 31? Because that’s where the author decided to call it a night. No other reason. Now, take the “31” out and enter it into Google’s Image search. Here, I did it for you. What you’ll see is all 31 images used, as well as thousands more.
Now, my first thought was “Buzzfeed put these images together, so that’s why they’re showing up.” NOPE. Look at where the images are actually coming from. DailyEdge, PureAnarchy.com, MeFunnySideUp.co, and you get the point. Have you ever heard of these sites before? Of course not. People actually hunted these images down (or made them), did all the work to be recognized by Google, and they’re not even churning up a profit while unpaid nobodies are turning other people’s hard work into cash for the top dogs of Buzzfeed.
What upsets me is no one gets this. Anyone could create these lists but yet they’re getting more and more popular every day. So popular that legitimate sites like HuffingtonPost are mimicking the idea for hits. People wonder why I get so upset at these fads, and that’s exactly why. Once a fad is here and popular, every one jumps on the bandwagon until the next fad is here.