Forbes Blogger Steals 1M Pageviews from NYT by Changing Headline

Forbes Blogger Steals $20,000 and 1 Million Pageviews from New York Times by Changing Headline Now how’s that for a grabber? If it got your attention it just demonstrates how important headlines are in online journalism.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how much is a title worth? If the story that proceeds is any indicator, a title is worth over 6700 words and months of research. It all began Friday when the New York Times published an article “How Companies Learn Your Secrets“. It was an extremely long article which discussed how large companies like WalMart and Target collect data about your individual consumption patterns to figure out how to most efficiently make you happy. It was a great piece but there was one problem: it didn’t have the title it deserved.

The original title was “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.” Kashmir Hill, a writer at Forbes, realized this and quickly developed a condensed version of the article with a far more powerful title: “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did“. It cut out the crap and got to the real shocker of the story. As of the writing of this story, the New York Times article has 60 likes and shares on Facebook versus 12,902 which the Forbes article has. The Forbes article also has a mind boggling 680,000 page views, a number that can literally make a writer’s career.

This is as clever as it gets.


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