Understanding Flamebaiting

Flamebaiting refers to posting messages in public forums, mailing lists and blogs provoking anger and emotional responses. In SEO this can be employed for people to respond and in the process, the one who initiates it gets some attention through comments, responses and links to the original message. The third one is what’s most important SEO can get from this exercise.

People love news right? But typically people are even more drawn to stories that reveal private lives or just merely life at the backstage where spotlights can’t reach.

The obvious reason for doing so is that for the one who posts it, call him/her a troll, be more popular. As they say any kind of publicity you make is a good publicity. This popularity generation campaign happens at the expense of others:

Why SEO professionals are a bunch of losers

For an unsuspecting newbie SEO professional, this catchy title attracts his/her attention and wants to find out if pursuing a career in search engine optimization is the way to go. But the bottom line is that whether he or she gets something out of it, there is already some sort of brand awareness taking place: s/he goes to the site of the troll, and explores other contents and reads them. If the troll’s lucky enough, the visitor subscribes to the feeds, makes comments, and eventually clicks on the ads or makes a purchase via the troll’s affiliate account. Mission accomplished.

Why [Insert Name] Sucks
28 Reasons Why [Insert Company Name] Is a Joke

Even the most seasoned and highly respected professionals in the business do this. Sometimes this type of post is based on recently posted article and is aimed to counter that post or clarify issues. Sometimes this is done to warn others from becoming victims of is perceived to be a potential fraud activity. It is usually based on personal experiences but could also be product of imagination. The catchy title evokes strong interest and therefore is likely to be read by the curious ones.

In SEO, this usually happens when someone posts a highly disputable claim (“SEO is a scam”) or providing information that is inaccurate or misleading. This is common on threads that talk on topics that are subjective in nature.

Video Flamebait
Videos convey stronger message than text entries, which is why some video blogs that practice flamebaiting gets video responses on top of the numerous text comments.

Executing flamebait entails an enormous risk. Unlike linkbait where we can get popular without dragging someone’s or some organization’s name, flamebait could be a recipe for disaster. Weigh the potential reverberations, whether good (blogs and articles pointing to our original entry) and bad (negative comments, personal attacks that go beyond what we wrote, feed unsubscribes).

I won’t recommend it.