Writing for Page Views – Oh, the Huge Manatee

I published my review for the SteelSeries World of Warcraft Cataclysm MMO gaming mouse yesterday, and like always I sent the link to the PR rep I work with at SteelSeries.

"Good news" I told (e-mailed) them. "I loved the mouse." ( More than I thought I would, actually.) I didn’t hear anything back.

The next morning I checked my basic Google Analytics numbers (pageviews/visits) courtesy of a nifty widget on my Droid phone (mAnalytics). I usually do this while I’m waking up with my morning cup of coffee. Typically at 5:00am I don’t expect more than a few hundred page views.

This morning my numbers were somewhere around 1600. A quick double-take and internal ‘woohoo’ later, I did a little backtracking and found the source: SteelSeries Facebook page. They posted my review to their wall. Yay!

Unfortunately, this also serves to illustrate why writing for page views is such a horrible, horrible idea. I see it all the time, too: headlines written only to grab a click. A good, recent example I remember was a review for The Ball, a very good little indie game.

The particular headline (I don’t recall the site it was from) was something like "The Ball could give Portal 2 a run for its money!"

I liked The Ball quite a bit and gave it a good review. But I have seen Portal 2 at E3 2010 and PAX 2010. The Ball, good though it is, is not even remotely in the same league as Portal 2. It’s really an apples to oranges comparison — but that doesn’t stop some schmuck from trying to capture the almighty page view by writing asinine headlines.

Just for the record:

  • What little money I make writing for Examiner.com is in fact based on the amount of page views and overall web traffic that I get on my column.
  • I never write positive reviews simply to make PR people happy or get links and page views.
  • I do generally try to remain positive and balanced. (A game, for example, must really irk me to land on my Games That Suck page, for example.)
  • If I write that I like something, I sincerely liked it.
  • I write for Examiner more for fun, for practice, and to learn new things than I do for money. It keeps me close to a lifelong hobby and things I enjoy. (Some day, I kind of hope it may help get me back inside the gaming industry.)
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