Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Sucker Is Optimized Every Minute

“For years, search-engine optimization, or S.E.O., has turned web pages into Googlebait. These days, optimizers of squeeze pages, drawing lessons as much from the labcoats at Optimizely as from the big daddies at Google, recommend creating a three-to-10 minute video that’s introduced by a ‘magnetic headline’ (‘Find the Perfect Lampshade for Any Lamp’) and quickly chase it with an ‘information gap’ like ‘You’re Not Going to Believe the Trick I Use While Lampshade Shopping.’ (Article of faith among optimizers: humans find information gaps intolerable and will move heaven and earth to close them.) Next you get specific: ‘Click the play button to see me do my lampshade trick!’—after which the video unspools, only to stall at the midpoint with a virtual tollbooth. You can’t go on unless you hand over an email address. Presto.”

Virginia Heffernan