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TheStreet Open House

Clickbait Fever Can End Forever Using Only This One Weird Trick

Stocks in this article: FB GOOG YHOO TST SCHW

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Facebook (FB - Get Report), Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO) created clickbait.

They are the companies that can kill it.

The problem, which people such as Facebook product director Mike Hudack feign ignorance of, is of their making.

The problem is their pay-per-click ad model.

Pay-per-click ads work only for the page on which the click occurs. A paid click is a rare bird, and it takes many, many ad impressions to get one.

Thus, we writers seek a haystack of impressions rather than the needle of an informed buyer. It doesn't pay to educate that buyer, placing brands by quality content. Only the click counts. The click is a purchase, and the purpose of journalism is to turn readers into buyers, to make money for advertisers.

Take the article you're reading right now at TheStreet (TST) as an example.

I'm not targeting everyone in the world with it. I am targeting only an informed investor, someone with money to put to work. If I can get just 3,000 of you together, to view ads from the good people at Charles Schwab (SCHW), you may get a good impression of that brand and move your account there.

I have.

But that's a complex sale. Luring you toward loyalty takes more than my effort. It takes the hard work of this entire staff. We work every day to find you and charge advertisers a premium to reach you.

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