Experimenting with Profanity

Use the "F" word, get 4x more views?


If Gordon Ramsay has taught us anything, it's that people love profanity-laced rants.

Last month I had a rant of my own brewing, so I decided to let it out Gordon Ramsey-style in this post:  Fuck You, Sears.

The choice of language was both natural and intentional. I chose to say "fuck" in the title to see how it impacted views. I guess you can call it clickbait.

I published the post, tweeted it, then posted it on Hacker News, just as I had done with my previous post about VC valuations. Both were on topics that I thought the community might enjoy (venture capital and commercial email/web design).

The result? The profanity post received over 4x more views.

analytics Yes, my blog gets a pathetic number of views. It's good that I write for myself as much as I do for others.

By no means was this a scientific test, but I think the result is still telling. It tells us something that we already knew:  clickbait works.

Update 7/14:  I'm changing the title of the post to "Screw You, Sears", just because I wanted it to be a little less abrasive. The link and content will remain unchanged.


Follow me on Twitter @cschidle so I can say that I have more than 14 followers.


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