There has always been the saying that there is no such thing as ‘bad publicity’, a pretty naïve viewpoint but one founded on the concept that if we are talking about a brand/celebrity/whatever else in some capacity then this better than not talking about them at all. Katie Price epitomizes this, her career lives or dies by getting her name in the press. This is often in a negative light yet it hasn’t stopped her making tens of millions, instead it has facilitated it. Reading today’s horrendous commentary from the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir led me to think about the concept this afternoon. Whilst there is little doubt that the article she wrote today on Stephen Gately’s untimely death was beyond the realms of decency (bar perhaps the odd Mail reader who has added their support in the comments section) it has ultimately driven huge amounts of traffic to the Mail website.
In the age of the dying newspaper, this web traffic is priceless, which begs the question that in today’s digital world is there no such thing as ‘bad traffic’? Is it acceptable for sites to drive traffic through controversy?
Whilst the Jan Moir issue may be an extreme, is it ok to include purposely contentious topics and content to drive SEO and web traffic? Ethically perhaps not, but as the world and its wife looks to make money from online content, will ethics be surrendered? It worked for Jordan.