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It seems that everyone on the Internet these days is chomping at the bit to get into an argument. There is hardly any topic that is presented for discussion, no matter how seemingly innocuous, that doesn’t cause someone to get their panties in a twist over it. Some people just seem to live to argue and the less known about a topic by those arguing helps that controversy to thrive. For many, anything that they disagree with or have been told is wrong by some talking head on the radio or TV is a liberal or a conservative plot.
Controversy seems to get the web traffic these days. My most visited article on Triond.com is 10 reasons why cats are better than dogs. It was not written as a serious piece but the debate it has sparked has been very serious at times; with name calling and insults thrown around. I just sit back and laugh. This one article is the reason I have been hitting payout every single month since I wrote it. I did not expect it to be so controversial, but I’m glad it is. Before this article I was hitting about 60 cents a month. Last month I earned $2.77 largely due to this one article. I wonder how much a truly serious controversy would earn.
Benford's law of controversy from the 1980 novel Timescape:
Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available.
It seems that serious topics I write about don’t often get the same amount of traffic as things like my cats vs. dogs article. It makes me wonder if writing a serious article is even worth it at times. I have the feeling that some people deliberately write about topics they know will be controversial; they often take a side they really don’t believe in just to see the feathers fly and the traffic come pouring in. I am not sure I could do that and actually write a good article.
However, there is certainly a market for serious, well-researched articles. The traffic may take longer to find those articles, but it will come. A little research with some well-placed keywords in your article will help it be found through the search engines. In the long run, writing such an article will earn you the most money and respect; controversies have a short life span usually.
In the long run...
In the long run, it is up to you to decide whether or not you will write only about what you are truly passionate about or start to only write articles that will cause controversy and get you more traffic. It certainly is nothing new; we have had “ambulance chasers” for centuries. Just look at the number of new articles that pop up when a celebrity dies; many times within minutes. Print newspapers used to fight over who would get the scoops and be able to write about a big news story first and get it on their front page. I guess we can change the ways news is spread but not the basic human need to debate and discuss that news.