©2016 VICE Media LLC

    The VICE Channels

      The Worst Attempts to Squeeze Web Traffic from the Boston Bombings

      By Jamie Lee Curtis Taete

      West Coast Editor

      April 16, 2013

      Image via

      Yesterday, as you know, two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

      Across the country, while people were trying to make sense of what had happened and wondering what they could do to help, website editors and bloggers asked themselves, "How can we get some traffic out of this?"

      Below are the six most shameless click-baiting efforts I saw in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. (BTW, I am fully aware of how hypocritical it must seem for me to be aggregating content from other sites for a listicle complaining about sites traffic-whoring in the wake of a tragedy, but, ugh, whatever, these posts really annoyed me. If I could turn off the hit-counter on this page, I would.)

      Almost immediately after the explosions, TMZ ran a story called "Bombs At The Boston Marathon—Joey McIntyre Missed Blast By Minutes" about former New Kids on the Block member Joey McIntyre avoiding the explosions by a mere five minutes. It included the above selfie that he took at the starting line of the race. This wasn't in addition to another story about the bombings. This was their entire coverage. 

      They've since changed their story to "Boston Marthon Bomb Blasts: 3 Dead, More Than 130 Injured, No Suspects Identified." Presumably because they realized that nobody gives a shit about Joey McIntyre.

      Among the dozens of pieces Buzzfeed ran about Boston yesterday was "29 Reasons to Love Boston." Reasons include Aerosmith, ice cream, and exclusive Dunkin' Donuts menu items. At the time of writing this, it has been viewed 228,000 times. 

      Premier online destination for lists about celebrities Celebrity-Lists.com ran a piece called "10 Celebrities From Boston." This is how it was introduced:

      "A horrific disaster happened today during the Boston Marathon and our hearts go out to those who were affected by the explosions that shook our nation and took the lives of two. Check out a list of celebrities who are from Boston below."

      Each of the ten items is on a different page, so if you'll have to give them ten whole hits if you want to find out who the ten celebrities from Boston are, as I'm sure you do. (Spoiler alert: the number one celebrity from Boston is Mindy Kaling.)

      About.com's Carribean-travel section ran "The Boston Marathon Bombing: Where to Get Travel Information," which detailed how the attacks might affect Caribbean travelers. "I run into Bostonians every time I'm in the islands. So today's tragedy at the Bostom Marathon hits quite close to home for me," wrote blogger Robert Curley, before directing readers to another section of About.com.

      Just Jared ran with a piece called "Celebrities React to Boston Marathon Explosions," in which we got to learn that both Courteney Cox's and Melissa Joan Hart's prayers were with the people of Boston.

      Finally, the Associated Press caught up with Mark Wahlberg at the premiere of his new film Pain and Gain to see how he felt about the attacks. Apparently he was "upset."

      And I'm sure you were wondering what 50 Cent and Nurse Jackie star Peter Facinelli felt about the attacks. Luckily, the AP were there to find that out, too: they were "dismayed" and "in the dark," respectively. 


      Related: Surveying the Chaos at the Boston Marthon Bombing

      Topics: TMZ, Buzzfeed, Celebrity-Lists, about.com, Just Jared, Boston Bombings, Mark Wahlberg, traffic whoring, Mindy Kaling


      Top Stories