*Slow clap* Congratulations, Arianna. We see that you’ve beat the dreaded “Original Holiday Content” beast that has driven down traffic at so many other Internet hubs. And you were so clever about it, too! Why make one post merely listing Walmart’s schedule today, when you can create a sort of listicle-generator that randomizes and promotes every pairing of store hours possible?
Here’s how the link-bait portal just found a new way to game the system.
On December 5, HuffPost Home put up a piece called Holiday Store Hours 2012: Walmart, Target, Costco And Other Major Retailers (PHOTOS). Since this was on the “Home” section, no one saw it. (Check out the number of tweets, emails and Facebook shares it received.)
HOWEVER, someone must have noticed the clever S.E.O. from the post, which put it on the top of the list when you Google “Most Popular Holiday Store Hours.”
Then the program began to self-replicate: On the 22nd, HuffPost Home basically rebooted the same article, calling it “Christmas Eve Store Hours For Target, Walmart, Costco And Other Major Retailers.” That rocketed up to the site’s “Most Viewed” page, so the next day, there was a new list: “Christmas Eve Store Hours For Target, Walmart, Costco, Toys R Us.”
And in case you still haven’t gotten the drift of what’s going on, the most popular story on all of Huffington Post this morning is in HuffPost Business, and it’s literally just a listing from the 23rd of Walmart’s hours on Christmas Eve/Day.
Quick, try to guess the content of this very popular article! Give up?
“Walmart will not be open on Christmas Day. Most stores will close at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve, but be sure to check your local listings before heading out to do last-minute Christmas shopping. Walmart stores will reopen on December 26.”
Whoever came up with this formula, give the (wo)man a bonus!