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January 31, 2019

BuzzFeed Answers the Quiz, "Which Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code Are You Most Like?," Plus the New Hit Song, "Learn to Code"

If you don't want to listen to the new song that's sweeping the nation, you can read this piece from the (cucked-out, tucked-under) National Review.

What if your highest aspiration was the lowest common denominator? Keep in mind that the public had lost interest in paying for even moderately high-quality journalism, must less replacement-level journalism, much less the LCD variety....

Yet! ...The new source of profits would be to drill into America's secret untapped strategic reserve of stupidity. They were there, just begging to be exploited: oceans of partially educated 24-year-old girls willing to spend vast amounts of the office time their employers were purchasing from them poking around the Internet.

So was born BuzzFeed.

What BuzzFeed does is often referred to as "clickbait" tantalizing headlines that overwhelm you with desire to find out more. This isn’t quite right; what it does is more like "providing imaginary friends for girl simpletons bored at their desks." Go ahead, check for yourself. Assuming you are not a mentally inert unripe female intent on wasting time, see if any of the following headlines impart you with any desire whatsoever to learn more: "Which Type Of Pizza Are You Based On Your Favorite 2018 Movies?" "The Romantic Movie Marathon You Plan Will Reveal What Percent Sexy You Are," "It's Time You Found Out Which Sandra Bullock Character You Are," "Each And Every One Of Us Is A Queen, But This Quiz Will Reveal What Kind You Are," and (this one is a bit on the nose) "If You’re Super Bored, Check Out These 17 Really Amazing Quizzes."


All of these headlines have run just this month.


Much of BuzzFeed’s daily offering is, I need hardly inform you, barely disguised advertising. And a lot comes from unpaid "contributors" whose "content" BuzzFeed is happy to profit from. Except BuzzFeed, notoriously, is not profitable. This bears reflection.

Actually, it's sadder than that.

Because BuzzFeed's director of quizzes was laid off on Friday.

No, that's not the sad part. The sad part is why.

Yes, it's sad that Buzzfeed had a "director of quizzes" in the first place. But even sadder is this: all of BuzzFeed's most popular quizzes were being created, for free, by an overly energetic 19-year-old college student.

See, they laid the director of quizzes off when some Green Eyeshade Genius realized, "Why are we paying a director of quizzes when all the good quizzes are given to us for free by a 19 year old co-ed?"

Rachel McMahon is a teen from Michigan you almost certainly haven't heard of before this week. Her name appeared in a blog post from BuzzFeed's former head of quizzes and games, Matthew Perpetua, where he noted that McMahon was the "second highest traffic driver worldwide" for the site's quizzes. (Perpetua was one of several hundred people --15 percent of the company -- laid off from BuzzFeed this month.) McMahon has contributed hundreds of quizzes for free -- BuzzFeed has for years allowed and encouraged so-called community users to submit quizzes without paying them -- and says she never really had any idea how much traffic, and by extension revenue, she was bringing the company. Intelligencer caught up with McMahon to talk about her quiz prowess, her guilt over BuzzFeed staffers losing their jobs, and why Pop-Tarts plus Disney princes is a recipe for success on the internet.


How many [quizzes] have you made?

High hundreds. I went through all my quizzes and counted them. If I didn't mess up, 692 is the total.

Do you know what your biggest hit was?

I've made so many that it's hard to keep track. If I go to my account, it shows how many each have gotten. Here’s one with 578,000. One with 428,000; 499,000; 534,000.

What quiz is the 578,000 one?
[Clicking sounds.] See this one's weird, but people like it. It's "Which Pop-Tart Flavor Matches Your Personality Best?"


Right, you were driving significant traffic, and revenue, for the company. Did you ever have any idea that was the case?

I never knew I was the second-highest driver worldwide. I always knew my quizzes did well based on my dashboard views. Toward the end of the year, BuzzFeed actually sent me a package with some clothes and water bottles, a recipe book, and a coffee mug -- BuzzFeed swag stuff, I think you can actually buy it online. They told me I was the number-one user this year with all my views. I didn't know it was that big of a thing, though.

Well, at least she got the water bottles.

Below, "Learn to Code."

digg this
posted by Ace of Spades at 05:50 PM

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