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Juiced Headline of the Week

I point this out from time to time, but the way most websites’ CMSes work is that an article’s URL slug — like the “juiced_headline_of_the_week” segment in this very post’s URL — are derived from the article’s original headline. But when a headline changes, the URL shouldn’t change unless you have a way to redirect traffic going to the old URL to the new one. Most websites don’t do that. So when they change a headline, you can still tell what the original headline was by looking at the URL slug. For some reason, with a lot of news websites, they don’t bother updating the headline in the HTML <title> element either, so you can read the original headline in your browser tab.

Sometimes these headline changes are interesting. This piece at Quartz by Dave Gershgorn published a week ago is one such case. The original headline, still visible in the <title> and the URL slug, was “Apple’s Second Quarter 2018: Analyst Expect Poor iPhone X Sales” [sic]. The new headline, as seen on the page: “Almost Nobody Wants the iPhone X” (with the punny sub-head “Missed X-Pectations”).

As I pointed out in this thread on Twitter with Rene Ritchie and Gershgorn, the original headline was accurate but staid — the analyst(s) were wrong, but the headline was correct that they were predicting poor iPhone X sales. The new headline was not only juiced up with clickbait, it turned out to be flat-out ridiculously false.

(I, of course, write my URL slugs by hand for each post. The vast majority of the time they either match or mostly match the words in the headline, but every once in a while I like to slip something in like this.)

Wednesday, 2 May 2018