PDD Shop Talk: The Art of Clickbait

Three of Duluth’s best sledding hills are at Bayfront Park, Wheeler Field and Keene Creek Dog Park. One of the city’s best beaches is at the base of Ely’s Peak. OMC Smokehouse is a popular spot in Canal Park.

All of that false information — and a lot more — can be found on a certain clickbait website that obviously uses artificial intelligence to produce “Best (insert thing) in Duluth” articles. And while those articles are hilariously shoddy to a level that makes them almost entertaining, I’m not going to provide a link here or state the name of the website. And you should have some self control and not search for it.

It seems strange that it might be somehow profitable to produce bad internet content when it’s so financially challenging to produce good internet content. But good internet content is produced by talented people with scruples who spend time verifying facts and/or crafting a solid narrative, so it’s no surprise that legitimacy is more expensive than deception. The other part of the equation — whether that work is financially rewarded — is up to readers and advertisers.

At Perfect Duluth Day, actual human beings are producing factual content to educate and entertain. We also occasionally delve into creative fiction and satire, which admittedly blurs the perception of PDD as a legitimate source of information. We tend to think no one would possibly believe that 12 giant colossal statues of Bob Dylan will be built in Duluth over the next five years, but of course many people did.

By the way, we chose not to publish “The Sergio Report,” which was released on April Fools Day. It seemed like a bit too much on the heels of the Dylan statue thing. But now we’re burying a link to it in the middle of this post just for the hell of it.

Perhaps it makes sense to take a moment every once in a while to state that while our aim at Perfect Duluth Day is to inform and not misinform, obviously the human element that we say is so superior to artificial intelligence is also capable of occasional blunders — and we will sometimes challenge readers with absurd myths and tall tales. If you look at the totality of our work — including our efforts to correct blunders and the sheer level of absurdity our fake news and folklore achieves — rational people will find our website credible, informative and perhaps even moderately delightful.

If that’s the case, we hope you’ll help us compete with the bots and continue to carry out our mission by dropping a few bucks in the ol’ PayPal account.

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

Yes, PDD does receive income from advertising, but it has never been enough to pay contributors anything close to living wages. So we occasionally put out these low-pressure nudges for donations.

Also, we hope you’ll join us when Perfect Duluth Day celebrates 20 years of being Duluth’s Duluthiest website. The party is on June 29 at Bent Paddle Brewing. We’ll invite you many more times if you keep paying attention.

1 Comment


about 11 months ago

So of course, I searched for it and it's right there at the top of the results.   It's great to see the surveillance capitalism business model crumbling.  You used to be able to use an algorithm to do the job of an editor.  You used to be able to trust the information people posted about themselves to be real enough to spy on.  The internet is becoming unsearchable.  Obfuscation is bringing back privacy.

We're entering an exciting age, when people will begin typing the urls of websites into the address bar, instead of a search queries.  Which will be a good thing for sites like pdd and mix108, the two sites below the fake one in the search results.

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