The Onion is taking news parody to a new level, and it’s thanking BuzzFeed and Upworthy for the inspiration.
Yes, the brilliant minds responsible for such critically-acclaimed journalistic pieces like “It Only Tuesday” and “Thousands of Girls Match Description of Missing Sorority Sister” will launch Clickhole.com this upcoming June – a parody site that reflects the transformative nature of media in the new age. According to the report by the New York Business Journal, the idea was pitched on Tuesday by actors playing as representatives of the Onion News Network. Host Jim Haggerty (played by actor Brad Holbrook) describes Clickhole.com as:
“[A website that's] putting content and sponsored posts side by side, with barely any distinction between them…People will climb into this click hole and find content so interesting they won’t be able to keep it to themselves. Every post is engineered to be as shareable as possible, so it spreads like a deadly wildfire on social media.”
The Biz Journal also reports that some stories previewed from Clickhole.com include:
- Quiz: “Which pizza should I have for dinner tonight?” (presented by Pizza Hut)
- Listicle: “Seven pricks that defied the odds and didn’t go into finance.”
- Video: “What this adorable little girl says will melt your heart.” (It’s actually a cogent explanation of how brands monetize adorable little kids, as spoken by an adorable little kid.)
- Photo Slide: “Six kinds of hay.”
“Nelson Mandela, as he lay on his death bed said, ‘My greatest regret is that I never generated buzz, and expanded my brand’s reach through a cross-promotional digital partnership with a major lifestyle brand with strong appeal among Millennials such as Pringles, or Old Navy. I have wasted my life,'” said an Onion newscaster at Tuesday’s closed-door presentation.
While it’s become all too familiar to make fun of the strategies utilized by BuzzFeed and Upworthy, there’s no denying that their digital strategies have helped both companies grow rapidly in recent years. Just two days ago, it was reported that Disney considered buying BuzzFeed but backed out of talks due to the company’s self-valuation of $1 billion. Similarly this week, Mattermark, which helps investors track fast-growing startups, tweeted that Upworthy is the fastest growing Series-A backed NYC startup. In an age where old media is struggling to make money, The Onion‘s replication of BuzzFeed and Upworthy‘s models is reflective of the greater trend following new media publications.
Fastest Growing Series A Backed New York Startups: 1. Upworthy 2. Digital Ocean 3. Plated 4. Fundbox 5. Locality
— Mattermark (@Mattermark) April 27, 2014
That being said, I’m looking forward to what The Onion has planned for Clickhole.com; I’ve already been refining my clicking skills on the website, and can’t wait for the real thing.