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A perfect example of click bait in content marketing: Apple Pay

What is click-bait?

Click-bait is the common practice of misleading users into clicking on a link, by using social engineering. It's essentially a form of social fraud.

If you think click-baiting is "not so bad", picture me walking up to you, telling you that your car has been totaled.

Just as you get that sinking feeling in your guts, i tell you where your car is.

You rush to the location, only to find your car, without a scratch on it.

Then i walk in and ask you if you want to buy insurance.

The difference is, if it's online, you can't punch me through a concrete wall like the Incredible Hulk.

A great example of click bait: Apple Pay

This just in: journalists and pundits alike have found a new thing they love to hate, and that is Apple Pay.

The technology, introduced recently by Apple, is meant to simplify and secure payment processing at physical retailers' checkout, by eliminating the need to disclose credit card information during transactions. This is accomplished through a one-time use token, which is sent to a checkout terminal, by means of encrypted wireless communication.

No system is hacker-proof, but from a security standpoint, nothing is comparable to Apple Pay. Yet, the click-nait community has found a way to put words like "fraud" and "hacked", in the same headline as Apple Pay. Well, the people loveth a good bashing, whether it's justified, or completely made up, so why don't we give them what they want?

Apple Pay, hacked. Did that even happen?

No. Sorry folks. Apple Pay has not been hacked, and it's just as secure as Tim Cook has been drumming it since its roll-out. Using Apple Pay at checkout will not result in your credit card being stolen. The method of authentication is clear as day: a random token is generated for every transaction, and is then rendered useless once the transaction is complete. That simple.

What did happen, then?

Bloggers and pundits have been firing out headlines blaming Apple Pay, because credit cards numbers were stolen at the time that they were entered in the system.

Turns out, that's only half of the story. In fact, banking institutions are the ones that shold be telling the story. Adding a credit card to Apple Pay is a process that is entirely controlled by the card issuer. I repeat: Authentication of any cards that is added to Apple Pay, or any other digital wallet, is entirely the card issuer's responsibility.

The methods hackers have used to steal the information, is hardly Apple's fault, no matter how hard we wish it could be, this is a simple case of identity theft, of the most boring kind.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Hackers penetrate large retailers databases like Target or Macy's, like they have been doing a billion and half times only in the last five years.
  • Credit cards are stolen from those databases
  • Credit cards are added into the hackers iPhones's Apple Pay app, using the faulty, glitchy, insecure authentication methods used by the card issuers.
  • Apple Pay gets the blame, all over the Internet.

In 0.66 seconds, a Google search for "Apple Pay hacked" has returned 380 results, with nearly half of those results specific to Apple Pay.

This means, almost 200 websites, reporting false information. As a reader, how does that make you feel?

If you love click-bait, Google is about to give your cage a good rattle

Recently, Google has been experimenting with a new fact-based ranking system, which ranks websites according to the amount of true, or false information published.

According to the most recent analysis, many top sites, currently faring very well, with viewership numbers in the realm of tens of millions, might some day plunge into obscurity. Websites such as TMZ, Gawker and, well, virtually every news site on the planet, is likely to be affected.

If you think Google is not going to give this bad boy a test run in the real world, think again: Matt Cutts has been working extra hard to find a way to weed spam from Google's search results, and if the experimental algorhythm is a success, we could be looking at the mother of all Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds, rolled into one.




Click bait is how spammers found their way into content marketing. It's the titled, subtitled, excerpted, 500 words equivalent of a pop-up ad, and this is why it's poison for the web.




7th March, 2015


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