Canpages Using Link Bait in their Blog?

Last February, I sent kudos to Canpages (a Canadian independent directory company) for using their company blog to increase brand awareness and online street cred for the Canpages.ca web site. When you’re competing against Yellow Pages Group (full disclosure: I used to work at YPG), you need every weapon in your arsenal. Their best success (in terms of virality) had been this blog post about “Weird Canadian Restaurants” and I thought that was a very clever way of using a merchant listing database. Using that model, I can think of hundreds of interesting blog posts to write to promote the Canpages brand.

So, it’s with curiosity I went back to the blog today to see what they had cooked up in the last couple of months. As soon as I hit the first page of the blog, my mouth dropped open… The latest blog post’s title is… Celebrity Limo Crotch Shot Analysis. Other than the post being tagged with “Canadian Limousines”, how is this related to small merchants, to Canpages or to the directory business? I officially call link bait on that last post. It’s very disappointing as I don’t think it’s a good long term use of social media. Guys, you can do better than that.

Canpages blog link bait

20 thoughts on “Canpages Using Link Bait in their Blog?

  1. More interesting is that the original post had risque screenshots of all the people (Britney etc) that showed their goods over the last year with a star placed strategically over their parts.

    A few days later, Canpages removed those revealing pics and toned it down to the current post. I’m onboard 100% for corporate blogging, but was very surprised when I saw this latest post as it’s clearly not in good taste.

  2. More interesting is that the original post had risque screenshots of all the people (Britney etc) that showed their goods over the last year with a star placed strategically over their parts.

    A few days later, Canpages removed those revealing pics and toned it down to the current post. I’m onboard 100% for corporate blogging, but was very surprised when I saw this latest post as it’s clearly not in good taste.

  3. when your last months mediametrix results indicate a traffic of only 750,000 unique visitors and your main competitor directories hit the 7,500,000 mark on the same ground….maybe this is the kind of things you try to do in order to catch-up..Does it provide value to your advertisers ? absolutely not…full disclosure: I am the VP marketing of this main competitor, the Yellow Pages group.

  4. when your last months mediametrix results indicate a traffic of only 750,000 unique visitors and your main competitor directories hit the 7,500,000 mark on the same ground….maybe this is the kind of things you try to do in order to catch-up..Does it provide value to your advertisers ? absolutely not…full disclosure: I am the VP marketing of this main competitor, the Yellow Pages group.

  5. Hey guys. I’m the CEO of NVI, and we do work with Canpages.

    @concerned: thanks for your feedback. You are actually right and it’s interesting that you noticed the difference. We did make the change because we felt the same way you did and felt it didn’t belong there!

    @jean-pascal: the goal of this content is aimed at visitors, not advertisers. As you can see, there is no banners neither any advertising model in there at all, neither any revenue generated from that blog besides the content it provides to entertain some of our users. And, as far as traffic is concerned, I think it will be an interesting thing to look over the next few months to see how both companies rivalize with each other🙂

    @seb: just for your info, this post was never submitted to digg and wasn’t intented for digg either😉

    ++

  6. Hey guys. I’m the CEO of NVI, and we do work with Canpages.

    @concerned: thanks for your feedback. You are actually right and it’s interesting that you noticed the difference. We did make the change because we felt the same way you did and felt it didn’t belong there!

    @jean-pascal: the goal of this content is aimed at visitors, not advertisers. As you can see, there is no banners neither any advertising model in there at all, neither any revenue generated from that blog besides the content it provides to entertain some of our users. And, as far as traffic is concerned, I think it will be an interesting thing to look over the next few months to see how both companies rivalize with each other🙂

    @seb: just for your info, this post was never submitted to digg and wasn’t intented for digg either😉

    ++

  7. @jean-pascal: I don’t think that’s a desperation move. NVI is a smart SEO/SMO shop and I suspect they’re experimenting to see what sticks and what doesn’t. I thought that was way over the line and that’s why I called them out.

    @guillaume: you don’t need Digg in the picture to call link bait.😉

  8. @jean-pascal: I don’t think that’s a desperation move. NVI is a smart SEO/SMO shop and I suspect they’re experimenting to see what sticks and what doesn’t. I thought that was way over the line and that’s why I called them out.

    @guillaume: you don’t need Digg in the picture to call link bait.😉

  9. Hiya. I’m the one that actually wrote that post.

    Sebastien has it exactly right. The post was an attempt at experimentation with some limit pushing, but actually attempting to make a genuine, however edgy, marketing point. Celebrities are (self-)marketing juggernauts, and this post was an attempt to address the effects of celebrity shock attention within a broader current deplorable context of DUI/limo exit/drug use = exposure. Even with celebrity news treated as actual news in much of our mainstream media, I mistakenly did a piece on the effects of the worst of the Hollywood Machine. It is a topic which I still consider to be worth discussing, and a post still worth reading, but I admit it requires a much more neutral platform. This wasn’t about less about shock exposure for Canpages, and more about shock exposure of celebrities and an analytical discussion.

    The rest of the blog’s content (and, in fact, our most successful content on that blog) has been completely clean. One thing we have noticed, though, is that controversial/edgy content often does well to incite discussion, leaving much to talk about, and an easy opportunity for humourous commentary. As Guillaume mentioned, the content was written to entertain visitors, not sell advertising.

    The web has, generally, been slightly more liberal in the suggestive nature of its advertising content. I, personally, anticipate more risque material emerging in the years to come, and more tolerance to follow. For now, though, we’ll keep it clean(er).😉

  10. Hiya. I’m the one that actually wrote that post.

    Sebastien has it exactly right. The post was an attempt at experimentation with some limit pushing, but actually attempting to make a genuine, however edgy, marketing point. Celebrities are (self-)marketing juggernauts, and this post was an attempt to address the effects of celebrity shock attention within a broader current deplorable context of DUI/limo exit/drug use = exposure. Even with celebrity news treated as actual news in much of our mainstream media, I mistakenly did a piece on the effects of the worst of the Hollywood Machine. It is a topic which I still consider to be worth discussing, and a post still worth reading, but I admit it requires a much more neutral platform. This wasn’t about less about shock exposure for Canpages, and more about shock exposure of celebrities and an analytical discussion.

    The rest of the blog’s content (and, in fact, our most successful content on that blog) has been completely clean. One thing we have noticed, though, is that controversial/edgy content often does well to incite discussion, leaving much to talk about, and an easy opportunity for humourous commentary. As Guillaume mentioned, the content was written to entertain visitors, not sell advertising.

    The web has, generally, been slightly more liberal in the suggestive nature of its advertising content. I, personally, anticipate more risque material emerging in the years to come, and more tolerance to follow. For now, though, we’ll keep it clean(er).😉

  11. Le rayonnement Web est un des seul exercice ou ceux avec moins d’expérience s’évertuent à faire des choses compliquées, alors que les ceux avec de l’expérience visent à faire les choses simplement. C’est que c’est compliqué de faire simple.

  12. Le rayonnement Web est un des seul exercice ou ceux avec moins d’expérience s’évertuent à faire des choses compliquées, alors que les ceux avec de l’expérience visent à faire les choses simplement. C’est que c’est compliqué de faire simple.

  13. Guillaume
    J’ai beaucoup de respect pour NVI, tout comme mon ami Sébastien et j’aimerais d’ailleurs travailler avec cette fort intéressante entreprise, sauf bien sur si elle es liée par un ccntrat d’exclusivité avec Canpages…et pour avoir moi-même parfois poussé les limites, je me vois mal placé pour lui faire la leçon…je vais d’ailleurs essayer moi aussi sous peu de nouvelles stratégies pour augmenter mon reach, mais sans altérer l’image du Groupe Pages Jaunes…C’est la beauté de l’internet, il y a tellement de possibilités et tellement de nouvelles solutions à exploiter…

  14. Guillaume
    J’ai beaucoup de respect pour NVI, tout comme mon ami Sébastien et j’aimerais d’ailleurs travailler avec cette fort intéressante entreprise, sauf bien sur si elle es liée par un ccntrat d’exclusivité avec Canpages…et pour avoir moi-même parfois poussé les limites, je me vois mal placé pour lui faire la leçon…je vais d’ailleurs essayer moi aussi sous peu de nouvelles stratégies pour augmenter mon reach, mais sans altérer l’image du Groupe Pages Jaunes…C’est la beauté de l’internet, il y a tellement de possibilités et tellement de nouvelles solutions à exploiter…

  15. If the previous celebrity crotchshot post wasn’t bad enough …

    Now the latest post on Canpages blog.. All about drugs now..

    “I read an interesting article arguing that Moses might have been high as a kite when receiving the ten commandments up on Mount Sinai.”

    If I was an advertiser I would run. This type of content has NO PLACE on a site like Canpages.

    Link-baiting maybe, inappropriate 100%. What is the management team at Canpages thinking?

    I hate the idea of any editorial control when it comes to blogging, but someone over there needs to stop smoking all day and figure out a little better content strategy.

  16. If the previous celebrity crotchshot post wasn’t bad enough …

    Now the latest post on Canpages blog.. All about drugs now..

    “I read an interesting article arguing that Moses might have been high as a kite when receiving the ten commandments up on Mount Sinai.”

    If I was an advertiser I would run. This type of content has NO PLACE on a site like Canpages.

    Link-baiting maybe, inappropriate 100%. What is the management team at Canpages thinking?

    I hate the idea of any editorial control when it comes to blogging, but someone over there needs to stop smoking all day and figure out a little better content strategy.

  17. Thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry you found the post disappointing. On the Canpages blog, we enjoy covering a wide variety of aspects about a wide variety of topics, and some topics appeal to some people more than others.

    Hallucinogenic substances have played a significant role in human history. Aside from ritual use, recent experts have even speculated that the earliest cave paintings at sites like Lascaux, ancient art seen as the birth of human creativity, were hallucinogenic experiences. As an aside, this theory helped unify the presence of patterns like zig-zags (which are the result of low-level entoptic hallucinogenic experiences) with animals (extremely significant elements of their daily lives, likely to populate a hallucinogenic experience). For more on this, I recommend The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art, by David Lewis-Williams. As the blog post describes, they have been a part of many societies the world over, so an utter principled condemnation seems a bit culturally aggressive.

    Essentialy, the article was meant to be both informative and fun. Not teenagers in a park fun, but quirky learning fun:

    “Aside from its medicinal qualities, the Chibcha Indians of Colombia were using [the angel’s trumpet] quite differently during the 16th century. Whenever a chief would die, his women and slaves would be anesthetized so that they could be buried (quieted, but alive) with the departed. Creepy.”

    Call that “linkbait” if you like; we find it to be just enjoyable reading.

    All to say, a moratorium on mentioning the cultural place and effects of natural hallucinogens seems a bit overly puritan. Grown adults can have a conversation about hallucinogenic flowers without reading an implied condoning of their use as a narcotic. The tone of the article was far from encouraging their use, and the author was happy to include negative effects and overdose scenarios.

    Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, not only are these flowers just about nowhere to be found in popular culture anyway, but the Devil’s Trumpet, Belladonna, and many other hallucinogenic flowers in and out of the Canpages post are not even illegal.

    Perhaps a shock response to an article “all about drugs” makes for a compelling, albeit inflammatory, blog comment. While we’re not afraid to be provocative, I wouldn’t even consider this post an example. Overall, we’re pleased with our articles and confident in our content strategy, but always welcome constructive feedback.

  18. Thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry you found the post disappointing. On the Canpages blog, we enjoy covering a wide variety of aspects about a wide variety of topics, and some topics appeal to some people more than others.

    Hallucinogenic substances have played a significant role in human history. Aside from ritual use, recent experts have even speculated that the earliest cave paintings at sites like Lascaux, ancient art seen as the birth of human creativity, were hallucinogenic experiences. As an aside, this theory helped unify the presence of patterns like zig-zags (which are the result of low-level entoptic hallucinogenic experiences) with animals (extremely significant elements of their daily lives, likely to populate a hallucinogenic experience). For more on this, I recommend The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art, by David Lewis-Williams. As the blog post describes, they have been a part of many societies the world over, so an utter principled condemnation seems a bit culturally aggressive.

    Essentialy, the article was meant to be both informative and fun. Not teenagers in a park fun, but quirky learning fun:

    “Aside from its medicinal qualities, the Chibcha Indians of Colombia were using [the angel’s trumpet] quite differently during the 16th century. Whenever a chief would die, his women and slaves would be anesthetized so that they could be buried (quieted, but alive) with the departed. Creepy.”

    Call that “linkbait” if you like; we find it to be just enjoyable reading.

    All to say, a moratorium on mentioning the cultural place and effects of natural hallucinogens seems a bit overly puritan. Grown adults can have a conversation about hallucinogenic flowers without reading an implied condoning of their use as a narcotic. The tone of the article was far from encouraging their use, and the author was happy to include negative effects and overdose scenarios.

    Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, not only are these flowers just about nowhere to be found in popular culture anyway, but the Devil’s Trumpet, Belladonna, and many other hallucinogenic flowers in and out of the Canpages post are not even illegal.

    Perhaps a shock response to an article “all about drugs” makes for a compelling, albeit inflammatory, blog comment. While we’re not afraid to be provocative, I wouldn’t even consider this post an example. Overall, we’re pleased with our articles and confident in our content strategy, but always welcome constructive feedback.

  19. It’s interesting that Jean Pascal Lion keeps quoting number of visitors for yellow pages group and not the number of searches for businesses.We all know that ypg now includes trader and so on and just adding those numbers doesn’t give anything of value to their advertisers of traditional goods and services.Its also interesting to note how many salespeople and telemarketers use yp.ca to prospect,showing yet again big numbers of zero value to their advertisers. Way to go misinforming and misleading, and it’s quite gross to see ypg (a la jpl) stooping to that level to dis Canpages.

  20. It’s interesting that Jean Pascal Lion keeps quoting number of visitors for yellow pages group and not the number of searches for businesses.We all know that ypg now includes trader and so on and just adding those numbers doesn’t give anything of value to their advertisers of traditional goods and services.Its also interesting to note how many salespeople and telemarketers use yp.ca to prospect,showing yet again big numbers of zero value to their advertisers. Way to go misinforming and misleading, and it’s quite gross to see ypg (a la jpl) stooping to that level to dis Canpages.

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