The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue isn’t the only time of the year that SI sells sex. The publishing company does it twice every week day on their “Extra Mustard” page, a rip off of the now defunct ESPN Page 2, with their SI Hot Clicks feature managed by Jimmy Traina. It’s a content amalgam or link round-up, in which very little is written but lots of outbound linking is done. It’s not the only one, but it’s the biggest one; although Yardbarker and The Big Lead round-up aren’t far behind.
As you might expect, this is REALLY the place you want to have your posts linked if you’re a sports blogger, so naturally the people in charge receive hundreds of submissions a day and never return your emails. SI Hot Clicks is different though, because they have the power of a major established brand behind them, and they can leak their own stuff first. Like they did this week with the Katherine Webb SI Swimsuit issue and the Kate Upton body paint pics. SI Hot Clicks runs twice a day and features a “Lovely Lady of the Day.” They also must have some kind of corporate deal with Jimmy Kimmel because they post his videos incessantly.
Now I’m the last person in the world to ever yell objectification or sexism at another sports website (well maybe Busted Coverage because it is literally a T&A website thinly disguised as a sports blog) And of course, I’m the last person to criticize another site for using pictures of attractive women to boost page views, which boosts ad impressions/revenue. That’s not exploitative, it’s just good business. What I am criticizing Traina for, and pretty much most link collection/content aggregators, is being unoriginal and dumbing us down.
It seems almost everyday each site is talking about the same stuff, and it’s usually just funny pics, videos of buzzer beaters, previews from the supermodel’s latest photo shoot. It’s simplistic, and sometimes there’s some photo/video bombing thrown in there for good measure. It’s often lowest common denominator stuff and it’s certainly not journalism. It’s “posting” not "writing.”
Anyone can do this. Unless it’s something exclusive and breaking, there is no meritocracy to whose link gets chosen and receives thousands of page views versus those left out in the cold who receive no extra boost. I’ve spoken with some of the men who make the decisions on who gets linked and it’s all arbitrary and capricious. Because after all, it seems like almost every sports blog is doing the same thing. You have to report any time a hot woman “breaks the internet,” as in television catches her in the crowd and thousands of horny bastards at home search for her. EX: Katherine Webb, Lauren Tannehill (Lauren Ufer). And then television, print and radio catch on later. And from then on anytime the “it girl” ex: Jenn Sterger, Jenn Brown, Erin Andrews, Ines Sainz, Samantha Steele does ANYTHING you must post on it.
And since everyone is doing it, who gives Traina the right to decide which post is worthy or not? Cuz he’s a Yankees fan who slobbers over his friend Erin Andrews sometimes on Twitter? And the same goes for the other link collection managers, why are they deemed our sports and pop culture gods?
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Chicago Now
A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.