Two Steps Back…or Clickbait?

In response to my column last week titled, Why Not Newark?, my (smart ass) friend, News Funnel founder Michael Beckerman sent me an article from NJ.com that sited Newark as being named the worst city in the country to start a business.

Frankly, I panicked.  Had I really gotten it that wrong?

What I found was that the rankings were done by a site called WalletHub, which ranked the 150 most populated cities in the United States and used a scoring method that included 13 different categories including five-year survival rate, affordability of space, and education level of the local work force.

Then I looked at the panel that did the rankings. They were all academics. The point being, not people who have started businesses in these cities.

What impacted Newark the most in the rankings were lowest employee availability (ranked 148) and least educated workforce (ranked 146, tied with Detroit).  While it is a negative for these rankings, I would consider the lowest employee availability a sign of a healthy market, while the education of the workforce is certainly an opportunity for improvement.

When I started to comb the list, I found that the rankings didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  New York was ranked 105, San Francisco 130, Washington DC 134, San Jose 142 and Jersey City 149. On the flip side, Shreveport, Louisiana was the top ranked country in the city.  I guess we should all move there and start companies.

I still believe in Newark as a viable market, but that’s not today’s point.

In a time when more and more content is being published electronically, we need to be careful about the sources we trust. Even some of our most trusted news anchors have fallen off of the pedestal recently. It’s not enough simply to just skim an article and repeat the information, especially since web sites are paid based on the traffic to their sites.

I am sure that WalletHub believes in their rankings. And the people at NJ.com did their job by creating a headline that not only had Michael click and read the article, but also forward it. It’s called Clickbait which according to Wikipedia, it’s described as “a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy.”

So, was it real news or just a way to generate clicks?