5 Reasons Why Lists Are Link Bait (and Popular)

November 20th, 2007 | Categories: blogs, marketing, off topic, social media, strategy, trends

ListTop (insert number) lists are a hot ticket item right now, but their appeal and popularity are getting saturated by an over-abundance of such posts and articles. I’m fairly certain that their seductive powers will soon fade and the trend will slowly die off.

But what is it that makes these posts so enigmatic and enticing? Here are 5 reasons why they we find ourselves constantly clicking and reading these (frequently) useless tidbits:

1. Easy-reading - Lists are bullet points or quick points. You don’t have to hurt your head trying to deal with an in-depth analysis of the newest application framework.

2. Comfort - People find comfort in numbers. A quantifiable list relaxes the nerves. A beginning and an end are apparent.

3. Exclusivity - “I know something you don’t.” People like to be in the know. If you know something others don’t, you have the upper-hand - or at least you think you do (in your mind).

4. Appeal - For the most part, lists tend to be quirky and interesting. This is a far-stretch from tedious newspaper and magazine articles.

5. Sex Factor - Let’s be honest. Lists are sexy. People naturally gravitate toward them. It’s no wonder they’re all over the front page of Digg. Furthermore, they’re a conversation piece. Lists are often easy to remember and provide huge gossip value.

Note: If you fail to recognize the irony in this post and choose to scorn me in the comments, it’s your own fault.


  1. eddie Says:

    Have had the same thought and agree with the article.
    Another site supporting this beautifully would be del.icio.us :)


  2. Blog Marketing Says:

    Lists will always be popular with people who are looking for lists. I look for resource lists every week on one topic or another. When I find a good one, I get all happy inside and sometimes recommend it in a list of good lists on MY blog.

    If done properly and not as a simple “me too” duplicate list found somewhere else, lists will always be popular.

  3. Erik Says:

    what about beta version lists utilizing roman numerals?

  4. Mark Evans Says:

    If you really want ironic, check out this blog:

    http://www.fourreasonswhy.com, which is a blog entirely devoted to lists - the only one of its kind, I think.

  5. Four (or Five!) Reasons Why » ….This Blog Should be Rockin’ Says:

    […] 4. They can be written quickly, often with little research. Hey, why do you think this blog is devoted to lists? 5. Lists are “sexy” - so says Aiden Henry, among the other things he had to say about lists. We take issue with his contention lists are link bait because if that was true Four Reasons Why would have hundreds, no thousands of RSS subscribers; we’d be the next Boing Boing; and we’d be cashing in huge AdSense checks…or something like that. […]

  6. Rudy Says:

    What I need is a Wordpress plugin that does the Top 10 list where it actually does a numbered list backwards (from 10 to 1).

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