adj. Relating to a link that has been designed, often with misleading or sensational text, to entice a person to click.
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Gianotto's day job entails managing technology for a New York City based creative agency called Noise—and that requires her to spend a lot of time on Facebook. There, she said, the clickbaity headlines just came "one after another after another," to the point where borrowing common phrases from the viral content "became a running joke because it was so frequent."
—Christine Lagord-Chafkin, “Clickbait Bites. Downworthy Is Actually Doing Something About It,” Inc., January 27, 2014
To the average online journalist, few words are as irksome as the clinical and ill-defined "content." Everything on the internet is content, which means a reblogged chart about millenials [sic] with a clickbaity title is lumped into the same category as a yearlong investigation into New York City homelessness.
—Alex Litel, “'This Haunts Me at Night': The Man Behind ViralNova on the Viral Bubble,” The Wire, January 15, 2014
2009 (earliest)
Reason magazine compiled the "The 10 most absurd Time magazine covers from the last 40 years" and the coverlines feel downright clickbait-y if you ask us.
—Nicholas Carlson, “'The 10 Most Absurd Time Magazine Covers From The Last 40 years',” Business Insider, June 12, 2009
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