She replied with a beach/ocean analogy. She said if she'd written a blog or posted a video about a day at the beach, then it would be wrong to use a title like SHARK ATTACK! and include a thumbnail of a shark to try to draw people in. She said that's a "scam" and it would be much better, and more honest, to post a picture of herself in a bikini and use a title more like MY DAY AT THE BEACH.
I thought "scam" was too strong a word for that scenario. Marketing of any kind needs to be truthful, yes ... but the very essence of marketing is to "stretch the truth" just enough to pique people's interest so they click on your link.
I used her beach analogy again. I said she could easily (ethically) use the title SHARK ATTACK! in the same scenario, along with a thumbnail of a shark fin, if she made the story about her sunbathing on the beach and suddenly being shocked by seeing a shark fin out in the ocean only to realize, after the fact, that it was just some kids playing with a shark fin toy. She could then discuss the pros and cons of kids playing with shark fin toys in a public beach area, how it might give Grandpa an unnecessary heart attack, and then go on to talk about all the other sights and sounds from her relaxing day at the beach. That will bring in more readers than MY DAY AT THE BEACH ever will ... unless the bikini picture is downright amazing. I suppose, at the end of the day, sex sells as well as sharks do. Maybe even better.
Where's your line on this "marketing ethics" scale? And why?