I have a friend, who will go unnamed, who cannot have a conversation without dropping a famous name. It is usually someone this person has met, or at least seen on the street in New York, L.A., or Milan. Occasionally, it is someone they have actually worked with. And while some people are put off by my friend the name-dropping champion of North America, we love it when our faceless friend the internet does the same thing. It drops names. And we click on those names.
At this moment, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens is the name showing up as the hottest in Google Trends. He has a trial starting, and people are interested in his steroid use and his sex life. He used to have a pretty good fastball. Tomorrow it will be someone else, maybe Spitzer or Weiner or Favre. It’s a lot of fun.
It’s also a pretty good way to get some clicks. In my time running content and product for a scholarship website I would have interns who were always reading celebrity gossip online put that time to good use. They could read all the Perez Hilton and ePeople they wanted as long as they also did searches for celebrities whose names were tied to scholarships. They’d check out Google Trends. Find the hottest stories about the day’s hottest celeb. And if we got lucky, match it to a legitimate education scholarship. Needless to say that brought some of the biggest clicks in the history of the site.
Then we hit on the trifecta: Celeb + Scholarship + Death. When Heath Ledger, the Joker in “The Dark Knight”, died of a drug overdose, the interns were all over it. They found a scholarship in his name for Australian actors. Jackpot. Big blog post.
The same was true when Michael Jackson died. He had donated a lot of money for education to many charities. One scholarship seems to be endowed for the foreseeable future. And once again, this story collected hits and repostings for months after his untimely death.
We’re all out there in some shape or form. What happens online stays online. I think Roger Clemens might think about endowing a scholarship.