NFL uses photos of players' loved ones to get more page hits.
On May 1, NFL.com put together a gallery of players' wives and girlfriends and asked readers to compare them. Predictably, this request resulted in demeaning (likely unmoderated) comments. Where do league/team websites draw the line in page hit pandering? What is their responsibility to players?
- Text from front page of NFL.com: "See how Ryan Tannehill's wife, Lauren compares to other notable NFL wives and girlfriends."
Creepy NFL. If you don't think that's creepy, imagine Roger Goodell saying that.
I took a screenshot of the page because: 1. Websites change; 2. I don't like to send page hits to things I think are bad. Negative attention is still attention, but how do you point out things that aren't good without providing more attention to things that aren't good? Always a struggle.
- Not that I really expected to get a response on this. The NFL is too busy disciplining players and making hottie slideshows.
Players can be disciplined "by the commissioner for conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL." Asking fans to compare player's wives and giving them a unmoderated forum to say ugly things? Chock full of integrity.
- And then I got this response on Twitter. From someone who works at NFL.com. Who likely realized he shouldn't have sent this Tweet because he deleted it. I only managed to see it because of the way that UberSocial works--it doesn't delete the posts right away.
The name/avatar has been blacked out for his protection. I can call him a "him" without fear of IDing the guy because as far as I can tell, I don't think there's too many women folks that do things for NFL.com. It's both sad and infuriating.
- I have no interest in getting anyone at the NFL.com in trouble. People sometimes regret things they've put on Twitter and the web. And I understand the pressure to get web traffic. I'm making a minor request that leagues don't feature offensive content on their webpage. I'm guessing players might want fair, non-snarky articles on the league website too.
But just because a brand/author CAN get page hits for something, doesn't mean they SHOULD.
I love the NFL likely more than what is reasonable. They have one of the most established, best brands on the planet, and unique access to stories, and they shouldn't feel the need to tart up their brand to get cheap, offensive page views. With more teams/leagues emphasizing their web presence, I don't know where the line should be drawn on their responsibility of fairness to their players.
It's just creepy that they created this gallery, featured it on their front page, and then chose to promote it with the firehose of their Twitter account.
But if the NFL wants to improve their website performance, I suggest improving their front page organization, make the team pages much better, speed up page loading, making the mobile/tablet and search interface more reader friendly as a start. And make their videos embeddable to the public. In addition, a minor style note for the person running the @NFL Twitter account: If you are referring to a new blog entry, you call it a "new blog post" or "new blog entry." Please do not call it a "new blog" as that refers to the entire blog and not just one post on the blog.
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