I tend to use a broader definition of clickbait (What is ClickBait?) than most people although Wikipedia has done a pretty good job of describing it. In my personal opinion, it doesn’t have to meet the deception requirement that may be needed for criminal intent. The fact it exploits potential viewers is more than enough for my definition of clickbait.
Without the element of deception, it does not qualify as clickbait. The borderline cases happen when a content creator inserts a very short segment in order to serve as justification for a provocative thumbnail, when the vast majority of the content has nothing to do with this short segment or thumbnail. Here, a strong case for clickbait can be made, as the overriding characteristic is deception for the purpose of exploiting the user.
A good example of minor clickbait is when YouTube shows a photo in the still image of the video that isn’t in the video anywhere – it may or may not meet the deception requirement, but it generally meets the exploitation standard. There are some sites that I no longer visit because they are major clickbait sites. These sites often offer a tease of find out why somebody left a TV show, movie, etc., but then don’t include the reason anywhere in the numerous pages you have to click through. In most cases, you have to click through 20 – 80+ pages that are ad intensive. In many cases, the ads are 1/3 to 2/3 of the content on each of these pages. There is no valid reason to require people to scroll through that many pages when they could have put it on one page.
Switching gears from clickbait to ads, I don’t have a problem with ads as long as there is not malware attached to an ad.
For now, my blog has ads. I make zero money off the ads. My goal is to remove the ads once I can afford a plan to monetize my blog. That’s at least $96/year minimum. At that point, I will add options that you can use or ignore – affiliate links clearly marked as such, PayPal button, etc.
Using Find-A-Grave as an example, there used to be two types of ads on that site once Ancestry initially acquired it. The ones Ancestry puts on to get you to subscribe to various Ancestry products. Then the other ads that a third party vendor was putting on the site. I am not seeing any third party ads right now so maybe they removed them. If they did, they took a serious hit as the amount of money generated by those third party ads were substantial based on the number of page views/day. The big advantage to sponsoring a non-Famous memorial was the removal of ads. In my opinion, it’s worth the $5 it costs to sponsor a memorial.