At around 5 p.m. Monday, as many in New York City fled for home, Fusion posted a video titled "20 Reasons You Shouldn't Work At BuzzFeed"—which quickly made the rounds.
The #Snowmageddon of 2015. That was when the great Buzzfeed-Fusion wars began.
— Prof. Jeff Jarvis (@ProfJeffJarvis) January 27, 2015
The animated short, which was meant to be a preview of a new show called Like, Share, Die, features a room full of BuzzFeed's iconic stickers come to life and being berated by their boss, a moustachioed red "viral uplift" badge. He drones on and on about clickbait and lists, even taking jabs at other media outlets.
"Clicks, clicks—we need clicks—and we need clicks NOW!" he yells. "If we're not constantly getting more clicks, then we might as well be Digg.com. Remember them? I didn't think so!"
Even if there's probably some truth in the depiction, it still felt like a cheap shot at a rival company with a similar audience. On second watch, it reads like a roast—except for the part where the roastee gets to laugh and fire back.
In any case, it was met with a blizzard of derision from almost everybody. And oddly enough, even Fusion ended up backtracking—changing the title of the video to "A Day in the Life of BuzzFeed?" and posting the following explanation:
Check out some of the tweets below, and let this be a cautionary tale to media companies thinking of making weirdly jealous, unfunny attacks on rivals in hopes of scoring a viral hit.
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 26, 2015
It appears some cartoons on Fusion are very angry about Buzzfeed. That feeling is not widely shared here.
— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) January 26, 2015
Fusion may have attacked Buzzfeed but the real victims are all of us who have to fucking hear about it for the next week.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) January 26, 2015
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) January 26, 2015
For the record, I love Buzzfeed and Digg and it's a hard g.
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) January 26, 2015
lol yeah buzzfeed's newsroom is run by noted old-guy-with-bushy-mustache @shani_o
— Rusty Foster (@rustyk5) January 26, 2015
Back in my day being satirized meant you'd made it, was a badge of honor http://t.co/6sjh6fMoh5
— Christopher Mims (@mims) January 26, 2015
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) January 26, 2015
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) January 26, 2015
Also in that video why is @BuzzFeedBen played by Spiderman's boss?
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) January 26, 2015
TIL only 8 people work at Buzzfeed, and all of them are anthropomorphic circles who say their own names like Pokemon https://t.co/DRkBl7avVd
— Party Skeleton (@BryanDisagrees) January 26, 2015
Even if this was better written and better produced, it's still super, super tasteless http://t.co/YMIVHuKPXR
— Jared Keller (@jaredbkeller) January 26, 2015
wait is the buzzfeed video so unfunny that it's funny again i legitimately cannot tell
— Taylor Hatmaker (@tayhatmaker) January 26, 2015
Actually the cutest thing about that Fusion video is all the people who work at competing companies sticking up for BuzzFeed.
— Sabrina Majeed (@sabrina) January 26, 2015
1 Reason to Work at Fusion pic.twitter.com/yiGfX8hNwX
— Jake Swearingen (@JakeSwearingen) January 26, 2015