TL;DR: Idealog’s best least-read stories of 2015

This year – like most years – we had some great stories…and some not-so-great ones, some well-read stories and some not-so-well-read ones. But, as is often the case, sometimes the greatest of stories don’t reach the greatest number of readers. So, as the year comes to an end, what better time to highlight some of the best stories that didn’t exactly top the charts?

If we were simply going on the most-read story here in the Idealog office (along with our brothers and sisters at Stoppress and The Register) Jonathan Cotton’s ‘If you write it, they will come: the lucrative, titillating and wildly strange business of self-published erotic fiction’ was the clear winner.

Every day for a week, Jonathan had us giggling like school children at a sleepover as he read aloud insane erotica title after insane erotica title. Some of those titles were simply too obscene to be included, but for those interested, they were in the vein of this, this and oh god, this (links highly NSFW, obviously). If you didn’t read it the first time around, you should now. It’s both insightful and hilarious. And arousing. 


Illustration by Jessie Marsh

Also from Jonathan, this rant about technicolour abomination Smiggle was unforgivably ignored (and will probably have new relevance for parents over the Xmas present buying season); and this story, in which he interviewed several psychics in an attempt to gain insight into the future of the digital economy, both failed to fly up the charts. This one, in which he investigated – and got quotes – for several outrageous burial alternatives, and this one, in which he pondered why Mark Zuckerburg was trying to sell him a feminization suit *shudder* took the creep factor all the way up to seven. 

Full disclosure: This comic is not in the story we are spuriously linking it to

Nikki Mandow’s investigation of why the school curriculum is doing a serious injustice to Kiwi kids didn’t get the love it deserved (other than some passion in the comments section), and neither did her recent examination of Mark Zuckerburg’s big donation and the nature of charity in 2015. She brought the rage too, with her cutting piece on why she hates Powerpoint (and why you should too) and we all agreed.

New Idealog deputy editor Henry Oliver took a lot of stick for insisting on writing this emoji-based piece last month , but ultimately emerged triumphant, describing how the humble emoji is, in fact, the new communication method of choice for hyper-connected millennials.

Similarly, one would think a story that a story that advocates alcohol consumption as a crucial addition to one’s exercise regime would generate all the clicks, but it was a case of ‘close but no cigar’ for Henry’s Study of the day: Exercise encourages drinking and that's probably okay.

Likewise Mr. Oliver worked far too hard (if you’re using a cost-per-click analysis) on this piece, examining just what would happen, business-wise, if marijuana was legalised.

Vernon Rive’s recent dispatches from the Paris Climate talks were criminally underread, as was Colin Kennedy’s piece on the relationship between content marketing and the anti-vaxxer movement.

Other dishonourable mentions include Ben Mack’s brave piece on bull semen shampoo, one of the few non-boring TPP pieces out there, Johan Chang’s ‘Blender with a messiah complex’ story and Hutch’s love letter to brutal firings.

You can’t please all the people all the time, but we’ll be back in 2016 to do our best regardless.

Stay safe.

Illustration by Jessie Marsh, except for the Dilbert one which is by Scott Adams