The folks at Longform.org celebrate its second birthday by analyzing the most popular stories among the 2,805 that have been posted so far. Though the term “long-form” spur visions of New Yorker dandy Eustace Tilley, sex and murder are actually some of the most popular topics.
Turns out that it doesn’t really matter what kind of content you’re talking about—video, pics, 5,000-word features—sex on the internet is still sex on the internet. Stories in the sex category were nine times as likely to end up among the year’s most read. Looking for an even more sure-fire way to make the list? Write a story about porn. We’ve posted 18 of them in two years—twelve cracked a Top 50.
On the whole, crime stories aren’t much more popular than the average article on Longform—they make up 17% of the total database and 19% of the Top 50 lists. But if the crime is murder, the reads skyrocket. Pieces about a killing (or multiple killings or accidental killings or killers for hire) are three times as likely to be read.