I read Graywolf’s SEO blog every single time he publishes a new article (I’m subscribed to his RSS feed), so when he wrote a response to Jason Calacanis’ comment about how SEO’s sucked, I had to read it. The article itself is a gem as Graywolf breaks down and critiques Mahalo, a project of Jason’s and bills itself as a community driven search engine. The point of my article though is that linkbait, a tactic to generate inbound links, comes in many forms and insulting someone is one powerful way.
It helps if you’re already relatively well known and people are listening, otherwise you’re insulting someone or something in an empty vacuum. But ultimately what you want to do is elicit an emotional response that compels someone to take action, in this case it is to respond to your post or comment and link to you.
The downside to this is that you may hurt your credibility in the process. Tons of people think Jason is a prick, I have no idea as I’ve never met the guy, so you have to be prepared to irk some people. But irk them enough to post and link.