I thought headlines like these died along with their 'how-to' cousins. Apparently not. Left to these guys, they would probably rewrite the classic Lemon ad with "3389 reasons why a VW is better" (3389 being the number of QC inspectors in those days). You can understand why, though. It's sheer laziness.I mean why go through hours of writing and rewriting when you can easily crank out a bunch of 'X ways to do Y' headlines? You can spend that time more productively, by hitting the like button on cat videos and posting close-up shots of food.
I don't know when it will stop, but it's spreading like a cliche. Close on its heels are the bullet points (bullets don't kill good copy, people do, to coin a phrase). While bullets have their place, they shouldn't be the only way to express one's point of view. But 'the-death-by-bullets' approach is dictated by the 'X ways to do Y' headline. And with the proliferation of online material on every topic by anyone with access to a computer and the internet, coupled with the short-attention span of the audience, it seems decent copy will have to roll over and die.
But you do see decent pieces sprinkled across the web, dodging the bullets so to speak, leading you to believe that there is still hope for well-written articles. Speaking of which, here's a link that you might find useful: http://goo.gl/KczFQJ