Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet Observation

With my book finally heading into the final stages (I'm reviewing the index today and it goes to the printer next month), I've been trying to figure out what to do next. We will travel again and it would be fun to write another book. In the meantime, I'd like to be able to work from anywhere in the world (so something I can do online), but it would be nice to have something that pays somewhat regularly. Porn is not an option... I've got a pretty good following on this blog (thanks guys) and know I could make $ with it, but don't have it in me to get local businesses to put ads on it. I can't even get them to tell me their operating hours. I could go the Adsense route but hate to bog my blogsite down with links to unrelated ads (do people really click on them?). (Alex, I haven't forgotten about you). After some research, I am not liking how I'm seeing the internet work these days. It's been awhile since I've had a rant, and maybe the cold, rainy weather is bringing this on, but here goes.

I've noticed this before, but on Friday the 13th, I did a search to find any good things that happened on such a day. I found many hits, which made it look like the internet was just chock full of ideas, until I actually clicked on each hit and saw that they pretty much all said the exact same thing (and acted like the info was original - I at least tag back to the source). They all referred to the same 5 boring so-called positive things that had happened on Friday 13...ever.  Really? Over thousands of years, the only thing every single website could come up with was that the Olsen twins were born on such a day? Of course, they could come up with something else, but they weren't trying to be informative, they were trying to make easy $. The way this works is that people figure out what others will search on, like "good things on Friday the 13th," and then create a webpage rephrasing what some other website said about the subject. Why? Because if they stick a bunch of links on the page to ads, they make $. They get $ just because you clicked on their website and more $ if you click on a link within it.  Pretty simple. It also made the world wide web seem awfully small.

I've been trying to find a decent face cream, and ran across Kollagen Intensive (on a website that seemed trustworthy, although I notice the recommendation isn't there anymore). Since it would replace all creams, I thought it was reasonably priced. I couldn't find one single legitimate review on the thing, but bought it anyway. It's all natural, so even when it sweats into my eyes there's no sting and it's been great for acne. As far as wrinkles though, boo...hiss. I think I have more wrinkles, age spots, and less skin elasticity than I did before (and that's the most honest review you'll see anywhere online). Since the idea is that it makes your own body create collagen, it supposedly can take up to 3 months for you to see any results, so I'll give it one more month. What's bugging me though, is that I've tried yet again to find any real reviews on the product and am amazed that although there are pages and pages of commentary, every single one of them is solely to drive you back to the product's true webpage. Most conveniently have their comment options closed so true users can't say anything. One website says that while they were doing research they came across several user reviews and even quoted them. Hogwash! There are no such reviews and that web-writer just made them up. And 99% of the web-writers hadn't even used the product themselves. The product manufacturer must be paying a fortune for such links, because there are many. Has anyone other than me actually used this product? A few sites even just repeat the words for Product X itself every other word in a form of gibberish (X went to X loving X before X hilarious X), just so the article would come up first on a search engine when the product name was searched for. All they need is someone to click on the link, see it's crap, and go back out. Poof, they've just made some $. This is garbage. How about these search engine companies hire me to find this drivel and they archive those pages into oblivion?

Last year, someone asked me to write short paragraphs/summaries about all kinds of stupid subjects. I didn't have to be an expert on any of them. I'd get paid about $5 per article. I wasn't to spend more than 5 minutes on each. Easy money? Sure. But I refused to do it on principle. The articles said nothing (how to stay hydrated - drink lots of water!), and were meant solely to generate income to the website holder every time someone clicked on their site hoping to actually learn something about a certain subject. Shoot, if I were going to do that, I'd make sure the links were making me money. Thanks to this stupidity, the web is now full of absolute, unoriginal rubbish. Repetitive gibberish, that does nothing to educate. Sure there's good stuff out there, but you have to weed through the crap to get to it. And it ticks me off that every time I click on one of those "nothing" websites, I just made $ for someone. Sure, I can just join the club, but I'm not that desperate. This stuff is the utmost form of laziness and I just can't do it.

There are internet jobs offering people like me to research keywords so that the webpage owner can then stick those keywords somewhere in their website (even the if the site has nothing to do with said keyword) and drum up more $. Why can't the search engines figure out how they're being manipulated and clean this stuff up?  Ads, in and of themselves aren't evil, and I'm not adverse to putting them on my website if I feel they're providing a service to my readers (in fact, I hope that several websites promote my book when the time comes), but it just seems like there's a line being crossed. I've been offered free meals to write-up restaurants but have turned them down because I wanted to feel open to say what I wanted about the experience. Maybe I'm just naive, but much of this seems like cheating. Like Romney (and other supposedly overtaxed job creators) taking all his earnings in stocks so they're taxed as capital gains instead of income... (so he pays less than the middle class - you know, the job doers, product buyers, and economy drivers). I guess my scruples will keep me poor for a while longer.  I'm a good writer (and researcher) and I will find a way to make it work for me, but I won't sell out my website or my readership in the process.  If any of you know something I don't about this stuff, do share.  Surely I can educate and/or entertain and make $. Any comments are welcome.