I am making local directories for towns in the Mountain West. What I do is follow links from sites and see where it goes. I've pretty much lost interest in the project. I admit, in the early days of the net, I was really excited to see all the different designs and artistic works that the internet would inspire. Rather than finding inspiring designs, it seems that the net is filled with less than inspiring marketing efforts and a blogosphere of political sites designed to rip our society into warring camps. Although the technology for designing web sites has improved dramatically, I am not seeing the jump in quality that I had been expecting.
Anyway, I decide to work on adding new sites to my directories for the weekend. I found one site that made my stomache sink, and one that gave me a little bit of hope.
Lets start with the crappy site. I came across some internet spittle called Quit Your Day Job. The site has the bad advise that people should stop being usefully employed and become affiliate marketers. For $50 you can buy an ebook on a strategy for doing a thing called keyword squatting.
Keyword squatting is a zero sum game. What you do is check web search stats. You then find keywords that you want to capture. You then designs a nest of web sites, blogs, etc., that feature the keyword prominently. You might do things like spamming guestbooks, directories, etc., to get links with your keyword. If your keyword strategy scores you a high position on Google, you will get traffic that you can funnel to a merchant. Of course, you are competing with thousands of others playing the same game.
Although keyword squatting makes a little money for some people, I contend that it is a zero sum game. All the keyword spammer does is nest themself between Google and a merchant. When a keyword spammer dies, another keyword spammer moves into his place. This industry creates a ton of useless whitenoise.
It might actually be a negative sum game. I've deleted well over 100,000 fake forum posts, fake directory and guestbook entries from people doing the keyword scam thing.
The idea of people leaving worthwhile jobs to waste them time on this sort of crap made me feel sad. This wank taking $50 to steer people in this direction is even more disheartening.
A little later in the day, I find a post on newspapergrl about phil801. This phil guy has been working feverishly to get people to link their blogs together. He's hosted UtahBlogger conferences and what not. Janet's post indicates that this phil guy is working himself into a comma on schemes to fill large data servers with massive stores of keywords and links. She wishes him well in the effort and notes that if anyone can make it at the affiliate game, Phil801 can.
IMHO, Affiliate marketing has turned out to be a crooked, backwards industry. The marketers driving the industry punish people who try to add value and steer them into making spam and white noise.
Here I was hoping that the internet would open open up people's artistic instincts. Instead we we have a big web filled with different mechanisms to generate gigabytes of keywords.
So, I was feeling in the dumps.
I read several political blogs that were trying to spin every word on Fox News this way and that depending on the blogger's agenda.
Political blogging has proven itself as disappointing as affiliate marketing. Political blogging works by people making outlandish posts. If you spew forth with a new and clever way to attack Hillary or Bush, then either Conservative or Liberal bloggers will link to you. The whole linking structure in the political arena simple magnifies partisanship. Political blogs tend to link in ways that favors the most partisan sites. Liberals who see a balanced site will not link to it thinking it conservative. Likewise conservatives would see the same site as liberal.
The political sites made me feel down.
Feeling bad about the affiliate sites and political sites. I decided to visit some real business sites. I ended up landing on the site for Central Valley Machine up in Logan. This company machines parts for the aerospace industry.
My heart lifted. It is in engineering and manufacturing industries that have the really exciting jobs. The advances in material sciences and massive improvement in product quality are amazing. Design technology has reached new levels of sophistication.
While our mass culture is trying to draw people into low end activities like political blogging and affiliate marketing, the really exciting stuff is still going on under the radar. Probably the worst mistake of our country is that we are letting manufacturing and design jobs go abroad while we quit our day jobs and while our time creating white noise with political blogs and internet marketing.
CVM INC has pictures of some of the parts they've machined. In my mind, these things are beautiful. Aerospace has traditionally been the industry that pushes design on all levels. Looking at the parts, you can see that there is a lot more going on with these things than simple workmanship. I suspect that engineers have studied the stress in these pieces to tweak the maximum performance. The Machine Build page has a few pictures of some radical machine tools. The United States used to be the leader in the machine tool biz, but we let it escape. Our public schools teaches us all that we will become sports stars, rock stars or paradise shifting pundits. The real advances of our culture are in hard science and engineering.
The highlight of the Central Valley Machine page is titled Thrill Ride. The intricate aerospace parts get assembled into interesting machines like airplanes and the thrill rides at amusement parks. As amusement parks compete to attract throngs of teens and their parent's dollars, they push the envelope of design.
Quite frankly, this tech stuff is way beyond the internet.
There is a point to this post.
The media is bombarding us with messages that gear people in the wrong direction.
When we come out of school, we all have the illusion that we will become rock stars, sports stars or paradigm shifting pundits.
As we find our dreams falling short, we fall for gimmicks like MLMs and promises that we can quit our day jobs and get rich quick if we buy and ebook for $50. We then run ourselves ragged with short cut schemes to cloud the internet with keyword rich white noise.
No, No, No, No, No.
The real advances in our society come through the slow, meticulous (and rather boring) process of science and engineering. Yes it seems that the rewards seem to go to the shortcut takers. Shortcut taking is always a hit and miss proposition.
I say. Don't quit the day job.
However, as a society, we have to stop this process that is driving so many of the interesting manufacturing and product design day jobs overseas.