“Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio, et excrucior.”
This was written 2000 years ago, about a woman. (“I love [her] and hate [her]. How is that possible, you may ask? I don’t know, but I feel it all the same – and it’s agony”). It describes pretty perfectly my own feelings about the internet.
The web is a wonderful thing. It’s changed everything about… well, everything. I live within it, and am informed and entertained via it, every hour of every day. I really wonder how I lived without it.
But you know, it’s also a teeming, seething cauldron of shite.
SEO agencies: Smell the sulphur
I am bombarded – some days, multiple times – by people offering to pay me for contributed ‘editorial’, or links, or adverts. Some of it is deeply creepy and dishonest; companies even offering to write their stealth ads in my house style to make them seem like ‘real’ endorsements by me.
I’m pretty much aghast at this stuff. I’m stunned that corporations are willing to be so brazenly, disgracefully mendacious. You realise that the web is absolutely stuffed with paid-for advertising masquerading as something else. And I do mean STUFFED; you cannot trust a single word or link online.
Most of it is driven by SEO, of course. SEO agencies know that the most powerful Google fuel is backlinks, so they trawl their clients’ marketplace looking for sites demonstrating the appropriate keywords. Then they try to place links on those sites – openly, or hidden within paid-for ‘posts’ meant to look like genuine site editorial.
Ultimately, therefore, this is mostly search engines’ (and therefore Google’s) fault. In the form the web has evolved, and as it currently works, Search drives commerce to an astonishing degree. Search engine algorithms basically corrupt the web by forcing commerce to devise dishonest and devious means to attract custom, and tempting small (and large) publishers into corrupt collusion.
It stinks to high heaven.
Odi, definitely odi.