#542. The Monday Post – They are breaking the Internet, Man!

By pascaljappy | Opinion

Dec 26

So, the Internet as we knew and loved it is dead. Or dying fast. It’s in-no-one-powerful’s interest to keep it alive.

Have you asked Google a question recently? Wonder what the best inkjet printer is? Here’s the answer.

If you don’t buy one from that list, you’re an idiot.

It used to be that Google was a search engine. It – justifiably – turned into a powerful ad-serving company, biting off more and more of it’s organic page one real-estate in favour of paid listings. Recently, it’s more or less given up the mission of structuring the world’s information for easy access. The vision has dissolved into something far less generous and lucratively altruistic. Google is now trying its very best to provide answers directly, source website be damned.

Oh, sure, the link to the source website is right there, at the bottom of the fast-food answer (and, to be honest, that search result page format is probably better for most searches we do) and foolish intellectuals who really insist on reading more than a few words will find some links to other websites in between the pre-digested answer and the ads. The implications for my job, as a marketer are obviously profound and SEO has all but vanished from my recommendations to clients. What used to be a tall order (be visible on page 1 or 2) has now become utterly impossible for most businesses (be number 1, or don’t play the game). Thankfully, there are far more interesting alternatives, it’s no biggy. But for the masses, which the media and politics have done all they could to turn into sheep, this is one step further towards slavery.

Think that’s bad? The guys at Google pale compared to Facebook.

This way, please

So, Facebook doesn’t want to turn the Internet into a swamp for idiots. Facebook wants to be the Internet. Not that they’re the only ones. They’re just the only ones with a chance. Between Facebook and daughter Snapchat, this company now powers a huge chunk of our every day lives (well, not mine) and provides a huge chunk of the information that goes into our brains. Mark Z is probably the most influent man on the planet right now. Nice !  Reassuring, too.

Not that it matters, though. Because, let’s face it, others are so hell bent on actually breaking the Internet.

The harmony and balance of human evolution dictates that there be a huge variety of attitudes, so how could we be angry at hackers? For every person busting her arse to making someone else’s life better, there’s another, in almost equal proportion that’s dedicating his time to making it shit-awful. It’s all part of the larger plan, you see.  No, hackers aren’t really the issue. For instance, China, among others, appears to be routinely launching massive attacks on DNS servers to test the resilience of installations and be able to bring the whole caboodle down to cut off communications in the event of a war. Sweet.

I am super miffed that I didn’t invest in Hell earlier. Because, given the amount of dirt-bags heading that way soon, property prices there can only go through the roof 😉

Still, that still isn’t really the problem. People deliberately trying to break things always fade away and something better always comes of it. Where poo rots, beautiful plants grow.

No, I’m more concerned with the little things. The insidious erosion no one notices and eventually adds up to a mudslide of unhappiness.

A few days ago, with Christmas heading rapidly towards me, I tried to buy stuff.

Remember the simplicity, sense of freedom, easy flow that came with buying online? Not any more. Time yourself next time you buy from a new site. It takes ages. Registration is worse than for a national security event. It’s not like that everywhere, but it’s gaining. Pain in the butt / ass / arse / choose your flavour. So while the Internet may survive commoditisation, privatisation and medieval nationalism, it won’t be fun anymore. Helldwellers of the future might as well take it down right now.

What does this mean ?

Could be brilliant. The system’s broken. Has been for a long time. Let’s make something new.

Last year, just when the abuses of marketing automation stopped making me puke (exhaustion, not acceptance), the age of the bot was ushered in. Not pretty Miss December bott (butt, in Trumpland), more like Siri ‘bot. Now, the elite marketing world is ablaze with bot to bot communications optimization ideas. Hurray. In the photo world, we have similar crap to worry about.

So, that information-sharing system, that thing we called the Internet, is now as dead as the hippies.

Some people providing value online are lifting carpets to find bugs to feed their families. Good photo blogs are losing traffic faster than the political world is loosing its sense of honour. Many have had to let collaborators go. Some will be shutting down altogether. But those that relay brand press releases are OK, thank you very much. Those that best optimise “The Rule of thirds way to great composition” for Google will reap the rewards of their service to humanity. Undertsanding the medium now trumps (I’ll be using that word a lot) creating good content.

I shouldn’t make fun. Everybody has to make a living, and it doesn’t have to be pretty. Plus this doesn’t affect us, here at DS, as we’ve never made money from the blog (heck, it’s been a cash sink if you ask my wife 😉 )

It is kind if sad, but every cloud has its silver lining. Because, yeah, when the system goes to the worms, we get to think something up from scratch. And the new entrepreneurs thinking about Vnext are already putting their ears on the railway lines to listen to the chatter.

This is our chance to chatter.

We’re being consulted this very minute. Every word we read, every site we visit, every second we browse is being analysed to understand what will make most money tomorrow.

That data will continue to power the optimisation of Internet Vcurrent.x to its very death at the hands of the industry leaders suffering from innovator’s dilemma. It will also help others think in and of a completely different way. A better way. That’s how evolution works. Viruses create mutations, kill off some of stock and create new variety. Not that evolution will have it’s say in the world’s most powerful creationist nation, but you get my drift.

Silicon Valley has grey hair, like me. It’s getting congested and unimaginative (unlike me, I hope). It’s becoming a system. Resurrection of the fun inter webs will probably come from elsewhere. All those hackers making us cringe, maybe they’ll get a shot at expressing their talent and ideas positively in a way that’s both rewarding to them and beneficial to others. That would be sooo interesting! Or maybe something else altogether. Whatever the origin, the new thing will be different and you have your say in what you read, comment, share, react to, love, hate, love to hate, hate to love, emotilovetohate, emotifeelhappyabout … You owe it to yourself, to content creators throughout the universe and to your kids to think hard about this.

Prepping for take off

What will it be for you?


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    ROTFLMHAO – remember what they did to the last Messiah, Pascal 🙂

    Registration varies – some sites can’t design their registration page and you waste ages trying to crack the system, to get through to the next page.

    Buying online is fraught with risk – your card details go out, and if hackers intercept them, you WILL have fun! Of course there are various ways to hose down that risk.

    Players in the US are trying to take over the net anyway, so they can charge for it and it will no longer be free to use. Trump’s incoming government will encourage that kind of behavior in corporate America, so now there’s a fair chance (high level of risk?) it will happen.

    Google has, as you say, all but wrecked its search engine. It’d be bad enough if entering “hen’s eggs” landed you a 10,000 page list on omelettes – it completely ignores any instructions to stick to results in YOUR country (you’re lucky if that produces one or two such entries, before swamping you with all the stuff you attempted to exclude by applying the “your country” filter. And that’s only the beginning.

    I bet you get a heap more comments over the next few days.

  • Georg says:

    I’m with you. To the beginning.

  • Sean says:

    … sounds like it’s evolved into a right ‘barkers egg’ (a dog pile) …

  • artuk says:

    Google with their laughable “do no evil” corporate mantra should be vilified by anyone who values freedom in the digital world. A company that deliberately hovered packets of unsecured private wifi data whilst driving the streets capturing street view, digitised books without asking the copyright owners, scans emails for content and keywords, holds records of previous searches and skews the results set based a users “preferences” (i.e. biases and world view), serves up adverts on every web page visited from their cookies, monitors everything you do on their Android devices, and worse still sells data about searches – so for example the health insurer you want a quote from can find out you have been searching for information on cancer.

    Yes, lovely people to deal with, completely upstanding and honest. Like a nest of vipers is.

    Facebook? Well yes they want to be the internet, and for many people in evolving markets, to a great degree they are. They scan your private messages with your friends, use you profile data to serve up advertising, and make their security settings as difficult as possible to find as they can. They serve up false news, skew what you get to see in your newsfeed in unpublished ways, and make it almost impossible for anyone with a “page” (not an account) to generate traffic without paying.

    Strangely in some parts, Microsoft got vilified on the release of Windows 10 because it gives you options about your privacy that you can turn off if you want to, and at least they mostly tell you what they are monitoring and collecting.

    I haven’t used Google to search or some time, there are better less biased and obviously advertising-skewed options (Bing, for example, others are available). I wouldn’t choose to use GMail for their email content scanning. Yahoo is a joke who’s brand is so damaged that it’s amazing they are still in business when combined with their complete lack of direction or terrible ability to do their core business.

    Security should be a never ending concern for all of us who have an online identity. Just look at the *2* Yahoo data breaches affecting 1.5 BILLION of their customers. I mean, really?

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