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|Google Adsense and The Dumbing Down of The Internet|
Has anyone else noticed how Google is responsible for the dumbing down of the internet?
The center of the internet universe for many people provides direction to webmasters saying quality is important, echoing the sentiments of the popular internet design maxim, "Content is King," but then immediately proceeds to put its stamp of approval on new trash submitted with new Adsense account applications.
New sites then added to the single Adsense account don't even have to be approved. They don't even get a "once-over."
The proliferation of Made For Adsense websites is the direct result of Google having very low standards. The irony is that the secondary consequence after the dumbing down of the internet is the proliferation of spam websites high in SERPs, which cuts into Google's original purpose of providing high-quality search engine results.
To add injury to insult, Google continues to reward MFA sites which are propped up by article link farm networks that make instant experts out of clueless idiots.
A significant part of the Adsense problem is the site reviewers (the total number of which one can only guess) are uneducated and therefore unqualified to judge content. They have no idea if it is good, useful, accurate, or stolen. How many of the Google reviewers are experts in many disciplines?
The financial incentive of course leads some webmasters to increase the quality of their sites for long-term branding at the same time it leads others to cut corners and make a fast buck off pure junk. It goes both ways, but my experience is the majority of sites with Adsense look cheap, provide little, and generally contribute to the dumbing down of the internet.
How long can this dumbing down continue before Google's Adsense brand becomes so diluted most internet surfers avoid the ads (or even Google altogether)?
In some parts of the Web, the branding is already taking place, because it happens so many times, and it's the branding of "low quality," "deceptive," and "useless."
Does Google have any idea how to raise the bar instead of lowering it? Can it ever get any quality control of this growing problem, or has the genie left the bottle?
Google is not the internet.
If it weren't AdSense, it would be something else. In fact, it was something else a few years ago, when another phenomenon--the explosion of datafeed affiliate sites--was cluttering up the Web with useless pages. Tools and techniques change, but greed never goes out of style.
Also, Google may not have an unblemished record with AdSense, but at the same time, the AdSense network has made it possible for vast numbers of legitimate small publishers to cover their hosting costs and, in many cases, to earn a profit from their work instead of settling for abysmal revenue from Amazon links or junk banner ads from the bottom-feeding display-ad networks. We may never know if the AdSense concept grew out of idealism or cynicism, but there's no denying that AdSense has been a boon for legitimate small publishers who don't have enough traffic, the right audience, or the right skills to develop other revenue streams.
|Google is not the internet. |
I remember one day when Google was unreachable for a while and many people thought the internet was broken...
The biggest problem IMHO is that Google tries to solve any kind of 'problem' with homemade artificial intelligence (aka 'algo') and not with well educated human brains. Those brains would still far outperform any algo (and also for some time to come), but they would demand some money.
|The biggest problem IMHO is that Google tries to solve any kind of 'problem' with homemade artificial intelligence (aka 'algo') and not with well educated human brains. |
This is the bread and butter of a lot of people out there that outwit these algos on a daily basis. It will go on as long as the folks at the GooglePlex temple adhere to this religion until they finally build their SkyNet God and it sends out Terminators to wack all the MFA builders.
No, the biggest problem is publisher greed at all levels, from the small-time "Where's my bucket of money?" beginners to organized crime rings. It's the same kind of me-first-at-all costs thinking that motivates blackhat SEOs, e-mail spammers, and online thieves.
With a network the size of AdSense, the people who run the network will always be playing whack-a-mole, and without algorithms to do some of the whacking, they'd find it even more difficult to keep the moles under control than they do now.
|With a network the size of AdSense, the people who run the network will always be playing whack-a-mole, and without algorithms to do some of the whacking, they'd find it even more difficult to keep the moles under control than they do now. |
And as bad as it is, or can be sometimes, the situation isn't nearly as bad as the one Lycos users faced at the end when a search for any term delivered porn results.
|And as bad as it is, or can be sometimes, the situation isn't nearly as bad as the one Lycos users faced at the end when a search for any term delivered porn results. |
It's interesting how times change, isn't it? I can remember when mistyping a domain name often took the user to a porn site; nowadays, it's nearly always a parked domain with ads and maybe a "buy this domain" invitation or a pitch for a hosting service.
Google and AdSense have helped to make the Internet more democratic by enabling just about anybody to find just about anything just about anybody else has posted.
Has that dumbed it down? Maybe, but the more established media aren't exactly centers of higher learning either. There is lots of pretty good independently-produced content out there today and much of it wouldn't be there if it weren't for Google and AdSense.
The nature of democracy is that it's chaotic. Google has probably made it more chaotic while simultaneously making it possible, if not always easy, to make some order out of the chaos. That's a good thing, I'd say.
I wonder how big the internet would be w/o adsense.
Lot smaller, I imagine.
|I wonder how big the internet would be w/o adsense. |
Lot smaller, I imagine.
For that matter, how big would it be without e-commerce? Smaller still. (Just think of the gazillion boilerplate dealer product pages for Widgetco FRW-400 fuzzy red widgets or Whatsitcorp WI-1000 wireless thingamabobs.)
I'm often amazed by how easy it is to find useful information in the search engines when there are so many hundreds of thousands or even millions of possible results for any major search term. Webmaster World members are always complaining about lousy search results, but when you consider how big the haystack is, it's impressive that the search engines can serve up the needles when you want them.
From where I see it, everything is being dumbed down these days..the internet, movies, books, poetry, philosophy..to have mass appeal and make that much more money.
|From where I see it, everything is being dumbed down these days..the internet, movies, books, poetry, philosophy..to have mass appeal and make that much more money. |
I couldn't agree more!
Half the people are below average intelligence.
Average intelligence is itself, pretty dismal, IMHO.
Therefore if the main aim of your business is to make money - and, contrary to popular wisdom, it doesn't have to be the main aim it just has to be an aim - then you'll want to target a lot of people whose powers of reasoning are pretty basic.
Therefore it's important that your product or service is not intellectually inaccessible to the plebs.
Only business owners with more integrity than greed will ever get past this.
If you read the original post more carefully, you'll see that it isn't about user intelligence or whether AdSense has contributed to a "dumbing down" of the Internet audience. The original post--and the thread--are really about whether AdSense has led to the proliferation of junk Web sites and the question of how long how long "Google's Adsense brand becomes so diluted most internet surfers avoid the ads (or even Google altogether."
As far as a literal "dumbing down" of Internet content goes, I think that has more to do with ease of access than anything else. Back in the days before Windows 95, just getting onto the Web with Windows required installing a third-party browser and figuring out how to configure a Winsock, and it wasn't that easy to get a SLIP/PPP account if you weren't part of the tech world or at a major university. Windows 95 and the Macintosh made the Web--and the Internet in general-- accessible to the masses, and the rest (including MySpace, Britney Spears fan sites, Creationist forums, etc.) is history.
I think the Internet is dumber than, say, 1997 or 1998, i.e. it is much more difficult to find decent unique content. Three things have mainly contributed to this trend:
1) Cheap domain names. A domain name does not cost much these days, thus anyone and his dog can register a domain name. I believe the majority of domain names that are registered these days to be not for real development purposes (i.e. unique new services that actually have a value to the end consumer), but for parking, re-selling, MFA'ing.
2) Google Adsense (and YPN). Before Adsense, it was not easy to monetize web sites, let alone crap web sites. Google and its lack of quality control now allow for even below-average webmasters to make decent amounts of money by scraping, copying, spamming, and click fraud. If you consider then that in 3rd world countries the buck buys A LOT more than in the western world, it's no surprise that many are looking into these models.
3) Parked providers. They take the whole "no content" scheme one step further by not requiring ANY content, just a domain name and a bit of traffic. Even the dumbest fool out there could probably register a domain name, submit it to a parking provider, and drive traffic to the site using Adwords.
So, in short, yes, Adsense definitely contributed to the massive growth of websites with little or no content.
|I think the Internet is dumber than, say, 1997 or 1998 |
Pfaugh. For some of us, the internet started dumbing down as soon as the non-geeks hit it (mid to late 80's) Oh for the days when all we ever did was discuss disk stepping rates ...
Why are people always so surprised when certain aspects of internet mirror certain aspects of society as we know it? There's plenty of people who would say that society started dumbing down as soon as there were mass produced television sets, and if you go back far enough, the same complaint was no doubt made when the printing press gave the common people a reason to become literate
|Pfaugh. For some of us, the internet started dumbing down as soon as the non-geeks hit it (mid to late 80's). |
Some of the geek stuff wasn't intellectually scintillating, either. Remember the Cambridge Webcam showing a computer department's coffee room, or the real-time inventory (with storage temperature) of a university's soda machine in Western Australia? :-)
Yea, but you can't blame the internet or Google for that. I used to have a roommate who spent eleven hours a day on the sofa watching nothing but the Weather Channel...
(and the soda can thing does sound like it would have been kinda cool at the time - at least if you were the one hooking it up)
In my opinion, Adsense has had no real impact on anything. As long as search engines produce valid results, that is all that matters. Who cares if someone clones reams of information if it is stuck at the bottom of the search stack?
If Google concentrates on what got them there in the first place, it will all work out in the end..
|Has anyone else noticed how Google is responsible for the dumbing down of the internet? |
But this thread certainly did it's part.
The more you factor the sheep in the dumberer things get.
OMG look at TV commercials.
[edited by: Khensu at 5:38 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2007]
|I think the Internet is dumber than, say, 1997 or 1998, i.e. it is much more difficult to find decent unique content. |
I disagree strongly. Surfing and looking for information in 1997 was extremely frustrating. The information just wasn't out there.
Just wanted to offer my observation...
I have a site that has been up for over a year with regularly updated content. It has AdSense embedded, yet the ad content has been abysmal. A competitor's site also has AdSense and their ad content is spot on.
I found a tool online that will review your site and tell you what may or may not be wrong with it...as far as 'seo' is concerned. Basically it told me that I was writing at a collegiate level and that I should dumb it down. I ran the competitor's site through the tool, and sure enough, it told me that it was written at a grade school level.
Part of the reason I had started my site is that I was getting sick of keyword laden articles with no personality. I don't plan on dumbing my site down. Plus, I've received several comments from my visitors on how much they have enjoyed my articles. I have yet to receive one that asks for more targeted advertising.
Anyway, it was interesting to learn that Google's bots read, at the most, a sixth grade level.
|Anyway, it was interesting to learn that Google's bots read, at the most, a sixth grade level. |
Or maybe you just got tricked into relying on an SEO tool that was created by someone whose mind was at a sixth-grade level. :-)
here is a fourth thing:
4)Blogging. Lots of sugar, not much protein.
|Anyway, it was interesting to learn that Google's bots read, at the most, a sixth grade level. |
Actually many style guides will tell you not to aim higher than about a 7th-grade reading level when writing for a mainstream audience. This doesn't stop you from writing well or expressing whatever you want to express, but the result is that your words are more likely to be read and understood.
Given the number of students, skimmers, bots, people whose first language is not English, and Americans (just kidding) online, this is an even more important rule when writing for the Web.
agree with netmeg, it's the sign of the times not just the internet.
Garbage in Garbage out, poor Google.
Nothing makes sense anymore, George W. Bush is the case and point.
|I wonder how big the internet would be w/o adsense. Lot smaller, I imagine. |
One evening back in 2002, I decided to click all the way through to the end of the Internet. I had to stay up late, but I made it before daylight the next morning.
I tried it again recently and it took me all evening, all night, all morning and I finally made it the next day about noon.
The Internet is certainly bigger since AdSense.
|Nothing makes sense anymore, George W. Bush is the case and point. |
No, Hillary Clinton is case in point. Her having a 42% lead TRULY makes no sense anymore. The world is upside down, LOL.
| This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 (  2 ) > > |