Having recently moved for being principally a web developer working on software that allowed educators to create, manage and distribute content to being a content creator and distributor directly to consumers, I have become aware of a new type of rapidly growing internet entrepreneur, the marketer.
The internet marketer's principle task is to create websites and blogs that rank high in search engine results with a view to obtaining traffic. The purpose of this traffic is sometime to convince a proportion of the users to click on one of the many advertisements. The main purpose though, is to redirect the user to one of the many affiliate programs available to 'content providers'. In many cases, the redirect is to one of the prevalent 'Dear Friend' sites that are offering a 'one of a kind' product that is 'only available on this site' with discounts and free gifts thrown in, except you can't help feeling you've come across a similar site before. The trick here is to beat as many other marketers for the traffic available and it does not matter what you are selling.
Two relatively new connected areas have sprung up to feed this feeding frenzy, so to speak; the Search Engine Optimisation gurus who advice these marketers on SEO strategies and the vast army of 'cheap as chips' writers who feed re-purposed and re-used content into the whole thing. Variations of the content production aspect exists but either they write for a site that uses SEO to attract traffic with the promise of a share of the adverting/affiliate income or for inclusion as a guest poster on marketer sites and blogs. The reason for guest posting is twofold, to give the impression of regular content generation for the site or blog and to get return links back to the writer's own site, often, but not always, a marketer site itself. The result is a conveyor belt type production of articles - many simply re-written and re-purposed to hit the current buzz words - the popular words and phrases that are generating traffic.
The result of this is a small percentage of people making a reasonable amount of money from these activities which encourages a horde of wannabes that adds to the noise and uselessness of the Internet. It is no wonder that social networks such as Facebook continue to be popular?
I have taken to referring to these people as marketeers - rhyming with buccaneers - to differentiate them from the real deal. They add no real value and those who wave sizeable commission cheques as proof of a successful 'internet business' will soon be replace by others who have learnt to play the SEO game a little better. If this is the future of our entrepreneurial base, we are in so much trouble.
The worst bit of all this is that those who do wish to add some value are now under pressure to play the same game to attract attention in this mess. So many good writers are being side-tracked and you have to wonder just how much good stuff is not being written and how we will be so much poorer for it.
[First published on my Talking2Myself blog on specified date]