Internet marketing is one big popularity contest, and that’s not a good thing

SMO - Social Media OptimizationThis is a guest post by Tanner Christensen.

What are you doing to make Internet marketing a better industry to be a part of? As it sits now: Internet marketing is one big popularity contest, and that’s not a good thing. Internet marketers are making it nearly impossible for the average person to find valuable content.

The real online content providers - the websites who deserve all of your attention - are becoming harder and harder to discover because of Internet marketers like us. Though Internet marketers - both you and I - can’t really be blamed, our job is all about getting attention. The more attention we get for our website(s), the more popular our website(s) become, the more money we can make.

But because of the recent surge of interest in Internet marketing and search engine optimization, websites that focus on providing content - rather than getting attention - are being ignored. And because these content-focused websites are being cast into the shadows of attention-focused websites, they too are jumping on the Internet marketing popularity contest bandwagon.

Even though every webmaster and his or her mother is jumping on the bandwagon, it’s not accurate to say that Internet marketers are making all less-important, less-helpful, and less-useful websites more popular than really helpful website, but there is definitely the possibility of real news and information being masked by attention-seeking content.

So what do we do? What do Internet marketers and search engine optimizers do to make sure that the Internet popularity contest doesn’t become a contest of lies and attention-seeking tactics; but rather a contest of quality, helpful, interesting, important, groundbreaking content?

The first step is to become a part of the online community. I’m not talking about the Internet marketing community - it’s biased in a lot of ways. I’m talking about the real online communities. Doing so will help create a universal feeling of online morals; or what’s good information and what is bad information.

And discovering where the real helpful and important websites are online will help Internet marketers such as ourselves learn where the websites we work with really should be ranked.

Sure, there are still those people who don’t care about quality of content and only care about the all-mighty dollar sign. But poor-content will eventually catch up with them, when websites that really deserve attention in the online popularity contest are lost in the fold and the dollar sign loses it’s value.

Tanner is a Web specialist and designer who writes helpful, inspiring, and creative internet-related articles. A while ago I’ve contributed an article to his blog Internet Hunger: The anatomy of a debunking post. I think “can agessive SMO tactics push crap on the long haul” would be an interesting, and related discussion. I mean, search engines evolve too, not only in Web search, so kinda fair rankings of well linked crap as well as good stuff not on the SM radar might be possible to some extent.

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9 Comments to "Internet marketing is one big popularity contest, and that's not a good thing"

  1. Shana Albert on 9 November, 2007  #link

    Great post Tanner!! I was so excited to go to my reader to get my daily fix of knowledge from my favorite blogs to find that I could read your stuff on Sebastian’s site, Awesome!! Two of my favorite Bloggers in one spot… what a great Friday morning it has been so far.

    It’s always great to read your work, Tanner!!


  2. YC on 9 November, 2007  #link

    Popularity contests are ok as it is part & parcel of life - but the worrying thing will be when a community becomes closed (mafia-like?). And if part of this community establishes certain authority which can be abused then you will likely see poor content masquerading as groundbreaking news.

    It is all well and good to concentrate on great content - but it is also just as necessary to spend some time on ‘marketing’ or ‘promotion’, in a general sense. So it is up to us to find a good mix of each practise.

  3. Tanner Christensen on 9 November, 2007  #link

    Thanks for the great comments.
    I agree with you YC, finding a middleground between marketing and quality content is the best way to create a positive future for the industry.

  4. Marty on 9 November, 2007  #link

    “I’m talking about the real online communities.”

    It’s true…us marketers live in never never land. That said, Internet marketers are “real” too…and Sphinn is a “real” community. SEMs need love and community too. :)

  5. Jeff on 10 November, 2007  #link

    Some great views here.
    I totaly agree with the community aspect.

    I’m off you read your other post’s now. :-)

  6. Matt LeVeque on 10 November, 2007  #link

    Nice job Tanner. Hopefully more like-minded quality online marketers like yourself will begin to rise to the top and help drive this industry in the right direction.

  7. Sounds like someone’s suggesting that internet marketers are “disingenuous”….

    That’s true. What’s struck me as particularly appalling is when the average twit who is able to put up some websites and get a little notoriety first starts quoting otherwise great people as if that person really understands what those great people were saying.

    When, in fact, the quoter is using the quote just to make money…. not to liberate.

    And that’s why I call my blog the controversy blog… at a given moment, I’ll lock horns with, or gladly abrade, whatever is presenting itself as the next latest greatest.

    It should also be noted that a lot of the people in your social media collectives are disingenuous, but naive about it, so it’s more difficult for them to be recognized.

    There are so many articles they trumpet that SOUND like good information but either its the same old regurgitated crap, “352 ways to get more visitors to your site!”, “29 ways to get more links to your site!”, “89,000 ways to be noticed in comment sections!”, “452 ways to increase your pagerank which doesn’t really matter to anyone anyways!” and so on…

    …and just to get a little notoriety amidst the collective, people will say that stuff is great… while the real gems lay in a bloggers ability to really make you think…

    Go check my controversy meme, for example… and follow it to Dane Morgan’s entry and you’ll see that while you report on this phenomenon… I’m demonstrating it.

    Good topic, you ol crank,

  8. debra on 26 August, 2008  #link

    A good post although while worrying, concentrating on providing quality content will never be enough. It is fundamental, but up to each of us to improve other areas to better our arsenal in surviving and to prosper in this industry.

  9. Sebastian on 29 September, 2008  #link

    Thanks for the compliment. As for your link request: you didn’t ship enough beer. I don’t approve spammy comments w/o a minimum of 5-10 gallons guinness provided as attachment. Don’t ask me how to attach a guinness filled barrel to a blog comment or email. Figure it out.

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