Mantra: There’s no such thing as wisdom of the crowd. Repeat. There’s no such thing as a wisdom of the crowd! You’ve got a brain of your own for a reason.preloading

THINK!There’s a huge difference between Thomas J. Watson’s campaign in the 1920s, which made IBM –as a company gathering intelligent individuals– think big and therefore get big at the end of the day, and the votable daily insane pestering social media, forums, blogs, and whatnot, that we willingly and thoughtlessly consume in today’s information ghetto. The difference is, that nowadays the crowd delegates their thinking to a few well paid ‘early adopters’, bullshitters/prophets, and other conmen who dominate the Interwebs just because they’re loud enough.

In fact, all the hypes celebrated by the dumb crowds distract and mislead you on a daily basis. As a webmaster you really shouldn’t care about ‘latest discoveries’ like LDA and ADL, or search engine FUD reiterated on webmaster hangouts as advice that ‘answers any question’, for that matter.

Not that you can’t get valuable advice out of search engine webmaster guidelines at all. The opposite is true, but you need to read the source, and judge yourself based on your skills and your experience, applying common sense.

Also, there’s other good webmastering advice out there, if you’re willing to seek(needle, haystack=wget(’http://google.com/search?q=seo|sem|webdev|webdesign|webmastering|internet-marketing&num=n‘)). Don’t. Rely on yourself, and your capability to interpret facts, not on speculation spread by ‘authoritative’ sources.

It’s so much easier to join a huge community or two, and to believe/implement/adapt what’s ‘hot’, or what’s repeated often, respectively. Actually, that’s a crappy approach, because the very few small communities that openly discuss things that matter, are out of reach for the average webmaster, chatting and networking protected by /var/inner-circle/private/.htpasswd.

Here are the components of a public webmaster/SEO/IM community, listed by revenues in ascending order (that’s -1 before zero and 1), what equals alleged trustworthiness/importance in descending order:

  • Many fanboys (m) and groupies (f) who don’t have a clue, but vote up everything what an entity listed below suggests. They will even rave speak out at other alien places, if their idols (see below) get outed for bullshitting anywhere. They go by the title of junior members.
  • A few semi-professional whores who operate blogs/forums/aff-programs theirselves, and manage to steal a tiny portion of the floating popularity to feed their pathetic outlets. Those are considered senior members.
  • A handful of shiny rockstars who silenty suck up to their owner master (see below). They may or may not participate monetarily, and have the power of moderators.
  • One single guy who laughs all the way to the bank.

Looked at in full daylight: when you join a crowd you become cannon fodder, and your financial misery is considered collateral damage. Lurking (silently listening to crowds) is not exactly cheaper, and certainly doesn’t make you an unsung hero, because you’ll totally share the crowd’s misery. Your balance sheet doesn’t lie, usually.

Reboot your brain before you jump on popular band wagons. Don’t listen to advice that’s freely available, not even mine (WTF, you know what I mean). If somebody discusses ethics (hat colors), then run for your life, because ethics will kill your revenue. When it comes to SEO, then it helps to evaluate (search engine/any) advice under the premise “what would I do, and what could I achive (technically), if I’d run this SE?”.

It’s all about you. Don’t care about the well beings of search engines that suffer from WebSpam, or the healthiness of affiliate programs that make shitloads of green out of it, but tell you ‘thou shalt not spam’ because they sneakily dominate your SERPs with their own graffity. WebSpam is what gets you banned, everything else just makes you money. Test for yourself, and don’t take advice without proof that you can easily replicate on your very own servers.

Do not risk your earnings –that is your existence!– with strategies and tactics you can’t handle on the long haul, just because some selfish moron tells you so.

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5 Comments to "!knihT"

  1. Randy Pickard on 28 September, 2010  #link

    This anecdotal comment on the wisdom of the crowd is pretty far off topic in regard SEO advice, but I have been surprised at how often the crowd is right on which players to select on Fantasy Football sites. Also, while I have read some ridiculous misinformation about SEO on blogs, every once in a while a worthwhile tip appears. But I completely agree that the best way to learn is testing on your own sites.

  2. Stuart on 28 September, 2010  #link

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments … it seems that the leaders of some SEO communities learned the same lessons as other community leaders. Build up your fanboys and they’ll protect you when someone calls you on the bullshit you’ve been peddling

  3. Hobo on 1 October, 2010  #link

    I’m all for the centralization of SEO knowledge ;)

  4. Roshan Joshi on 1 October, 2010  #link

    as the saying goes - listen to others. make your own decision.

  5. Doc Sheldon on 2 October, 2010  #link

    Love it, Seb! The problem with “communities” is, people tend to try to tear down and feed on the carcasses of those that rock the boat. Thinking outside the box is very unpopular, and many would prefer to attack a person’s credibility rather than his theory.
    When all is said and done, we’re on our own anyway. With a little bit of luck, we’ll have made some friends along the way. The ones that disagreed with your theory, but still stayed your friends, are worth worrying about. ;)

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