Advertising Is Dead! Long Live SEO!
November 12, 2001

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'                   WEBSITE101: READING LIST
                   Reaching Great Minds Online
            November 12, 2001               Issue #117
           Mike Valentine, Editor,


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                  FEATURE ARTICLE

Advertising Is Dead! Viva le SEO!
by Mike Banks Valentine

The King is dead! Long live the King!

The death of Louis XIV. was announced by the captain of the
bodyguard from a window of the state apartment. Raising his
truncheon above his head, he broke it in the centre, and
throwing the pieces among the crowd, exclaimed in a loud
voice, "Le Roi est mort!" Then seizing another staff, he
flourished it in the air as he shouted, "Vive le Roi!"
ÑPardoe: Life of Louis XIV., vol. iii. p. 457.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the captain of
the bodygaurd for Advertising, so the task of announcing the
death of advertising is not among my responsibilities. Nor is
finding a successor to the throne. No, I do the less glorious
task of search engine marketing. I'm quietly on the sidelines
as Dot Bomb after Dot Gone pass by in a funeral procession that
seems endless. The parade route marching to the funeral dirge
and drum, glumly trudging through the streets mark the passing
of online royalty on a weekly basis.

This week we bow our heads in honor of the passing of another
advertising-reliant giant, Before that it was
WebVan and WebMD and -- I'm starting at the bottom
of a very long alphabetical list you can see yourself at:

The deathmarch itself has been analyzed-to-death by everyone
from network news anchors to newspaper commentators and pundits.
I won't burden us with another perspective here other than to
say that it's big business that has it all wrong in a twisted
attempt to apply old models to a new medium. I wonder why it is
that each new technology is constantly wedged into the wrong
shape hole because that is "where the money is".

When television was first developed, we didn't know what to do
with it because advertising was not so ubiquitous. We had print
advertising in magazines and radio advertisement ruled the air-
waves. But everyone agreed that television was worthless . . . 

  Not more than 10 per cent of the population will take up
  television permanently.
  Raymond Postgate, 1935

  Television? The word is half Greek and half Latin. No good 
  will come of this device.
  C P Scott, 1936

  Television won't last because people will get tired of
  staring at a plywood box every night.
  Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox co-founder, 1946

But TV finally fell to advertising and is now fully one-third
ads and very little content, except for product placement and
sponsored content.

But because advertising ruled our lives when the internet was
launched in 1995, we just naturally assumed that advertising
would rule online as well. But we got it wrong. I spend hours
online daily and do all I can to ignore the flashing, blinking
banners and skyscraper ads and sponsored links glaring from
the top, bottom and now edges, of the screen in front of me.

How do people behave online? Simple, they search. They search
for things they have an interest in. They bookmark favorites.
Most don't know why they get the results they do when searching.

It's because the top ranking sites in search results are very
specifically designed by people who know how to gain those top
rankings in the search engines. Why on earth would anyone spend
good money on advertising when most web surfers seek to avoid
advertising and even buy software meant to block advertising
from their web pages? Why on earth don't more businesses see
that search engine positioning is the number one solution to
visibility and success online?

Here comes another funeral march. They probably bought Super
Bowl ads and have banners flashing all over my favorite web
site. Oh and look! They have banner ads on the hearse! I guess
they didn't want to waste the eyeballs attending the funeral.
At least they aren't animated banners. Have some Respect!

Well, I'm going to usurp the job of the Captain of the Kings'
bodygaurd and announce that "Advertising is Dead!" 
"Le ROI est mort!" (Return On Investment) "Long live Search 
Engine Positioning!" Viva le ROI! Viva le SEO!
Mike Valentine does Search Engine Placement for the Small

WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet
Weekly Ezine emphasizing small business on the Internet
                Guest Article

The Affair of the Vanishing Content
By: Sam Vaknin

"Digitized information, especially on the Internet, has
such rapid turnover these days that total loss is the norm.
Civilization is developing severe amnesia as a result;
indeed it may have become too amnesiac already to notice
the problem properly."

(Stewart Brand, President, The Long Now Foundation )

Thousands of articles and essays posted by hundreds of
authors were lost forever when surprisingly
shut its virtual gates. A sizable portion of the 1960 census,
recorded on UNIVAC II-A tapes, is now inaccessible. Web
hosts crash daily, erasing in the process valuable content.
Access to web sites is often suspended - or blocked altogether
- because of a real (or imagined) violation by the webmaster
of the host's Terms of Service (TOS). Millions of other web
sites - the results of collective, multi-annual, trans-
continental efforts - contain unique stores of information
in the form of databases, articles, discussion threads, and
links to other web sites. Consider "Central Europe Review".
Its archives comprise more than 2500 articles and essays
about every conceivable aspect of Central and Eastern Europe
and the Balkan. It is one of countless such collections.

Similar and much larger treasures have perished since the
dawn of the digital age in the 1920's. Very few early radio
and TV programs have survived, for instance. The current
"digital dark age" can be compared only to the one which
followed the torching of the Library of Alexandria. The
more accessible and abundant the information available
to us - the more devalued and common it becomes and the less
institutional and cultural memory we seem to possess. In the
battle between paper and screen, the former has won formidably.
Newspaper archives, dating back to the 1700's are now being
digitized - testifying to the endurance, resilience, and
longevity of paper.

Enter the "Internet Libraries", or Digital Archival
Repositories (DAR). These are libraries that provide free
access to  digital materials replicated across multiple
servers ("safety in redundancy"). They contain Web pages,
television programming, films, e-books, archives of discussion
lists, etc. Such materials can help linguists trace the
development of language, journalists conduct research,
scholars compare notes, students learn, and teachers teach.
The Internet's evolution mirrors closely the social and
cultural history of North America at the end of the 20th 
century. If not preserved, our understanding of who we
are and where we are going will be severely hampered. The
clues to our future lie ensconced in our past. It is the
only guarantee against repeating the mistakes of our
predecessors. Long gone Web pages cached by the likes of
Google and Alexa constitute the first tier of such archival

The Stanford Archival Vault (SAV) in Stanford University
assigns a numerical handle to every digital "object" (record)
in a repository. The handle is the clever numerical result
of a mathematical formula whose input is the number of
information bits in the original object being deposited.
This allows to track and uniquely identify records across
multiple repositories. It also prevents tampering. SAV
also offers application layers. These allow programmers
to develop digital archive software and permit users to
change the "view" (the interface) of an archive and thus
to mine data. Its "reliability layer" verifies the
completeness and accuracy of digital repositories.

The Internet Archive, a leading digital depository, in its
own words:

  " working to prevent the Internet - a new medium with
  major historical significance - and other "born-digital"
  materials from disappearing into the past. Collaborating
  with institutions including the Library of Congress and
  the Smithsonian, we are working to permanently preserve
  a record of public material."

Data storage is the first phase. It is not as simple as it
sounds. The proliferation of formats of digital content has
made it necessary to develop a standard for archiving Internet 
objects. The size of the digitized collections must pose a
serious challenge as far as timely retrieval is concerned.
Interoperability issues (numerous formats and readers)
probably requires software and hardware plug-ins to render
a smooth and transparent user interface.

Moreover, as time passes, digital data, stored on magnetic
media, tend to deteriorate. It must be copied to newer media
every 10 years or so ("migration"). Advances in hardware
and software applications render many of the digital records
indecipherable (try reading your word processing files from
1981, stored on 5.25" floppies!). Special emulators of older
hardware and software must be used to decode ancient data
files. And, to ameliorate the impact of inevitable natural
disasters, accidents, bankruptcies of publishers, and
politically motivated destruction of data - multiple copies
and redundant systems and archives must be maintained. As time
passes, data formatting "dictionaries" will be needed. Data
preservation is hardly useful if the data cannot be searched,
retrieved, extracted, and researched. And, as "The Economist"
put it ("The Economist Technology Quarterly, September 22nd,
2001), without a "Rosetta Stone" of data formats, future
deciphering of stored the data might prove to be an
insurmountable obstacle.

Last, but by no means least, Internet libraries are Internet
based. They themselves are as ephemeral as the historical
record they aim to preserve. This tenuous cyber existence
goes a long way towards explaining why our paperless offices
consume much more paper than ever before.

Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism 
Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East".
He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press 
International (UPI) and and the editor of mental
health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory,
Suite101 and Until recently, he served as the
Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.
His web site:
              Copyright © 2001 Mike Valentine
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  November 5, 2001