Friday, July 22, 2011

Winning on the Internet

What I wanted to talk about this morning is how the Moguls of the Internet hold all the cards in this game.

I'm not here to whine about it. Young folks whine about stuff. At my time of life I'm supposed to strike a philosophical attitude. If you live long enough you see that nothing changes. No point in complaining.

But here's the scoop. The Facebook Moguls are in charge of Facebook. Any benefit you derive from being on Facebook is secondary to the benefit that Facebook derives from exposing you to advertising, messing with your friend list, denying you access to disapproved YouTube videos, shutting down your fan page for no discernible reason and doing all the other weird unexpected stuff that gives them pleasure.

Blogger, same thing. Okay, maybe not quite so blatant, but still. The Blogger folks suggest to you that you can "monetize" your blog by letting them put ads on it, in case anybody actually reads your blog. I say that's just crass. In the case of my personal blog ( hardly anybody views it anyhow, except for a strange cadre of Russian spambots that keep trying to leave comments in Cyrillic, with links to counterfeit shoe sites and the like. Lotsa luck gaining any advantage by exposing these entities to advertising.

And yet Blogger also offers to link you to in case anybody wants to buy a book or product you happen to mention. Amazon will give you money if anybody clicks on the link and buys the item.

When I saw that, I thought, view halloo. Maybe the Crimewriters could pick up enough change to treat themselves to a latte from time to time. So I signed up for it.

And I mentioned a book on last Monday's blog. It was Harold Davis's   An International Community on the St. Croix (1604-1930), and if you want to buy it, go ahead and click. It's an intensely sentimental item to me, probably not of much interest to very many other people. If I didn't already have my own copy, tattered, held together with duct tape, an heirloom passed down to me from my father, I would want it, and I would gladly pay $75 for it, going without food for a couple of days to pay for it, or going without new shoes for maybe a month. But you probably don't want it. Anyway if you do we get a cut of the proceeds. Just to let you know.

Unless Amazon decides to mess with us somehow.

Kate Gallison

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