Lord Maitreya's Internet Marketing Adventures

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It’s never easy, is it?

Ahhh, another blog post.  I am feeling particularly spicy today, like some delicious Lamb Vindaloo.  I’m in the library intermittently working on the OST for Jake’s Dead (have you watched the trailer yet?), watching Jake’s Dead, and reading the chapters for this week.  Charles Shaw and I had an epic battle for my consciousness last night, and I watched The Pest to top it all off.  I’m perfectly primed for a great blog post.

pictured: quality entertainment

(image courtesy of i.ytimg.com)

On an incredibly unrelated note, The Pest is one of my favorite movies.  It reminds us of all the things we’re doing our best to forget when it comes to the ’90s.

Anyways…

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of the letter W and the number 8.  And we all know what that means!  Yes, I’m writing about search engine optimization!  Since the reading is beginning to draw to a close in Search Engine Optimization by Jon Rognerud, I want to talk about another aspect of the internet sensation that I had never stopped to ponder.  Once you’ve your website up and running, is there anything else that you need to do, or do search engines just know that you’re now on the prowl?

It turns out, there are some steps that need to be taken in order to ensure visibility that go beyond links and content.  You have to submit your website if you want those page views quickly.  Sure, you can wait for people to discover your site (assuming you’ve done everything else right), but that could take time and money, and who wants to spend extra money for suspect results?  No, you want views NOW, and that means taking proactive steps.  You can have something fantastic, but if nobody knows about it, you might as well have never made it in the first place.  Remember Dinotopia?  Probably not.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my whole life (I’m talking about the books, not the stupid syndicated series on Hallmark), but not enough people knew about it, and I guess it tanked, because I haven’t seen any new books in the series recently, and a cursory search of the internet indicated that many of the books are out of print.  Hang on, I’m going to order a copy of The World Beneath real quick, because that book was epic.

Epic stuff like this shaped my childhood... because I didn't have any... you know... friends

(image courtesy of Dinotopia.com)

Free 2-day shipping, FTW!

So you’ve started a website, and you need to find out how to get people to come to it quickly.  The internet has undoubtedly shortened the average person’s attention.  Yes, as stated before, you can just wait until a crawler indexes your site, but who knows when they’ll pass by your neck of the woods next?  No, what you need to do is submit your site to the various indexes that keep track of all the places online.

Yahoo!, Ask, MSN, and AOL all have directories that webmasters submit their sites to.  DMOZ is an open directory run by Mozilla, and works in a similar way to the other directories, allowing sites to be categorized and cataloged for easy retrieval.  According to the totally interesting and not overly-technical reading, there are free ways to submit your site to a directory automatically, but this is generally to be avoided.

“Search engines don’t like automatic submissions.  they get millions of attempted automatic submissions each day, and as a result, go to great lengths to try to stop them, such as requiring passwords and/or fill-in details before the submission is accepted.”  -Pg. 159

You want your site to stand out, meaning that you want it properly cataloged.  Imagine if you used an automatic service (or worse, paid someone) to submit your site to a directory, only to find that your Beanie Baby appreciation site was cataloged under “hardcore bestiality.”  Needless to say, you’d be just about as confused as the people who wound up on your site.  To avoid that, submitting your site yourself allows you to pinpoint exactly where you want it to be categorized, allowing you a modicum of control.

The book goes on to talk about how long it can take for your site to be listed on various search engines after submission, and it can take up to 2 months!  As I said earlier, you can use spiders to your advantage (the only time that combination of words will EVER be true), by making sure that your site is optimized for spiders to catalog your content.  Spiders read text more than HTML, so having a good amount of text allows spiders to pick out a number of text-based things that allow easy categorization.

NOTE- DO NOT EVER TYPE THE WORD “SPIDER” INTO A GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH!  ESPECIALLY WITH SAFESEARCH OFF… YES, THERE’S PORN…

Well, I’m scarred for life (again).  But let’s be honest, the only real search engine on the planet is and will remain Google.  When was the last time you used Yahoo!?  I only use Yahoo! for finance, and most other search engines give me the stupidest results imaginable.  But how do you get on Google?  Well, it’s not an exclusive gentleman’s club.  You CAN get on there, you just have to know what’s what with Google’s system.  According to the book, Google looks at sites from the topmost left corner of a site to the bottom right.   With most sites having content on the right and navigation and links on the left, this can lead to spiders (mental imagery still fresh… ugh) judging that your content is not as optimized as it may actually be.  Inserting a blank pane in the top left will cause the spider to look at content first, leading to better listings.

Now we're cooking with napalm!

(Image courtesy of acervulus.x10hosting.com)

As it turns out, the rest of the chapter isn’t on how to get your stuff on Google, but it’s about all the stuff on your site that Google flat-out ignores.  Apparently, they ignore keywords, comments tags, styles, scripts, and graphics, animations, and videos.  That algorithm they use had better be friggin amazing if they ignore that much stuff on your site, while still being the top-dog search engine.  They’re like the Donald Trump of the Internet.

Well, that’s my post for today.  And now, this…

Star wars rock concert. You know you'd go.

(Image courtesy of pyromaniac.com)

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February 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adwords? On MY Internet?

I’m going to be a little more straightforward in this post, because I simply don’t have a lot of time.  Don’t worry, I’ll still have you in stitches with my caustic wit and crude genius, but this post isn’t going to run for my average of 2,000 words.  Aside from the multiple hours of study per day I need to maintain my colossal GPA (no, I’m not modest.  Why do you ask?), and my part-time job delivering overpriced food to lazy yuppies, I have something else entirely on my plate for which many of my friends are jealous, and which is going to require a lot of extracurricular effort…

I’m scoring a feature film.  I was contacted by an acquaintance who is directing a movie called Jake’s Dead, and he heard my music from a friend of a friend, and he wants me to produce part of the original musical score for this limited-release feature film.  Don’t rain on my parade, here.  Most music producers never make it this far in their whole careers.   Aside from the awesome fact that I’m producing music for a cool horror film that is all shot at familiar locales in and around Marin County, I got to watch a rough cut of the movie, and it was fantastic.  Sorry, all you get is the trailer.  Go to http://www.jakesdead.com to check it out.

Yes, the movie is awesome

(Image courtesy of twisted arrow productions at jakesdead.com)

Now that I have my exciting personal anecdote out of the way, let’s get down to brass tax here.  We’re finally at the point in the book where I feel like my expertise truly ends and the unknown expanse of how advertising is actually handled on this Internet thing begins to stretch out before me.  And the reading segways perfectly into our Google Online Marketing Challenge assignment.  Because I have made it my business to understand this assignment to the best of my ability, this chapter was by far the most interesting one yet.  I feel like I understand the concepts of all this AdWord mumbo-jumbo, but actually putting that conceptual knowledge into practice is something else altogether.  Kind of like how a person may understand how to do a backflip from a conceptual point of view, but then winds up in the hospital because doing it in practice is more difficult than simply applying the physics.

Theory is not the same as practice

(Image courtesy of gifaday.blogspot.com)

This assignment, working with a real ad campaign on a real advertising platform, is something not many marketing students get to do.  This is why I am excited to do the assignment.  But, to prove that nothing in life can be totally awesome with no drawbacks, I have come to realize that AdWords isn’t easier marketing, just a piece of the marketing pie.  AdWords is a great platform for generating real customer interest and conversion, but it’s not the end-all-be-all magic bullet for marketing.  I began to realize that while doing the reading for this week’s post.  The reading this week comes from the rare and highly sought after first edition text called The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine by Jon Rognerud.  In the enigmatic tenth chapter of the book, the author focuses on techniques to drive traffic to your site.

It totally IS!

(Image courtesy of bytesizebio.net)

This book does a great job of hammering the same things into your head over and over again until you suffer a concussion from learning.  Of course, the book reiterates the importance of links, press releases, and all of the other things that I have covered in previous posts.  But what made this chapter great is that it goes into a lot of detail about Pay Per Click advertising, which is what Google AdWords is.

Google AdWords and other Pay Per Click advertising services are largely the same.  You design an ad that will be viewed by Internet users, and you select all the keywords you want that will bring up your ads in the ‘sponsored links’ section of the search page when those keywords are searched.  What I didn’t realize was that you could choose negative keywords that you don’t want to associate your site or business with.  You can select keywords that will ensure your ad will not show up when they are searched.  This allows you to target your search results even further, making sure that you are associated with the things you want, and not associated with the things you don’t want.  Imagine you own an online toy company, and your ad pops up during a search for “sex toys.”  That would be pretty embarassing.

Not only that, but using AdWords is a cutthroat business.  You can outbid other companies, and even use a competitor’s name as one of YOUR keywords!  Talk about craziness!

One thing that the book goes into depth about is the landing page, which is the page that your AdWords ad will link the viewer to.  You don’t want to just take them to the homepage, because they may lose interest (and it costs you money).  You want to take them to the most relevant page on your site for the keywords that they used.  Unfortunately for my group, our company uses a funky style for their website: every page on the website has the same exact URL, meaning that there is one, and only one, landing page.  That’s not SEO.

To quote zeh book:

When developing PPC (Pay per click) campaigns it’s a good idea to create specific pages for visitors to land on when they click the ad.  This type of page is called a Landing Page or Lead Capture Page.  If you’re running multiple PPC or ad campaigns, you can have multiple landing pages.  The landing page displays content aligned with the ad.  You can optimize with keywords and phrases related to the ad.  Landing pages allow you to test the effectiveness of your campaigns by measuring click-through rates.—-pg. 177

This brings me to the website of the company my group chose for our Google Online Marketing Challenge.  We chose Triumph4th.com, which is the website for a local skateshop.  Due to a lack of foresight, or a lack of understanding about search engine optimization, there is only one landing page.  This makes advertising using AdWords difficult for this site, because every customer lands on the same spot, and a good number of them might simply click to somewhere else instead of “entering” the site. It’s going to be interesting to see how we navigate around this conundrum.

February 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s chase this feeling…

Okay, we have a lot to cover today, so let’s get right to it.  Over the past few days, I have had my nose buried in two luminary texts that provide insight into this crazy fad known as the Internet.  Of course, I’m speaking of Search Engine Optimization by the living legend, Jon Rognerud, and the canonical religious text of internet users everywhere, The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko and David Brake.  These two ancient tomes, saved from the burning library of Alexandria [citation needed] during the Roman conquest of Greece, have been passed down to help us navigate the ancient and scary world of the Internet.

ye olde google

(Image courtesy of blog.td76.com)

All historical jokes and nonsense aside, it’s time to get down to business.  During my reading of these lovely and intriguing texts, there was a good portion of information regarding Internet history and tips and tricks commonly employed to boost search results; however, I’m more interested in the way The Social Media Bible goes into great depth about what the role of the internet marketer is, and how to reach those people you call your audience.  I do have a lot to talk about in this post, but I want to start with the concept of community.

We all know that about 10% of the Internet will scar you for life (don’t worry, I’m not going to post any media to prove this point.  Just take my word for it), and that 10% of the Internet, while usually dark and uninviting, gets visited quite a lot.  I’m not going to go into detail about specific videos and pictures, but there are literally thousands of videos of people simply REACTING to some of the content that’s posted on the Internet.  It’s naive to assume that it’s all pictures of cats and old people getting hit in the nuts with footballs.  There are so many people online, each with different personalities and tastes that new and disturbing trends are popping up almost daily, and they gather huge followings.

This is Krystal... from STARFOX...

(Image courtesy of Deviantart.com… yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like)

Please allow me to explain what that image has to do with what I’m talking about.  The Social Media Bible, with its wise prose and luminary storyline, talks at great length about what you need to know about publishing online content in the aptly titled, “Chapter 4, Everyone’s a publisher.”  The chapter spells out various tenets to keep in mind while creating an online destination, and a big part of it is knowing your audience demographics, wants, and needs.  A big part of the collective online psyche is finding groups that you fit in with.  You get a little “clique” or “community” or “terrorist organization” going, and people can exchange thoughts and opinions related to the overarching subject material.  There are forums for discussing new music equipment, message boards for swapping tips in Adobe Photoshop, and there are image boards where people post pornographic fan art of Star Trek characters (no, I’m not joking).

The thing about the internet is that it allows people to find pretty much ANY group that they could possibly want (or not want) to fit in with.  There are needs that most people don’t think exist, but there are thriving online communities that cater to them.  Many of these sites encourage (either directly or indirectly) users to post their own original material related to the topic of the site or forum “room.”  There are sites that deal with material that ranges from cute to informative, funny to terrifying, but there’s always a sense of community in these places.  The picture above is part of an online furry-appreciation community (furries are people who are into half-animal, half-human…uhh…girls).  The point is, there are communities for that, and these people take comfort in the fact that they can interact and communicate with other people with similar interests.  That’s my point.

Now, I will use a real-world example of one of my favorite destinations on the web: Acidplanet.com

The Social Media Bible‘s chapter on publishing online content, understanding potential users, and creating community in order to drive traffic.  This is about the “social” aspect of “Social Media.”  Acidplanet.com is a free social networking site for musicians (and now, for some reason, filmmakers), where users can post their own original content to their profiles.  Users can visit profiles and leave reviews on peoples’ work, giving a brief description of what they thought about it, and then giving the song (or movie) a score of 1-10.  Every hour, all the scores for every song on the site (millions of them) are cataloged and ranked by score and genre.  There are separate charts for Hip Hop, Rock, Gospel, Reggae, Classical, Jazz, and so on and so forth.  There are also sub-genre lists, like East Coast Hip Hop, Dirty South, West Coast, Mainstream, Beats, etc.  On top of that, there’s a main chart that ranks every song, regardless of genre, and puts the top ten songs of the hour on the main homepage.

I have been involved in music production since 1997, and I have been a member of Acidplanet.com since 2006, operating under the name Lord Maitreya, which has become my go-to online personality (hence, the name of this blog). I’ve been posting my own original Hip Hop music regularly since 2006, although school has made my studio schedule a little difficult, and new material is infrequent.  My Acidplanet profile can be found at the following address.

http://www.acidplanet.com/artist.asp?songs=549210&T=4694

My Acidplanet Profile Banner

What makes Acidplanet different is the fact that the user generated content is ranked entirely by user behavior.  It’s not what the admins like or what gets the most listens, but it’s based on real-time feedback between users. Simply posting music doesn’t get you on the charts. You have to review other people’s work and be active in the community in order to get listens and, ultimately, reviews. I’ve been on the homepage chart about 5 or 6 times, and I’ve hovered at the top of the Hip Hop chart pretty regularly over the past few years every time I submit a new track, hitting number 1 in Hip Hop no less than two dozen times since 2008.

Therein lies the beauty of it all. People don’t visit the site for its own original content, although Acidplanet.com provides downloadable loops for use in music software, and a store to purchase loop and sample libraries.  They visit the site to interact and listen to new underground music from any genre you can imagine (and ton that you can’t possibly imagine).  Acidplanet.com fulfills a number of the tenets described in the chapter on publishing.  To quote The Social Media Bible:

Your content should have the effect of drawing people together in the same way that a successful sprots bar brings football fans together on a Sunday afternoon.  People like to interact with one another and belong to groups with common goals and interests.” -Pg. 78

“There is a general expectation that things on the Web should be free.  While there are some notable exceptions to this rule of thumb, you should be willing to make a lot of valuable content absolutely free and available to everyone.”  -Pg. 78

The chapter goes on to talk about community, and how user-generated content gives people an incentive to visit sites and engage with like-minded individuals.  This drives traffic.  People, as social beings, love to interact.  Even sites that don’t offer much user-generated content still allow interaction through comments sections and forums, driving people to become members and discuss site content.  Site forums allow admins to monitor trends among their visitors and tweak their formula to keep people coming back.

Let’s switch gears (and books) here.  We’ve discussed community and how it drives traffic, and I already went over links to drive search results in my last post.  The information in chapter 6 of the cautionary tale Search Engine Optimization carries over into the information I just talked about with relative ease.  Chapter 6 of the book covers basic marketing principles covered in most marketing classes, but with an online focus.  Chapter 8 covers links, which were covered in my last post ad nauseum, and so in this post, I will focus on chapter 6, which is about the psychology of the audience.

In practice, none of this is new to me.  I understand marketing pretty well (it’s my focus, after all).  But the importance of marketing when creating an online destination cannot be overlooked.  Every possible way that a person could wind up on your site involves marketing on some level, whether it’s through searching, links, or just having a name someone decides to randomly enter in the address bar.  All of those require some knowledge of where your audience is going to be, what they’re thinking, and what they’re into.

You just need to know who wants your product. Because this product appeals to someone.

(Image courtesy of kenhoward.com)

To any marketing student who’s been paying any kind of attention, Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” comes into play here.  You know what I’m talking about- the pyramid with the more important needs toward the bottom, like physiological needs and safety needs, and then goes upward with love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.  Then, the chapter goes on to cover various demographics like age group, marital status, familial status… you get the idea.

Different demographics respond in different ways.  While I could certainly go round for round on every single age group and demographic covered in the book, I’d rather follow my rock-solid formula of giving a quote and then a real life example on the Internet.  So let’s do that.  Because there are too many pessimistic and wise-guy comments I could make about marketing online to the teenage market, especially with lifestyle choice (two words: Jersey Shore), I’ll pick a more appropriate demographic.

Warning: THESE... PEOPLE... EXIST!!!!!

(Image courtesy of cdn.sheknows.com)

*Shiver*

Let’s take the relatively safe demographic of “upper-middle class.”  In Marin County, the lovely string of towns in Northern California where I hang my hat, this general demographic is a safe one to apply.  Then let’s take lower class people, such as those found in many parts of the East San Francisco Bay Area, and compare what their needs and interests are.  I’ll try to avoid stereotypes, although I am aware that they exist, and they are partially represented in the real world.  I’m going to pick a few things that I notice people tend to spend their money on, and think out loud about how they reach their demographics.

As far as Marin County goes, there are a lot of services people pay good money for that they can do themselves.  An insured dog walker in Marin county can command up to $35 per hour PER DOG, and they often walk five or six at once for a few hours at a time.  Others charge $30 per dog per walk.  Paying someone else to walk your dog for you may negate much of the joy of owning a dog in the first place, but hey, to each his own.  A cursory Google search revealed that there are 10 dog walking services in the Marin County area.  A search for dog walking services in Oakland revealed three results, but only one of them was in Oakland.  The others were in Piedmont and Emeryville, which are slightly better-off areas.  It’s reasonable to assume that the percentage of dog-owning families in both areas is similar, but their priorities are widely different.  In Marin, where people have lots of disposable income, widely accessible Internet, and plenty of errands to run and mistresses to visit, they may be out of the house for long stretches and need someone to take care of their dog for exorbitant prices.  In Oakland, where people don’t have quite as much free cash, Internet use is slightly less common, and priorities are widely different, paying someone sixty dollars to walk your dog simply doesn’t make sense in your budget.

Now, the dog walking services in Marin have fancy websites and such.  They’re marketing to a crowd who’s online habits ensure that they will be discovered with a simple Google search.  Simply type “Marin dog walking” into Google, and a handy map and list of phone numbers is instantly at your fingertips.  People in higher-income areas are more likely to get online and research options and find a good mixture of quality and a decent price, but they may spend a little extra to get better service.  In the East San Francisco Bay Area, among low-income people, if they have a dog, they likely walk it themselves, and according to Search Engine Optimization, “Keep in mind that poorer individuals may not have enough money to afford to surf the Internet at home.  This means they may have access through libraries or college campuses.”  Pg. 106

I realize dog walking is just an example, but it’s an example that shows the disparity between the goods and services sought by one group versus another, and where that service can be located.  If a well-off person wants their dog walked, they go online and find someone to pay for that service.  A less well-off person might ask a friend to do it instead, because spending money on something like that is inconsistent with their needs and values.  This is basic marketing, and I probably took WAY too long to describe all this, but I’m bored and I’m working, so I decided to blog.  And now, this…

lol

(Image courtesy of Roflrazzi.com)

February 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The almighty power of links

While I pride myself on being a versed voyager of all that is virtual, I am surprised at my own ignorance when it comes to the inner workings of this crazy internet thing everyone keeps going on about.  I’m familiar with so many aspects of the internet, but some seem to have eluded me thus far.  I use wikis on the regular (how else am I going to navigate the dialogue in the Mass Effect 2 romance quest with Tali?), I contribute comments on Cracked.com, and I use my digital sampler to pull audio off of Youtube so I can make my music.  Yes, I love the internet, with all its wonderful, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining content

Entertainment

(Image courtesy of holytaco/sites)

And, while I am familiar with all internet traditions (that was a meme-related joke, in case you were wondering), the inner-workings of this enigmatic network have remained what I believe Mr. Samuel L. Jackson calls “unknown unknowns- things we don’t know we don’t know.”  My ignorance regarding these matters is only matched by my insatiable determination to press on and learn.   So let’s get to it.

While doing the reading for this week’s blog post, I was met with a delightful blend of the familiar and less familiar aspects of online marketing.  This week, the reading comes from the time-honored classic, The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization by Jon Rognerud.  This page-turning masterpiece has intriguing characters, cloak-and-dagger suspense, and a heaping helping of technical jargon that will have any nun making millions selling porcelain ducks online

Mallards are half price if you buy a limited edition pintail

(Image courtesy of donstuff.files.wordpress.com)

During the reading, none of the language was particularly new or scary, but the process of getting a site up, running, and optimizing those search results is certainly a side of the internet I hadn’t stopped to ponder.  Sure, I knew that ponytailed nerds spend all day intermittently playing World of Warcraft and maintaining websites, but I didn’t realize that things like keywords buried in page content was all part of the plan to get more traffic to your site.  While I certainly know about HTML and Flash and other things that make a website what it is, I never made the connecton in my head that content IN the page was so important. I have been mystified on more than one occasion to find that my favorite sites don’t get any traffic, and now it makes sense.  Some of the websites I visit deal with such obscure and strange material, but they show up on searches thanks to all those links.

I swear, not many people check 2leep.com daily, but everyone in the universe needs to.  There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it.  I hadn’t until about a year ago, but it’s a pretty amazing site.  I found it through a link that was on Urlesque.com (another great site).  2leep is a site that connects some really cool blogs together to form a kind of bulletin board.  Blogs like English Russia, Environmental Graffiti, and others connect through 2leep and a similar site, Oddee.com.  The content of these blogs are always fascinating, like abandoned towns in Russia, or a list of the worlds 10 coolest cell phones (wristwatch video phone was my favorite).

But this brings me to my favorite kind of site: Link Dumps.  Link Dumps (like Holy Taco and Afro Jacks) may have some of their own content, but they also post insane quantities of links from all over the internet to articles, news, funny photos and videos, and other interesting content.  So when I go to search online for a story I found on Afro Jacks about the Wu-Tang vs. Beatles mashup CD, “Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers”, the search engine had the site, linked through Afro Jacks, onto the original site where I could download the CD for free from the record label.

The book spells out numerous ways you can increase those all-important organic search results.  While we’re on the topic of organic results, I would like to say that I’m surprised I never realized their importance.  I had always been of the opinion that results were based on popularity and relevance (which is true, to an extent), and not heavily reliant on various other factors, such as site content, links, the domain name you’ve chosen, the geographic region your customers and various other factors that all add up to make a sweet and juicy pie of online visibility goodness.  Yum.

Sweet and juicy pie of online visibility goodness

(Image courtesy of graphjam.com)

If I were to regurgitate some of the most interesting information I learned during the reading, it would definitely be in chapter 3 of Search Engine Optimization, by our good friend, Mr. Rognerud.  The chapter, called “The Website,” goes into great depth about what a website is, how you make one, how you register one, and the chapter rounds itself out with a nice grab-bag of tips and tricks you can use to give your website some zing and pep.  If one were so inclined, they could use graphics, animations, and various other content.  The overarching goal is, of course, to direct more people to your site.  The more relevant content you have that corresponds to what your target market is searching for, the greater the likelihood of exposure through search results.

But, as I said before, links were something I had overlooked entirely.

I will now use another real-world example.  The internet is a big place, and I’ve certainly seen my share of it.  As the times change, so does my taste, but I have always had a few staple sites that I can’t live without.  One of my favorite sites has historically been a little-known link dump known as Chrudat.com.  Chrudat was a funny place.  It had no original content of its own, but it was a good place to find a good portion of good videos and pictures that were always good for a few lulz (anon’s bastardization of the world lol.  More on anon later).  Chrudat was a great source for weekly-updated video and photo content, and it was always hilarious

I first saw this image on Chrudat. I subsequently died laughing.

(Image courtesy of babble.com)

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, Chrudat was redesigned, and now the site is practically useless.  All the content is gone, the new look is unattractive, and the overall feel of the site has changed.  So I started combing the internet for sites related to Chrudat in order to find a new link dump that suited my taste for off color comedy and meme-related time wasting.  I did a little bit of digging around to find sites that linked TO Chrudat.com (because Chrudat’s links were all gone).  I found a good number of sites that fit the bill.  I came to discover Cagepotato, Holy Taco, and Afro Jacks, all of which would have remained undiscovered had I not used used Chrudat’s name to find something that would fill the void left by its sudden demise.

Because I have such discerning taste (YTMND and memegenerator.net memes top my list of time wasters), the relative window of things online that interest me is rather small.  Discovering sites that host images and videos of memes would be hard work, even with the aid of Google.  While there are thousands of sites that host meme images, I don’t visit sites that have the odd reference or image.  I like dedicated meme hosts.  When I find a site that meets with my approval, I instinctively look at link-dump posts and link sections for other single-purpose sites that fit my criteria.  Since the memegenerator.net memes are often of the highest quality (they get the most lolz) I tend to frequent sites that post them.  Besides Foul Bachelor Frog (which is inappropriate) and Technologically Impaired Duck (check one of my earlier posts), I love Socially Awkward Penguin.

This happens, and it's awkward.

(Image courtesy of memegenerator.net)

Memes (online opinions or inside jokes that become insanely popular until they’re inevitably featured on Adult Swim), are a great example of how links operate online.  Since memes become viral quickly, and tracing their origin becomes increasingly difficult (a monumental task undertaken by Rocketboom’s Knowyourmeme.com), links and search engines are often the only way to find them.  Sometimes I only remember where the link was, and not the actual thing I want to see, so I just search for the page that the link was on.

While I realize that this example is a bit odd, it works.  Links are a key part of exposure, and having a network of sites allows users to quickly jump to sites that deal with similar content.  Sure, this allows visitors of one site to quickly visit another via hyperlink, but it also helps with search results.  This seemingly mundane aspect of search relevance made it possible for me to find some of my favorite sites, which I check daily.  During the writing of this post, I was alt-tabbing back and forth between wordpress and Holy Taco, and I decided to check Holy Taco’s link section.  I was surprised to find some of my favorite sites among the listings, including Oddee, Asylum, and Break.  Knowing that a site is connected to other sites that I trust not only speaks to a site’s credibility, but a Google search for content on any one of these sites would likely point me towards any one of their friends for similar content.  It’s like they thought of everything.  And to play us out… this…

Take ZAT, Barack Obama!

(Image Courtesy of Pwnage.ro)

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

And now, a Gary Busey intermission (note: gifs may take time to load)

Eternal Busey

Image courtesy of i.imgur.com

image courtesy of  i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll176/cynot3/Buseys.gif

Image courtesy of i.imgur.com

lol Gary Busey is crazy

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment