Oct 162012
 

We all have a mission. Hopefully not a megalomaniac one, because most successful megalomaniacs throughout history were in at least one way war criminals, thugs and villains who greatly increased levels of human suffering around them (say Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, to stay clear of some other names and avoid offending some people’s religious or political views). Our mission isn’t to go and conquer distant lands and torture and kill all who resist, or to conquer heavy seas, killing all sailors who don’t want to follow, nor does it only involve sweating the big stuff. We have a duty to sweat the small stuff as well. If nobody did, this world would be much different and we’d still be animals. So here’s one more thing you can do every day to contribute to everybody’s well-being and easier internet browsing: To the contrary of what you’d expect, you should click on the ads of annoying companies, politicians and annoying ads per se (ex: the freaky-accented talking lizard claiming his overpriced insurance is cheaper) and I’ll explain why in further text.

In my book there are three kinds of spam, email spam, web search engine spam and annoying ads spam.

With the email spam (junk email), the more you try to deal with spammers, the worse it could get. Trying to unsubscribe notifies the spam sender that your email address is valid. So if the senders are not in the USA, they don’t have to follow our spam-related laws and regulations, meaning they can do whatever they want with your email address, including sharing it with (selling it to) other spammers. Even if they are in the USA, they can unsubscribe you from their own spam, but still sell your email address to other spammers, and say “oops” if they’re caught, can’t they? So with this type it’s best to stay invisible and just move it where it belongs, the spam or junk box of your email provider.

Search engine spam is different – these are websites that use some sneaky search engine optimization tricks to lure search engines into “thinking” they are relevant and so users who enter legit search keywords end up visiting pages and sites that have very little or worthless content and no true value for their search. Google is slowly but surely getting a grip on these time wasters whose only purpose is increasing revenue based on SEO tricks, followed by advertisements and sales. The trick is that these people are constantly relying on naive users who instead of getting the heck out of there as soon they see they got fooled, use the “since I’m here” approach and keep clicking on links or buy products on these sites.

Pages like this need to be reported to Google or whichever other search engine you’re using. But the problem with all search engine spam is that naive users don’t know what to do, while advanced ones just get out and do nothing and this is why we all still have to deal with search engine spam. If most people reported bad sites to Google and other search engines, the level of search engine spam would get back to bearable levels very quickly. The problem is that people don’t want to protect others, thinking they would be investing in something without a return, but I invite you to always question your action with these words: what if everybody did this? If you’re doing something great, it brings good karma, helps humanity prosper and helps you sleep well. If you’re doing something parasitic, or follow the “I got owned so the others should too” well, you get the picture.

But the annoying ads are different – they appear at legitimate websites and seem to follow you based on your search history. However, there’s one thing you should know – each time you click on them, the advertising site collects a payment from the company that’s posted the ad. If we all clicked on the most annoying ads (such as “the economic crash is near”), the advertisers would have to reconsider their strategy because they’d be paying their advertisement fees without any results. That’s exactly what I keep doing with these ads – I keep clicking them just to annoy and skew the stats. Since I keep visiting same pages that I like, my clicking on them still brings revenue to places where they’re hosted, but it subtracts revenue from the annoying ads I can’t stand. I always open them, but I’m careful not to follow any links or do anything else on these sites. Of course, if you were visiting some sorry Mickey Mouse excuse for a website you shouldn’t click anything and just get out of there asap, but if you see some very annoying ads at your favorite websites, just clicking on them without any purchase will do enough damage.

So that’s my little conspiracy. This reminds me of and was probably inspired by my college times analog and digital electronics professor Kramer, who used to send back empty business reply mail envelopes from any junk mail he received. Just like him, this is just my little way of trying to work against those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to sell their products and make a living without constantly selling lies to trusting people. I don’t mind ads of trusted brands and manufacturers but the information age has brought more opportunity not only to those who mean well, but also to hustlers, spammers, scammers and Brooklyn bridge sellers. It’s time we all do something to stop them.

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