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How Desperate Can You Be For A Joke?

It’s probably about the third or fourth time I have seen this particular commercial on television. They are advertising a special number that you can dial on your cell phone which apparently results in a joke being sent to your cell phone in text format.

The jokes, are, of course reported to be “hilarious.” While they are telling you what a wonderful service this is, the small print at the bottom of the screen reveals that each joke will cost you 99 cents. Wow, that’s like a buck a joke! Is a joke worth a buck? I guess that is for the consumer to decide.

I couldn’t help but think how many joke sites there are on the Internet that you could visit for free. Naturally, you probably have to pay for your Internet connection, but it sure isn’t going to cost you 99 cents for each joke you’ll find on the net.

Since I’ve seen this commercial a few times, I have to presume they are actually making money with this thing. That’s pretty amazing to me since I wouldn’t dream of using a “service” like that. If you’re someone who is willing to spend 99 cents on a single joke, do me a favor and give me a call! I’ll look up a whole bunch of jokes to tell you over the phone if you want to to hear them that badly.

Beware of Web Pollution

So, what is “web pollution?” Well, it’s really pretty much what it sounds like. It’s pollution that is beginning to clog up the web with useless sites that are created automatically by computer programs. You’ve probably seen them yourself. For instance, if you do a search on Google or Yahoo or any of the major search engines, you will find these “web pollution” sites. They are essentially just collections of links to other sites — commonly referred to as web directories.

Now I don’t want to give directories a bad name. After all, there are many useful directories on the Internet as well. However, just like anything else in life, there are good directories and bad directories, or “web pollution” as I like to call them.

They are easy to spot once you have seen a few of them. They often have advertising links right at the very top of their home or index page. After all, that is the whole purpose of creating the site — it’s done 100% for the advertising revenue. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with creating a site to make a little money with — I do some advertising also and it sure helps pay for the web hosting and other related expenses. However, there is one big difference between genuinely useful directory sites and these “web pollution” sites I am talking about!

That difference is the content! Find one of these “web pollution” sites on the Internet and start going through their list of links. You will soon see many links showing up that are not related to the subject that the site is supposed to be all about!

I was recently searching for some information and came across one of these “web pollution” directory sites. I was searching for a topic that was quite innocent in nature and could very well be something that someone’s children might search for on the net. My surprise was that there were links that led to pornographic sites in among the directory of links that were supposed to be related to the subject I was searching for!

That’s the problem with these “web pollution” sites. They are created with computer programs that go out and do an automated search on the search engines and then just dump all the results out to create a new web site. In many cases it takes no more than 5 minutes! Then the creator of the site uploads the site and he’s online with a brand new “web pollution” site in about 5 or 10 minutes! He or she then moves on to another subject, say, model airplanes for example, and 5 or 10 minutes later a new “web directory” is born all about model airplanes! Well, somewhat about model airplanes anyway.

The problem, as you can see from our example with my recent search, is that the computer programs that create these “web pollution” sites just go out and search for whatever the web site creator tells them. So, when the program goes out and searches for the word “dress,” which happened to be part of the search I was performing, it grabs every page with that word and stuffs it into the “directory,” since no program has the smarts to actually read the entire page and find out what the subject of the page actually is. The program finds “dress,” and it has done its job as far as it is concerned!

How do I know so much about these kind of programs? I actually tried one! When I became interested in creating some web directories, I decided to search around and see if there was any software that would help me do that. I found this particular software that was selling for about $250 and decided to try it, since it had a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Now I admit I should have known better since this software was created by a well-known Internet marketing “guru” with the help of some computer guy he hooked up with. These Internet marketing gurus are just like all the other gurus out there — the late night infomercial gurus that will teach you how to trade stock and become a millionaire or buy real estate and sell it for amazing profits and get rich. It’s all pretty much the same deal. The question you need to ask yourself is this: If they have such a powerful method for making tons of money, why don’t they just follow their own advice and quietly make millions of dollars from the comfort of their own home instead of hawking their “systems” or whatever on late-night TV or on the Internet? I think you know the answer to that!

Anyway, I decided to try the software and see if it was any good. I put it to work building a few web directory sites (they were never uploaded to a “live” site, so they never saw the light of day, so to speak) on a few different subjects to see how they turned out. It took me about a minute to figure out that the program was garbage. Not only did it repeat a lot of the same sites in the directory over and over again, many of the links had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject I had intended to create the site about! Much like the porno “dress” story I discovered during my search. The creators of this software make all kind of bold claims (as gurus always do!) about how wonderful the software is and what “quality” directories it creates. Pure garbage!

They know they are enabling a bunch of people to go out and create these “web pollution” sites and degrade the quality of the Internet, but that does not matter because they are pocketing $250 from each new “web blaster” they help create. I like the term “web blaster” for the creators of these “web pollution” sites since they don’t deserve to be called “web master” like someone who builds a useful web site. They are simply sitting there, typing in a few keywords and clicking a mouse a few times to send their automated programs off to blast out another new web site. Why take the time to do it right when you can just have a program do it all for you?

That’s the difference between quality directories and those “web pollution” sites. You won’t find any irrelevant or non-related links in a quality directory. The reason these “web blasters” don’t end up with quality sites with links that are limited to the subject they claim to be all about is because it takes time and it takes work to sort through all the links and make sure they actually belong in the directory! Sure, search engines make it a lot easier than it once was, but you still have to look at each and every site you intend to put in the directory to make sure it is appropriate. And at the very least, make sure it is not a link to a porno site!

These “web pollution” directories are really getting out of control and I surely hope the folks that run the major search engines figure out a way to identify them and ban them from the search engine listings. I’m sure it is something they are working on and will eventually figure out. Good luck to all the “web blasters” when that happens. I think they will see their advertising revenue dry up rather quickly!

By the way, the creator of the software that I tried actually did refund my $250 when I told them what I thought of their software and that I wanted a refund, so I’ll give him a little credit for at least honoring that promise. If you happen to find this article because you are searching for information about web directories and are curious about the automated software I tired, feel free to get in touch with me and I will tell you exactly what software it was.

20/20’s Summer Myths

The ABC News Program 20/20 ran an interesting special last night called “Summertime Myths.” I don’t generally watch all that much network TV, but a promo for this show caught my eye earlier in the day and I decided to tune in.

I’ve always been a fan of John Stossel since he comes across to me as a straight shooter. Compared to all the hot air blown around the network airwaves by the other windbags, I always enjoyed seeing him come on and tell it like it is.

The myths they discussed that I found particularly interesting are as follows:

Being in you car during a thunder storm does indeed offer some protection from lightning. This is, of course, if your automobile is made of metal. Corvettes and other non-metal vehicles don’t offer this protection.

“Premium” gasoline is a rip-off for the vast majority of drivers today. Today’s modern vehicles simply do not need it and will run every bit as good on the “regular” grade gasoline. The exceptions are some older vehicles which may “knock” or “ping” with the lower grade fuels and high-performance cars with high-compression engines.

That venerable old wives tale that suggests you should not go swimming right after eating is also complete nonsense. There is no evidence to support this claim whatsoever. I’ve had my doubts about this once since I was a kid. It always sounded silly to me.

The $3.00 bottle of self-tanning cream works just as good as the $30.00 bottle. They conducted some tests on the various brands of self-tanning creams and discovered that there was no detectable difference between them. They all contain the very same active ingredient, so it is easy to see why there was little or no difference between the bargain brand and premium brands.

Yes, it appears that cooking meat on the barbeque may increase your risk of getting cancer. Scientific evidence proves that carcinogens are produced during the process. They are not yet sure how significant the danger is at this point, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. For example, do not overcook you meat, pre-cook in the microwave first before placing it on the barbeque and for some reason that they don’t yet understand, using a marinate before cooking also reduces the risk.
If you care to read more about these summertime myths, you can click on the following link to visit the “20/20” web site.

20/20’s Summertime Myths

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