Does it Matter?

If you enjoy consuming something, but you later find out that you found or experienced it under a false pretense, does it matter how it came into your stream of consciousness? Many people who search probably do not realize search results have paid ads on them, or that some engines may bias their regular results toward informational websites to increase ad clickthrough rate.

Few people understand that the organic search results are manipulated by people like you or I. Google states that some kinds of manipulation are acceptable while others are not. But who gives Google that authority when they sometimes do not even follow their own guidelines or policies? How can they freely add links to other's websites, buy links, sell links, and state that buying or selling other types of links is somehow wrong?

Google teaches publishers to blend ads in their content, and funds the placement of ads on what many call low quality content. Yet some people land on those pages, click on the ad that describes what they want, and end up somewhere they want to be.

Many magazines blend ads to look like content, and/or have insertion fees which is basically a way to buy exposure.

People create and spin controversies to get media exposure. In some cases both parties involved in the controversy will have off the record chats to talk about how the story should be spun for maximum benefit to both sides.

I have seen people give away tens of thousands of dollars worth of their books because their book was nothing more than thinly disguised self-promotional marketing material. And I have seen some of these books become best sellers!

Some people watch Fox News even though it is blatantly and obviously biased. Many news channels show packaged video press releases as being part of their news program. And many news networks work with one another to present a highly biased view of the world that promotes the agendas of affiliated businesses.

Generally any form of content creation, publishing, aggregation, or information sorting is going to be biased toward the goal of self preservation and the beliefs of the power sources within that organization (and affiliated organizations). Goal #1 of any business or organization is self preservation.

Right now there is a diary video series on YouTube which is fake, and will likely a lead in to some sort of movie or marketing message (or maybe all content is somehow a form of marketing). Yet each of the 27 videos in the series (thusfar) has averaged around 200,000 views.

Many artists write abstract song lyrics which have entire sites devoted to what the hell did they mean?

People have got other ideas out of things I have wrote and called me a genius or brilliant for their (mis)interpretation of what I wrote. If I meant what they thought I did, then I would indeed be far smarter than I am. :)

Every human action, every thought pattern, and just about every piece of information is likely somehow flawed (during creation and during interpretation / consumption).

Does it matter if information was created via pure intentions that matched why the audience like it?

Does it matter if information is ranked, sorted, placed, or found via the force of a person who bought the exposure or gained it through gaming some authority system which claims to be relevant even though it doesn't understand why?

Outside of ignorance, is purity anything more than a myth?

Published: September 9, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


September 9, 2006 - 6:54am

I find belief systems intriguing. When one truly believes, anything can seem real. Faith, denial, *belief* can cause you to do things you might otherwise be unable to do (kill, ignore pain, demonstrate amazing strength in an emergency).

When I write I know I project multiple meanings. Your belief system will drive you to see what you see. In SEO, your experience sets the stage for your beliefs...I can't help that some will see white while others will see black, but I can certainly lead them along if I know where they stand. Funny... that's marketing, right?

September 9, 2006 - 9:51pm

Who in the right mind would choose a whale of a woman to impregnate over of Heidi Klums (just pretend you have the luxury to choose for a second) because for the purpose of your genetic survival, either choice would get the job done?

Evolutionary drive trumps self-preservation.

Then again, for some people, desperate times call for desperate measures.

September 9, 2006 - 11:01pm

I am soooo not sure how what you are saying relates to this post Halfdeck.

September 11, 2006 - 2:22am

Well, this will always be a fine line. I would love to hear Milli Vanilli's thoughts on this.

Girl, You Know It's True

September 11, 2006 - 3:10am

Well I know Milli Vanilli went a bit far with it, but I am not even so much questioning the end merchant or the consumer (just noting both have flaws inherent to their existence). More of what I am getting at is that intermediaries only have influence because we chose to give it to them.

Is someone wrong to fool an intermediary? If so, why.

September 11, 2006 - 5:20pm

Hey Aaron,

Could you please explain your comments on Google re: they buy and sell links, etc?
Also, the flaws in the biz model.

September 11, 2006 - 8:44pm

Absolutely there is less black and white and more gray. Like anything else, it often comes down to motive and intent. And often, each instance seems to require its own analysis based on the characteristics and environment of the subject at hand. If you are dealing in an often hyped, take it with a grain of salt, subject, than the leeway for acceptability is probably much greater than other subjects... where what and how follow a tighter standard of acceptability.

Marketing is all about creating buzz and spinning things just right. There is a point of attracting attention and then letting the buyer make an educated decision on what you are offering. I think things start to get ugly when you start jumping way over that line, when it becomes less spin, and more outright deception and lies... this is the thin line that sometimes separates marketers from con men.

September 13, 2006 - 8:58pm

very interesting argument. reminds me of the discussion i had a while back trying to convince my friend that Britney Spears and Bob Dylan are essentially producing the same quality of music...depending on who's listening. music in particular is a piece of art that may have had an author's intention at the time of creation, but can be received a million different ways to varying audiences. granted, my personal taste tells me Britney is horrible, Bob Dylan is good. But purity (and by extension: quality) can be revealed as myths.

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