The internet offers a huge amount of benefits to those who wish to take the time to build a business or offer something creative to share with the rest of the world.
The qualities about online businesses which attracts the most people is the flexibility of lifestyle and the prospect of making a very good living because of the huge global exposure and reach which you potentially have by being connected online.
Unfortunately due to this wide potential market base there will always be those who will try to exploit this in ways considered to be unethical. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise because unethical business practices happen all the time and have been happening since man first started to trade in ancient times.
The only difference is, now with the interconnectedness of the world wide web and the huge internet technological advancements, the unethical side of business and marketing has been magnified.
For instance before the internet really started to take off in the late nineties, people were hardly ever confronted with ads, spam or junk mail about “acai berries” or “penis enlargement”. I mean when was the last time you got a flyer in your regular letterbox about “Adding 3 inches” to your you-know-what?
The peculiarity of today’s internet marketing is solely due to the nature of the technology itself and for all of the advantages and benefits the internet has brought us, the same advantages and benefits are unfortunately exploitable for those intent on using unethical means.
There are probably a few qualities about the online environment which are unique to it compared to other mediums and which therefore make the unethical marketing seem so much more pronounced.
For instance we already mentioned the grand scale of reach which people have when using the internet. You could potentially spam millions of people daily on the internet with little or no cost to you, whereas doing the same thing using snail mail would take you years and probably send you broke.
Also, the faceless nature of the internet makes it seem easier for people to fall into unethical practices because they don’t ever have to face the people they’re trying to scam.
The current global economic turmoil and job uncertainty is no doubt also playing a role in increasing peoples’ fear and desperation and so some are willing to try anything to make a few extra bucks.
But in the long haul you will find those trying to cheat the system and other people, eventually get found out and their money-making strategies come crashing down. Quite often these same types of people quickly try to think up new schemes and the process starts all over again.
The point is that from the perspective of building a stable income online, unethical schemes and scams are definitely not the way to go.
I know it’s a cliche but it’s also very true when people say: “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t”. This cliche has never been more apt than what has been happening on the internet now for over a decade.
Google and How It’s Leveling the Playing Field
Google is by far the most popular search engine, taking something like over 80% of the internet search pie followed by Bing and Yahoo who share less than 10% each (according to 2011/2012 statistics).
You may also probably know that Google is a huge business globally, making most of its money either directly or indirectly from search activities. Therefore as the biggest search engine provider, Google is also most exposed to the unethical activities of people trying to cheat the system. Due to this exposure, they are also constantly tweaking and refining their search engines to combat the low quality, low value, high spam sites being displayed in their search results.
The latest announcement by Google’s Matt Cutts (who is the head of the Webspam team) was that they are increasingly targeting sites which are “over-optimized” – meaning those sites which might have an overabundance of unnatural backlinks and stuffed with keywords which make them almost unreadable and uninformative.
After all it’s in Google’s and everybody else’s interest that they provide a quality service to its clients by way of offering relevant search results. This means reducing the number of bounces caused by sites which are low quality and spammy in nature.
The way Google usually targets low quality spammy sites is that it gives them a lower weighting and ranking in the search results. The effect of this is that such sites are demoted from say the top one hundred search results to something further down the rankings.
Changes in Google’s core search algorithm and rankings methods shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that Google apparently make hundreds of code and algorithm modifications per year. But what is becoming more and more surprising is the increasing intelligence being built into the Google algorithms which are making them smarter in identifying a “good” versus a “bad” site.
So what does this have to do with you and your online ambitions?
Quite simply, if you dedicate your time and work smart to offer quality products/services/information to people and in doing so you also instill ethical practices in your online business ventures, then you will more likely reap the rewards from your hard work; quite often simply from the benefits gained from Google’s smarter search algorithm.
About the Author: This post was written by Peter Petreski who is an author for Tips and Tricks HQ.