How to Make Money (By Being a Dick)
Maybe I’ll write something more in-depth on this at a later date. For now, just a brief overview of the practice. It’s not that far removed from e-mail spam, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you or me. Basically, there is a way to make money, and lots of it if you work hard at being a dick.
The basic business model is generating web traffic for bullshit. We’ve all seen it happen via placeholder pages and the like, but those are not proactive dickery. The proaction comes in the form of comment spam, message board spam, and the like. And now, a new flavor: wikispam.
Basically what happened was this: I recently, out of curiosity and such, joined Wikipedia. In the process of the ins and outs of checking on pages of interest to me, I came across a curious change: someone changed an innocent amazon.com link. At first I thought better of it, they were just optimizing the link or such. Upon further investigation, I found out they were doing no such thing. They were optimizing the link, to generate revenue for themselves. Basically, they have an affiliate account with amazon, and when someone clicked the link and actually made a purchase, they made a commission off of it.
I looked at the other edits by that IP, and what did I find? “Drug information” pages that were no doubt facsimiles of other information, with adsense embedded in the page. A small, three-byte edit of an author’s page: .net becomes .com. The .com page contains links to the author’s works for purchase on amazon, with the referral link.
Basically, there is a new type of entrepreneur emerging in the internet age. It’s not entirely new, with spammers having been around, but more and more it’s about getting traffic without giving content. Making money by putting yourself between the transaction… becoming a middleman with very little effort. Well, not little effort; no doubt such people spend an abundance of time optimizing their routines, and getting their traffic generating links wherever they can manage.
Awhile back I even read a story explaining how one man pulled in $500,000 in a year by maintaining hundreds of sites, and no doubt making himself as big of a dick as possible.
I’ve thought about that job, about putting ads on this page, or setting up a garden of pages to generate revenue… but at the end of the day unless I’m actually providing something positive, I’d rather starve. If I had something I felt like deserved monetary reward on here, I’d probably put a paypal link or such, maybe some adsense, but I don’t. And I don’t think I ever will; there’s no real traffic generated by this little site, and the amount of effort I put into it is purely for the sake of learning and enjoying that.
Sure, I wouldn’t mind $500,000 a year, but being a dick is too high a cost.