Vintage Jeff Young on a tear about metrics, online advertising, corrupt bloggers, and the price of milk at the local 7-11. Seeing as how he links to my metrics booklist, I thought I’d reciprocate:
“I’m talking about the unquestioned adoption of the religion of the Holy Church of Internet Advertising, and its scary priestdom of “metrics”, whose dominance is destroying the beautiful egalitarianism of the Web. It is about to get worse by orders of magnitude with the appearance of “location based services” as the patents recently revealed by Google make clear. If that all wasn’t bad enough, there is the Faustian deal with the Devil crafted by Google to hobble Chinese access to the Internet. The rise of a cult of advertising, the silence of the lambs as we go quietly to slaughter, and the howls of protest when our government listens in to Al Qaeda coupled with the muted protests about Google’s “do no evil” manipulation of search results in order to do the bidding of a repressive and authoritarian regime strikes fear into my heart.”
Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. First, as the Great McNealy once said, “You have no privacy, get over it.” Second, apply the Free Lunch rule to any website and ask yourself: would I pay for this? If you aren’t paying for it, then some marketer is picking up the tab for you in the slim hope that you might reach up and Punch the Monkey.
As for the Blogosphere Eating Its Young (not you): sure; it’s the way of the world. Slag and be slagged and watch the traffic pile on when the bodies start flying across the Infomercial Stupid Hypeway.
And metrics are fun. Seriously. To be able to divine the entrails of one’s traffic is very, very refreshing. Don’t get all privacy-crazed. No one knows who is who in a traffic log. It’s the patterns, the data mining, that human drive towards perfection in all operations, and the footnoted realization that you can never, ever, ever be 100 percent sure, but you can keep tweaking and optimizing until you know, down to the penny, what’s working and what’s failing ….
This scrutiny is murder on editors used to two metrics — newstand and paid circ. Now they can see who did what to them when. Accountability is a bitch.