Sunday, July 27, 2014

The truth we all love to believe

Believe - open your eyes and see. All around you is the work of the Great Prophet Falsidicus. Open your mind and see his great works. Listen to the tales of wonder and marvel at the claims of the Great Prophet Falsidicus. Keep your mind open and do not judge the claims of our wonderful Prophet Falsidicus. It shall come to pass as the Great Prophet Falsidicus declared it would - those that work the miraculous labyrinth known as the Internet shall become rich and the LORD shall grin and the people shall feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats etc.

What is constantly related is that a website will get visitors and visitors will get money or advertising clicks or whatever. Everything to do with the internet revolves around getting visitors to a website or Twitter account or whatever. The problem is that people will NOT magically come to your website or Twitter account or blog or whatever. They have to have a reason to come and "my site is super sexy and super interesting" is not a good enough reason.

Another issue is how to find out how many actual visitors the site is getting. As an example, an old Weebly site which was paid for had some of the worst hit counters ever seen. That was clocking up around 200 hits a day yet it was not resulting in any calls whatsoever. Out of desperation, Google Analytics and a W3C counter were added which pretty much agreed with each other that the actual daily viewer rate was probably 3 or 4 actual viewers a day. That's far less than the rate Weebly reported.

Even Google Analytics and W3C are probably not that accurate. This blog according to the blog stats gets around 5,000 page views a month. How many of those are bots clicking on and off without a human reading is unknown. Yesterday the visitor figures looked like this according to Google Analytics.
There were apparently 11 visitors out of 14 that seemed to be real to Google Analytics. The other 3 were just bots which came up as bounces. The actual blog figures differ. They recorded 194 pageviews yesterday while Google Analytics recorded 11.
With all these conflicting figures - no two hit counters can ever seem to agree - it's very hard to see how many viewers any website actually gets. The key question is - how much money do websites make. Money is the important thing. As mentioned before the old Weebly site was not generating any business whatsoever. As it didn't generate business, there was singularly little point in continuing to run it and even less point in paying any of the associated fees for domain names nor for the webspace.
Out of interest a Bravenet counter was tried on two blogs. Clearly the Bravenet counter didn't work. Either that or there really were no hits. This is not a realistic scenario as a friend just said they enjoyed the latest blog article. Clearly some hit counters just don't work worth a hoot.

Put a website up and people will come. No - it doesn't work like that and hasn't worked like that no matter what website has been up. The only time a website gets guaranteed hits is if, for example, a former associate is stalking the owner and constantly visiting the site. That tends to show up rather well - particularly using W3C counter as below.
Clearly the person whose site that was, had a bad stalker problem that month. That one city/site/individual was responsible for probably 75% of the hits that month. This is another reason that web hits are unreliable. Any hits from a stalker or bot that repeatedly visits (who knows - the stalker could have been a web bot) tends to throw all the figures from being interesting to being worthless. That kind of worthless statistic could well lead to bad financial decision making if relied upon.

Having had websites of different kinds for the past 15 years it's quite clear that unless the website is associated with a well-known brand that few people are actually going to look for it. Indeed, this blog went viral when it was listed on a Romanian website. The posting that went viral was The Digital Scam. This rapidly gained 1,500 hits and keeps gaining hits. That has made no difference to the profitability of this blog at all. During the time it went viral, the advertising gained no extra hits. Indeed, it's debateable as to whether it ever would given the number of people that use adblockers on their computers. 

So, the myth put out there by the Great Prophet Falsidicus is that websites will make money. To be blunt, they don't. There's more chance of finding money on the ground while walking through a public park than there is of making money off a website via carrying advertising or advertising products sold by the website. Each generation believes the lie put out by the lying damned prophet. Each generation has a new lot of suckers willing to believe the internet is the key to untold riches and that they will be the next Bill Gates. 

Nobody is going to look at your Foursquare page. 
Nobody is going to communicate with you on Twitter unless you put a ridiculous amount of work into it.
Nobody is going to look at your website no matter how much you advertise it.
Nobody is going to buy your products or services based on what you put on some damn website.
Nobody is going to give a hoot about how much money or time or effort you put into a web presence.

Do you still believe in the Great Prophet Falsidicus that there's money to be made from the internet? If so and you are making enough money to live on from the internet then you're either incredibly lucky or a great scam artist.

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