A Brief History of The Internet – How The Marketers Lost Control
Greetings! I am Michael Stankard, Co-owner of the Get Found now team and I wanted to share with everyone our history on the Internet to better explain our philosophy with the ever changing World Wide Web.
My first taste of the Internet came in 1992 when a friend of mine turned me on to CompuServe and Usenet newsgroups. I used it to trade Grateful Dead concert tapes.
In 1993 the World Wide Web took major strides with the introduction of the Mosiac browser. Users for the first time would be able to see pictures and text at the same time.
This is truly the birth of the WWW even though it really started a decade ago as a project from CERN in Geneva. If you are a fan of Dan Brown, you know that CERN is still pretty serious with the worlds largest super conductor where they strive to understand the creation of the universe!
By this time other companies came forth and got on board with the potential of the Internet. Up until 1995 however, the Web was still mostly user generated content, a sharing of documents, philosophy, literature and of course opinions. Items like sex and drugs were not even allowed within the hierarchy of these powerful newsgroups.
Birth Of E-Commerce
The WWW changed for the worse in 1996 when for the first time a major company advertised it’s website on television. Yep, Toyota is often credited for the birth of e-commerce when they added www.toyota.com to their print and TV ads. Many old school users like myself knew then that the marketers were taking over.
This hit home in 1997 when Victoria was so pregnant with twins that she couldn’t work in the art gallery biz anymore, and started working for an online mall, building links and paving the way. Even though at the time I was a gallery lighting designer, I told her “I want to work with the Internet, it is our future”.
It took some time, but fortunately I was able to avoid the “dot-bomb” phase of the WWW history. In the late 90’s everyone with money tried to start up a crazy Internet site. Millions of dollars were wasted and many lives ruined. There really are only 2 e-commerce sites that survived this era – Amazon and E-Bay.
Portals And Search Engines
At this time was also the creation of the portal. Excite, Yahoo and to an extent AOL were the most popular places online. If you used AOL, you had no choice yechh. It was then that the search engines started to gain in traffic.
The first search engines were meta crawlers. These looked at meta tags and meta data to rank websites. It took website guys about 15 minutes to figure out how to scam our way to the top of the results!
Then came Google.
true mathematical search with honest results that users fell in love with. Their accurate SERP’s and the ability to provide users with the websites that had the information they really needed.
Pay Per Click Marketers
The advent of Pay Per Click again changed the face of the Internet as now, websites could simply pay for top placement. The marketers struck again by purchasing ads on one site and listing other paid ads to other sites. This once again muddled the Internet with useless content that gave users no real results.
In the mid 2000’s major search engines led by Ask Jeeves, changed their Motus Operatus to become Answer Engines. Rather than take a users search so they can go to a website and findwhat they want on the site, Google especially turned into an answer engine.
This was actually first beta tested with real estate searches! If you searched for “new homes in Tempe Arizona” they had search forms included at the top of the results. They realized this was killing their Pay Per Click and removed it, but the philosophy remains.
You can ask Google about zip codes, math problems, measurements, definitions and many others – lo and behold the answer is at the top of the results. Users NEVER have to leave Google’s search page.
Users Take It Back From The Dreaded Marketers
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and that is how the marketers must feel, when sites like Facebook, Blogspot, Twitter and focused portals such as Active Rain started gaining popularity. Wikipedia was one of the pioneers of user generated content that opened the floodgates for us old school Internet cowboys to take back control!
Now the majority of highly trafficked sites are all based on content. Content created and focused on specific topics relevant to the information a user is searching for. Of course the marketers are still around, using Pay Click, as well as the black hat SEO tactics. I know this because I subscribe to the blogs to learn, not for black hat SEO, but to gather inside information of how the search engines today actually function
Google runs over a dozen bots each one has a different function. They all effect the listings. Anybody following Google is well aware of the Google Dance. Some of these dances have their own moniker: last spring it was the “MayDay” update of cource referrinf to SOS. Also Google has “slapped sites”, I have no problem with that because they were mainly Pay Per Click sites that didn’t follow Google’s appropriate guidelines.
Recently, Google has done 2 major updates. The “Farmer Update” destroys sites involved in link farms, paid links, or website silos. They have never made as many changes in such a short period of time. This is an obvious reaction to Bing now serving SERPS to Yahoo.
Pay Attention to Search Engine News and follow our blog for new informatiion about WWW and how SEO can be a factor that controls your Internet Presence.
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