Authority Marketing Automation
So it was only natural that I thought, "why not automate all of this?" Of course I immediately realized the bottleneck - the captcha involved in account creation. But if all else was automated, including the posting of the links or blog posts, it would still prove to be valuable. And something in the back of my mind told me that there was probably somebody offering a captcha-solving software or service, and I checked that on the net but found nothing right away.
Now I decided to spend half an hour doing some quick research on how automation of account creation and posting could be done practically. My first idea was to use the iMacro extension of Firefox. This could be controlled by the Windows Scripting Host system that comes with all recent Windows versions. I had iMacro installed already, and tried it a little. But it did not work well for automatic posting. Then I thought of accessing and controlling the Internet Explorer engine directly through a COM interface. I've done that earlier in a project where I look up data on the internet and extracted the relevant information from the webpage delivered by the webserver. This was of course more complicated, but definitely doable.
However I realized that it would take me a couple of long days to set up a working prototype, and probably some weeks to make it all work smoothly and to set up all the various backlink sites in the script. A lot of work in other words, and this also smelled of routine. And I just can't stand routine.
So I decided to spend a couple of hours to check the net. There was bound to be something there, I thought. I immediately came upon SEnuke, and registered for the trial. Very interesting program, and it even seemed to work. I was impressed that it solved the captchas too, and apparently they are solved by real human beings. I also learned that there are indeed captcha-solving services where people in low-cost countries are solving these riddles for "us" westerners. Well, well....nothing surprises me anymore really. And it was all justified by the fact that these people earned quite a respectable wage compared to their local peers. But - it really, really smelled of routine - and as much as I despise routine, I don't want others to be imprisoned by them either.
Some might argue that these people solve captchas voluntarily, and are under no obligation to do that kind of work. Well, in the world today there are way too many people that have to do a lot of things they do not really want to do, because they feel under some obligation to provide food to their stomachs. And I don't blame them! And I just don't buy the argument that if you decline to do routine work, you are lazy. Nobody should be under pressure to do routine work, really. On the other hand I realize that we are not living in an ideal world, unfortunately, and that consequences of former mistakes in the history of mankind may have contributed to the widespread unjustice that we see today. It is a sign of our powerlessness that the only thing we can offer these people, is routine work which is detrimental to the human spirit in the long run.
I then came across a number of automatic submission systems, some software and mostly services or semi-automatic scripts hosted on various servers: SocialBot, Bookmarking Demon, RSSBot, Tubemogul, Traffic Geyser, Power Article Rewriter, Free Traffic System,
Fran Murray's Roboform solution, WebSEO, Linkvana, 1waylinks, My Article Network, Unique Article Wizard, Article Marketing Automation blog network (PLRPro), Traffic Kahuna (closed for now), Article Marketer, Ezine Trends, iSnare, SubmitYourArticle,
ThePhantomWriters, Article Announcer (software - $379), Article Submitter Pro ($167 - software), SENuke (software - $127 a month), Zeus, Arelis, Xrumer, Zunker and PMBlaster.
The last three items are automated spam systems, and the most notable of those is Xrumer. Apparently it is extremely efficient and of course as black hat as it could possibly be, in the middle of a dark night during an eclipse, 60 miles below the surface of the earth. Or something like that.
It then dawned on me that the next logical step would be to set up a system to create a million of fake profiles on the web 2.0 system, with each of the users being an artificially created "person" with likes and dislikes, and with a fake personal history. These million fakes could then all be controlled by computer systems, and be used to create trends and direct traffic whereever you wanted. And I was shocked by how the system could be quite easily abused - and at the same time I realized that this is exactly how the masses are duped and controlled in society today: programmed by the media and the authority figures. As a long-standing researcher of conspiracy theories I "knew" this was not too far-out at all. Bread and circus to the people.
This brought me to the question: where is the dividing line, between white hat and black hat in this game? We are "all" playing by the rules of Google, and Google ranks by autority, and autority is defined mainly by social presence, or social recogition. The more people who have heard about you, the greater an autority you are, for good or for bad. The proponents would surely call it a democratic system, and in principle it is. But in reality the masses operate on auto-pilot in many ways, and the subconscious attraction to the socially recognised autorities are hard to withstand.
This is a weakness in the human being - that we are attracted to social recognition. Of course social relations are what made us participants in socity in the first place, so there is no wonder we are in many ways governed by the social marketplace and its likes and dislikes. But there is a great danger in succumbing to this philosophy, in my opinion. And as internet marketers these are the rules of the game. Win or lose, they say. Or win or get lost. But I wonder if the winners in a game by rules like these, really end up as losers. Because by giving preeminence to the social - or objective/collective recognition, we sacrifice the opposite of the scale: the human individuality and the genuine experience of life as primarily a subjective phenomenon.
If we think about it a little, I believe it is evident that all of us deal with these two poles on the relationship scale: subjectivity and objectivity. We relate to ourselves and to others. If we stopped relating to ourselves, and totally became governed by others, life would lose its meaning. And this again reminds me of routine work, which I - well I've said it before. There are better things in life. But the point is that we cannot sacrifice the subjectivity to such a great degree.
Now some would argue that web 2.0 and blogging is a great feast of subjectivity, finally freeing up subjectivity and emphasizing the value of personal expression - something that the bad regimes of our history seemed fit to degrade almost to extinction. There was no room for personal opinion behind the Iron Curtain, for instance.
With Google as the market leader in giving us good answers - being the new Oracle of Delphi so to speak - they clearly have a challenge. They have to honor both the social recognition of objectivity, and the genuine and personal expression of subjectivity, if they should be relevant and trustworthy. They should honor both uniqueness and commonness, as these go hand in hand in the human experience. And this is of course exactly what they try to do.
Because of Google trying to recognise subjectivity and uniqueness, internet marketers recognise that it is easier to enter a market where they can establish uniqueness relatively easy. The easier access to niche markets is a result of this Google trend towards a little bit more subjectivity. But at the same time the internet marketers are dependent on some social recognition, that people can at least relate to the offer in some way. As internet marketers we too try to work at both sides of this equation: finding good niches and building social recognition.
But then it struck me, like lightning, that typical internet marketing today is 10% on-page SEO and 90% off-page SEO. And of course this must be wrong - it is clearly unbalanced. It is clearly way too dependent on off-site factors like backlinks, which is nothing more than social recognition to Google. So much for the balance between subjectivity and objectivity. Google defines the rules of the game, and they are clearly off-balance. And as marketers we "have to" follow through, and play by these rules. If we want the cash, that is.
And then we are back at those captcha-solvers: if you want the cash, this is the job and these are the rules.
My point is that there are sacrifices made in both worlds, the underdeveloped low-paid countries, and the over-developed high-paid countries. Heck, even the whole world is out of balance! And I could not help thinking - When is this crazy stuff going to stop? Are we so studpid that we don't see this? Or are we so helpless that we just can't help accepting it? Well, I always knew there were something wrong with this society, and the main problem with getting older is that it gets harder to escape such a conclusion. And this basically forces the issue down to the subconscious as we determine that we can't help it. But again: that is just an effect of this wrong philosopy - do you see that? It is the subversion and depression of the subjective aspect: I am just a single person, I can't do anything about it. The world is too big, we can't change it.
And in a way I agree: the world will not become changed into paradise and an ideal world. Not with our history, because it is that bad. We are having such great problems with cooperation and interaction in this world, that it seems we only find safety if individuality is eventually sacrificed. And history proves it has been so, to a large extent. Individuals are sacrificed for the good of society. And this is not promoting life, nor respecting life. And if we don't respect life, we should not complain if life leaves us. To call a spade a spade.
Now if we are living in a closed energetical system, we cannot escape what has happened earlier. We will have to live with all of the consequences, and we are far beyond the point of the human innocense. They way out, if there is one, is not through power and autority and (Google) domination. It is not through buying-power and cash, or food and gold and whatever. Or even social recognition or being the lost half-brother of Seth Godin. All these ways are false doors - false gates to bliss and a short hour of earthly pleasure, as the masses bow to your autority and power. They may bow, but they are mostly on auto-pilot.
This is all in vain, as the true way out is found in the opposite direction: through letting go of the exaltation of human autority, be it subjective or objective. The real answer is not found at that level at all. But with the technology of today, there are temptations indeed towards participating in the game of autority and domination. Of being the great Expert, the Leader. As such, we are in the age of Leadership and of Followers, and it is getting crazier by the day. Soon we will be blessed with a Great Leader, like der Furer but now resurrected, if this keeps going on like it does. With Google as the Great Oracle pointing the way philosophically, and all of us just following along, trying to guess the rules and play by them as best we can. And you know what: I believe that most of us are even innocent in our own lack of understanding of what is really happening. In a way we are innocent in that we do not know, but at the same time the real answers are getting closer and closer, and if we don't soon start opening our eyes, it will be too late. Because the answers are already staring us in the face. But nobody dare open their eyes!!
Well... after some pondering I concluded that SEnuke was indeed a smart tool, but that it was also like a very sharp knife: you better watch it when you are using it, so you don't hurt yourself or others. And if you have it, you better use it and do all your internet marketing, and even all your living, with your eyes open!