It sounded like such a simple thing to do when it was suggested to me. Start a website and see if I could make money writing for the online community. All I had to do was write a few articles, search engine optimised of course, wait for them to hit number one in google searches and bingo. People would fall all over themselves to hire me to get them to number one too.
I had my doubts of course. I’m a pessimist more often than not. I make enough money to survive in my normal job so I wasn’t too focussed on being able to make a living with writing. What interested me was the idea of being able to share all the things I have learned, and all the things I think I have learned, with people.
I could write educational and informative articles about a range of things and write them in simple language rather than professional jargon. If it wasn’t simple enough people could write and ask me to explain more. That led to the idea of having an advice column on the site.
When I struck problems with the site hosting my old blog it seemed like a good idea to start a new one on my very own website. That way, I thought, I wouldn’t have to worry about the site owners messing with my material.
The site grew larger and more complex with every new idea I had. Every page I wrote created a need for another page but it didn’t take all that long for my website designer to get a basic version of the site up and attach this blog to it and so I began blogging.
Suddenly I had access to statistics and I discovered a world full of bots, scrapers, harvesters, spammers and more.
Terms I had never heard of before began to impinge on my world. Terms like Tags, Blog Rolls, RSS feeds, pings and trackbacks. Names I had never heard of before began to show up in my statistics logs making me wonder about them. Names like Technorati, Ice Rocket, Moreover, Relevantnoise and others.
I searched the net for information about these things and was, to put it plainly, just overwhelmed with how much is out there.
One of the things childhood abuse taught me, one of many things and one I still struggle with, is not to trust my own decisions. Abuse leaves it’s victims with an underlying sense of mistrust that creates anxiety.
It’s not surprising when you consider the lack of predictability imposed on children by abuse. You never know what word, deed, day of the week or facial expression is going to bring disaster down on your head. Saying “I love you Mum” on Monday will bring a smile but, on Tuesday, it will bring a scathing “Sure you do – what are you after now then?”
When asking for a cuddle leads to the pain of an assault on your private parts by rough hands with long, dirty and jagged fingernails, and you are told you asked for that pain, you learn to be afraid, very afraid, of saying or doing anything.
Anxiety comes as a result of not knowing when a choice you make, a choice that SEEMS harmless, will result in pain, abuse or disaster. You develop a chronic fear of “getting it wrong”.
When there is only one choice you have no decision to make so there is less fear of “getting it wrong” for some strange reason.
As soon as there is a decision to be made my anxiety, pessimism and paranoia are triggered and I can become immobilised by them.
The internet turns me into a frozen statue without even trying with its limitless choices. There seems to be a thousand reasons for and another thousand against everything and anything.
The internet, I have discovered, is positively teeming with potential abusers and that adds to my anxiety. There is nothing more anonymous than the internet and there is nothing abusive people like better than being able to do wrong anonymously so the internet attracts these people like bees to honey.
The first decision I had to make was what to do about the automatic feed my blog software creates. I went with the automatic selection that came with the software. I will always do that – go with the “experts” recommendation rather than make a choice of my own to start with. So my feed went out in full.
Then the internet began telling me I was making it too easy for the net crawlers to abuse, use and misuse my content. I was horrified at the idea of my words being stolen and used to sell porn and drugs so I cut off the feed.
One by one other issues have come to my attention. I can’t put my email address on the site or “email harvesting bots” will collect it and flood me with spam. I can’t let people comment without having to register or spammers will flood my pages with links to porn and drugs. Visitors to my site can, and do, arrange their visit to look like they have come from porn sites. They do that because they are hoping I will publish my statistics online and their links will become visible that way.
The other day google listed my site twice. One was wordsbykim.com and the other was wordsbykim.com.zta.net so I clicked on it out of curiosity. It was my site – almost the entire thing but with the addition of links to sites I had never heard of. All those links led to one website – someone offering internet web site services!
There is no way to know how long it had existed. I would still not know about it if google had not indexed it. I did a search of zta.net and there was over 900 pages listed in the search results. These people had over nine THOUSAND sites they had added zta.net to just like they added it to my site!
My website designer told me they had set things up so their bot scraped my site when someone clicked on their urls so they were even using my bandwidth to serve the stolen content! He banned their ip so they could no longer scrape my site and then he lodged complaints about them with google and their isp provider. They no longer show up in a search for my site but I don’t know if that’s because they have been stopped or because they have shifted camp and have recreated it all under ztb.net!
Hmmm wonder if someone can create a programme that will run through ztb, ztc, ztd, zte and other combinations to see if scammers are doing this BEFORE their sites have been up long enough for google to index them?
It’s just amazing how much is out there and how many opinions there are about what to do about these things. Some people advocate banning all known bad bots but some people’s idea of a bad bot includes bots other people think are good!
For someone like me it is absolutely overwhelming and I have no idea where to even begin.
I went to a site that claims to fight child porn and found claims that they are being attacked and threatened by paedophile rings. The site itself looks dead now and many of their links go to sites that seem to have been shut down or hijacked!
Many people have been leaving comments and links here but, until recently, they were all porn or drug links. The other day someone genuine left a comment and I was faced with a dilemma. Do I approve the comment and the link or not? How can I be sure links I add to this site will not end up broken or turn into porn links? I have put that question in the “too hard” basket for the moment. I approved the comment and the link because the site offered people help for the problem I had written about.
Is there a programme I can run to check if links get broken? I think there is but I could do with a programme that will not only check if links are broken but will also tell me if the CONTENT at that link changes!
I also need instructions that don’t involve coding to use the programme if one does exist because coding crosses the line from what I feel I can do into the “what if I get it wrong” dilemma that freezes me up.
For now I am in a “when in doubt – DON’T” mode. Don’t add links unless you really think they add something worth the effort of manually checking they don’t get broken or turned into something horrid. I will have to make time to do a regular check of the links I add, or let other people add, for as long as my site remains on the web!
That is a prospect that makes my knees go weak hehehe.
One thing that is obvious is that spam and thievery are happening because there is money to be made from doing it. Search engine robots cannot tell a spam site from a real site and advertising is being placed on both. Advertisers don’t seem to care where visitors come from as long as they come and porn lovers have no ethics about going to sites they find in places where porn sites shouldn’t be.
People might wonder why there is no advertising on my site. I am already getting enough visitors to be able to put advertising on here but I have not and I will not!
Money is not my God! If I put google or any other automatic ads on this site the scum of all the world will have access to my pages! When I write an entry saying shame on something like porn google will shove ads for porn SITES on my pages!!!
That is NOT going to happen! Not here and not ever! I could make a fortune and it would all seem innocent. I write a scathing article about porn and google sends all those people typing porn terms into their computers here. They find nothing but a big disappointment on my pages so they eagerly click on a google porn ad to get away from me hehehe.
Forget it! I would rather starve but I wonder how many other people are doing just that and making a big profit? Clearly the scrapers are.
It is like most things in this world I suppose. Every good thing can be twisted to make a bad thing. Google makes it possible for us to find any information or advice we need but it also makes it possible for people to make money from being dishonest.
I have nothing against advertising. Advertising helps people find services and products they want or need and that’s a good thing. I’d be happy to make money from advertising on this site but that is not going to happen. Not if it means scammers and porn merchants are likely to appear on these pages along with the helpful ads.
If advertising does not meet my standards and allow me to uphold my ethics it is not going to appear here. Not with my permission anyway!
All I have to do now is muddle my way through to finding answers for all the other questions blogging has created in my life like what to do with feeds and links and comments and add-ons and the overwhelming amount of information and advice out there about what to do hehehe.
Meanwhile here I am. Adding to some poor souls confusion about what to do and how to cope with things like childhood abuse, panic, pessimism, a gambling addiction, abusive people, suicidal thoughts, seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist and so on.
I am, like most other people out there, adding to the confusion in the hope I will actually be offering help. I’m writing it all in my own words because I am hoping my version will be the one that makes sense. Maybe my version will be the one that turns confusion into understanding for someone.
Meanwhile I search for versions of information I need that will do the same thing for me – make sense and provide me with solutions and guidance as I stumble blindly around in this brand new world they call the blogosphere.