The Sporadic Beaver

Personal Faves: Volume III

February 15, 2013

Tags: BEA, Bloomsday, Beaver Street, Bernhard Goetz, reviews, 9-11, Mary Lyn Maiscott, Google, monopolies

A final look back at some of my favorite posts, selected at random, from The Daily Beaver on its third anniversary. Then, on new blogging frontiers.

Godfather of Grunge Meets Godmother of Punk (June 7, 2012)
A report from the BEA.

Bernie on Beaver Street (June 19, 2012)
This is what happens when a celebrity vigilante shows up at a book launch party.

My Book Promotion Philosophy (Sept. 6, 2012)
Why I’ll talk to anyone who wants to talk to me about my books.

Distinguishing Characteristics (Sept. 11, 2012)
A guest post from Mary Lyn Maiscott on the anniversary of 9/11.

Google Is God (Oct. 18, 2012)
What do you do when you don’t like the way a powerful monopoly is treating you? Nothing you can do.

Heck of a Job, Google

October 19, 2012

Tags: Google, SEO, The Good Wife, monopolies

I knew there had to be somebody out there who knows more than I do about Google’s mysterious ways, and I’m happy to report that two readers well versed in the matter did, in fact, weigh in with their thoughts and suggestions on “search engine optimization” (SEO) and how it affects Google’s page rankings.

Debra Wheels had some good tips about content, links, and “submitting” this site to Google. But Ladyjean, a website designer and SEO expert who runs an excellent John Lennon site, Absolute Elsewhere, had some far darker things to say about the company that’s come to monopolize the internet. Referring to her dealings with “evil Googleness,” she said, “If for some reason you’re not getting good rankings (i.e. traffic) from Google, there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.”

Whatever the case, I’m always glad to hear from readers, and even if there is nothing I can do, there is some comfort in knowing I’m not alone.

But I would like to offer a theory that you can chew on over the weekend: In addition to this site, I also have two Blogspot sites, courtesy of Google. Chapter 27 is dedicated to my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, and Maiscott & Rosen is a site that my wife and I use to post reviews when we get the urge. Both these sites carry Google ads, which generate pocket change for me—50 cents on a great day—and probably about a hundred times that amount for Google, which for them is probably the equivalent of finding a penny on the sidewalk.

Perhaps my sudden and mysterious Google problem stems from the fact that this site, robertrosennyc.com, which used to get far more traffic than the two Blogspot sites combined, carries no advertising. And Google is in a petty and vengeful mood because they’ve had to lower their advertising rates for the fourth consecutive quarter, and their stock took a jaw-dropping eight percent dive yesterday.

Is Google punishing me for not carrying their ads?

If that sounds like a conspiracy theory, I’d like to point out that this scenario is similar to the main subplot of a recent episode of The Good Wife. In “Two Girls, One Code,” a Google-like company consigns to page-ranking oblivion another company that refused to buy their ads. And they punish the lawyer handling the case by suggesting “disbarred lawyer” when somebody types his name into their search engine.

When a storyline like that becomes fodder for a hit TV show, you can safely assume that Google dissatisfaction is widespread and reaching a tipping point. And I better assume that if I don’t watch my mouth, the first thing you’re going find when you search for me is pirated editions of my books.

Google Is God

October 18, 2012

Tags: Google, monopolies

The problem with monopolies is they just don’t give a shit if you’re unhappy with the way they do business. You can try to find a way to complain to them, of course, but what good does it do? A computer-generated form letter or even a phone call from an “associate” who’s well trained in the art of telling you nothing is less than satisfying.

Say, for example, you prefer not to deal with a certain online book-selling mega-conglomerate. Can you can take your business to the independent bookstore that’s been downtown for 30 years, and vote with your wallet. No, you can’t. Because the independent bookstore is gone, driven into bankruptcy by the mega-conglomerate. So, you shrug your shoulders and buy your book from the mega-conglomerate. It’s so convenient, after all, and their prices are… insane. Just ask the guy who used to own the independent bookstore.

This, however, is not an essay about how a book-selling mega-conglomerate has transformed the publishing industry from one kind of terrible to a completely new kind of terrible. Instead, I’m going to say a few words about a search engine monopoly.

For the two years that I’ve been running this site, about a third of its visitors have arrived via a Google search. But if you’re reading this blog today, chances are you didn’t come here via Google. For reasons I can’t explain, one week ago, Google virtually stopped directing traffic to robertrosennyc.com. Obviously, they’ve rejiggered their magic algorithm, and Google now thinks there are nine sites that know more about Beaver Street than I do.

Yes, I’ve done my research, and I know this is hardly the only website that Google has suddenly and mysteriously stopped sending traffic to. But all the reasons that Google gives for doing such a thing—deceptive practices, spam, blah, blah, blah—don’t apply here. Robertrosennyc.com is comprised of good, original material that’s frequently updated, and that you won’t find elsewhere. If you’re interested in me, my books, the pornography industry, John Lennon, or surviving as an author in 21st century America, then this is where you want to be. Just look at the tags in the left-hand column.

If Google were an ordinary company, I’d write to them and say, “What’s up? Why are you doing this?” But Google is an omniscient God, and a mere mortal such as myself cannot ask God Why? So, I will turn to you, my readers, who have arrived here by means other than Google. Some of you, I’m sure, know far more than I do about Google’s mysterious ways. And I ask you: What’s going on and is there anything I can do about it? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Allow me to end this post with an experiment. Below are some of the keywords that, up to a week ago, brought a lot of people here. Let’s see what happens if I put them all into the same post. I hope Google doesn’t get mad at me.

Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Missy Manners, Carl Ruderman, Robert Rosen.