Dave Winer, who is the guy who started me blogging in 1997 and whom I revere, had an interesting post some time ago:
The way to make money on the Internet is to send them away. Google proved this, in the age of portals that were trying to suck the eyeballs in and not let them go, Google took over by sending you off more efficiently than anyone else. Feeling lucky? As William Shatner says: Brilliant!
Yahoo doubled their share of the online news market by adopting RSS and sending readers away as fast as they can. Who to? Their competitors, of course.
Where do you go to get the latest from CNN and MSNBC? Yahoo. Makes sense.
Now the fundamental law of the Internet seems to be the more you send them away the more they come back. It’s why link-filled blogs do better than introverts. It may seem counter-intuitive — it’s the new intuition, the new way of thinking. The Internet kicks your ass until you get it. It’s called linking and it works.
People come back to places that send them away. Memorize that one.
The reason that struck a chord was because I’ve just read an outrageously generous comment from Karlin Lillington about this blog. One of the reasons she likes Memex, she writes, is because it “doesn’t tailor posts to get as many hits as possible… I like bloggers who write for readers, not for Googlebots.”
All of which explains why I’ve never made money from Google AdSense — though, to be honest, I never expected to. I signed up for it because I wanted to gain an insight into the way Google’s software makes inferences from blog content. (Its reasoning is sometimes, well, weird.)
I’d also like to return Karlin’s compliment. She’s a remarkable individual — a Californian who lives in — and loves — Ireland. She understands technology but also has a PhD (from TCD) in Eng Lit (specifically on the poetry of Seamus Heaney). In addition, she’s a former web-guru for U2; a columnist on the Irish Times; a great libertarian campaigner; and is very sound on cavalier spaniels and cats.
And she writes a lovely blog.