I case your wondering why my site has gone down, for the past 6 months I have been homeless in France.
‘The powers that be…‘
Following the removal of my web-site Lonelyplanetexchange.com, I’ve found it impossible to make money. On returning here to the UK, I’m finding it like before, i.e. no chance of getting a job whatever I do.
I did however keep a diary whilst I was homeless. This records my movements, the places and conditions I slept in.
How and where I got food.
I now have to declare myself bankrupt or just hang around on the dole till kingdom come or something turns up.
In the meantime…
1 x Steel toe-cap Boots
3 x Socks
3 x Boxer shorts
1 x Tent
1 x Sleeping bag
1 x Foam matress
1 x Sprayway cagule
1 x Fleece jacket
1 x Fleece top
2 x T-shirt
1 x Cargo shorts/trouser
1 x Jeans
I did find stuff as I went along, and where this is the case, it’s flagged up in each individual post.
I had much more but binned the lot when I realised I was going to have to continue without money.
Initially, I believed the people who sanctioned my sites’ removal from Google might help me out. This was not the case.
Vive la France
Survival was made up of a combination of scavenging and Ribary.
Ribary is an ancient French right to live on the land. Unlike stealing, not for profit, it allows you to take advantage of the fruit and agriculture that French countryside is packed with. Basically, you stay out of the way and pop up for the occasional corn on the cob or apple or peach or pear or whatever is available in which region at any particular time. No trespassing, no stocking up or stealing, living life simply on a daily basis.
Ribary the French call it.
Here is a Ribary map of France. The places where I stopped and the places where I ate.
Made a pair of soles from sewing up two corregated plastic cut outs with foam padding to make insoles. Did this twice as the journey went on, once for the steel toe-capped boots and second time for the pair of heavy workers boots I found in the barn. Each worn out by walking.
Sewing kit darned on a Sunday when I had nothing better to do until the nights drew in, then it became impossible and my socks developed large holes in the heals and toes.
Needle I found and combined with strands of bailing twine both picked up as I went along. The twine chaffed against the skin and left blisters so it was debatable whether it was worth doing at all.
To wash up was really important. When you stop washing, you lose contact with humanity. I made sure I washed every day with this washing kit.
1 x Flannel
1 x Bar of Soap
1 x Large Jamming Saucepan
With this I could wash my kit as it became dirty, I could dry them out as on Sunday, my day of rest I did nothing.
I’ve been an Internet publisher since 1998, back in the day when people were using AltaVista as their main search engine, Netscape navigator was main browser, Yahoo was a new invention and Usenet was the in-thing (social networking hadn’t been invented then).
I was a publisher when Google bought the trust of the internet community with a repository of old musings in something called the Déjà-News archives.
Even the spammers thought Google was alright.
Florida Update (Feb 2005)
Spammers spammed, hoaxers hoaxed, phishers phished, the good generally mixed with the bad and the Ugly. Google said, this is a bad thing.
“Why do we need all these spammy sites all mixed in with the good people trying to make honest money, Serg?”
In 2005, Gooogle rolled out a massive update. Called it Florida, it took a chunk of sites and cut their traffic by half.
Of course, everyone in the industry panicked.
But there was method in this madness
Google were clever. Those sites which were spammers, made busy changing everything, changing:
their page names
their page’s content
keywords densities, descriptions
changing backlink text
getting more links through publishing more spam
Just about anything anyone could suggest that would improve their rankings again.
They made a lot of changes.
By calculating changes and comparing it with how willing webmasters were to change their site over this period, (about 4 months), Google could make a guess as to that sites actual worth. Legitimate sites might see the ability to adjust perhaps 10% content for the sake of a better ranking, whereas a site with useless content would change anything.
Those who adjusted little, (there was really little to change, believe me), stayed in. Those who adjusted a lot, went out.
Penalty Update (October 2007)
In October 2007, another update took place. Again, my site took a massive hit.
Google vaulted it as a punishing paid links** update.
My site has never accepted paid links. Nor ever paid for links.
I said nothing, my site doesn’t publish spam, nor does it undertake practices not sanctioned in the ‘Google official Webmaster Guidlines’. It’s taken me from then until now to put 2+2 together and figure out exactly what’s happened.
Manually altering results Google in the October 2007 began manually altering search results to generate more income in line with the forthcoming changes in it’s ‘Adwords’ policy released this May.
Previous to May 2008, Google wouldn’t allow bidding on trademarked terms. For example: If you wanted to buy a climacool Adidas jacket you would type that into your search engine, chances are you’d come up with the manufacturers site first, then a number of other sites, also selling that particular product.
That’s where my site lived for a long time.
I sold budget flights both on a commissioned and non-commissioned basis and was the first site in the UK to do so.
My rankings were up until October 2007.
I directly attribute the May 2008 changes with the October 2007 update.
I’ve sat back. Because, I’m fairly sure my site’s as good as it can be. It’s never broken the rules and as such, there’s nothing I can do.
Net effect of changes to Google Adword policy
Reduce the Diversity of the ‘net: Mom & Pop sites that have traditionally employed SEO techniques to differentiate themselves from the crowd are going to find their business reduced, why would Google send visitors to a site where it can find all the best goods when it can take $1.80 per Adwords click from someone who can afford to pay? It won’t.
This will reduce the diversity of the ‘net, putting smaller, more efficient operators out of business and handing more money to corporations who take their place.
Channel more money to corporations: Google is currently straddling between freedom of information, (the spirit of the net), and corporatism. Freedom of information means exactly that, free.
Organic listings* represent free information.
Through manipulating and removing sites with high quality, focused information and allowing trademark orientated Adword adverts to appear alongside poorer results instead, Google is skewing the pitch toward corporatism. Those with advertising budgets and skilled staff to administrate complex Adwords campaigns in a meaningful fashion.
Google likes to hide behind the veil of ‘freedom of information’ whilst reaping the profits of corporatism.
Stymie new development: I’ve developed a substantial number of pages, and Google refused to list them. (See thread).
Don’t assume, if you’re a developer and develop a top new app or service it’ll get listed. If it interferes with Google’s business interests, Google either pull it when it realises it’s making money, or not list it in the first place.
This stymies bedroom developers who depend on a traffic flow to promote their product or service.
In the past Google could be relied on to provide that relationship. That isn’t the case anymore.
Reduce search quality: If Google is prepared to sacrifice search quality in the name of ‘Adwords’, this signals to Engineers to have their own ideas.
Google have moved away from the purity of information weighted results making this a breeding ground for opportunist Engineers who stand to politicise search on whoever pays them to present in a positive light.
Search results of the future could be ruled by a cabal of powerful search engine engineers wearing funny hats, (much like Google Webmaster forums are now), thrashing out each others ego’s on innocent webmasters below ‘lawnmower man’ style whilst handing the best listings to those who pay them to speak up in their favour.
Google manually manipulate SERP’s in the name of business interests.
Google pretends, through it’s Webmasters Guidlines, you will get high rankings if you do the right things.
Google’s Déjà-News, freedom of information, spirit of the ‘net days are dead. If you want an impartial search engine, build your own.
* Organic listing is a listing that appears on merit.
** Link are a means of valuing a site’s worth in internet terms. The more people link to your site, the more respect you get in the community, the more your site is worth.