Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Shitposts, Shitblogs, Shit-How-To (Google Snippets)

The Internet is becoming a landfill - full of garbage!

I mentioned before how shitblogs are filling up the Internet.  These are blogs with postings that are often random text or portions of other people's blogs - including my own - sometimes taken verbatim, other times just fragments taken and combined with other blogs.   The idea is simple - get your blog or page to rise to the top of the Google cesspool and when people click on it, you make money from sidebar ads.

Others are actual postings written by actual people, but created by "text farms" often in India or other third-world countries.   The idea is to create a blog or a site that looks like an informational site but doesn't actually say anything.   Usually these sort of sites are easy to spot as they offer no real opinions.   For example, a car leasing text-farm site will blather on for pages about "the pros and cons of car leasing" but never really tell you much about those pros and cons, or come to any sort of conclusion.

In a way, it is like the keyword spamming that people use on Craigslist.  If I search on "Casita" on Craigslist (particularly Search Tempest) all sorts of ads will pop up for unrelated things.  Most of these are for other travel trailers, and at the bottom of the page (and you have to scroll WAY down to see it) is a block of text a mile long listing the name of every travel trailer, car, boat, or whatever, ever made in the last 100 years.  The idea is simple - you search on a term, their ad pops up as a hit.  It is deceitful and against Craigslist rules, of course, but Craigslist long ago stopped being little more than a haven for ripoff artists and commercial advertisers.

Another form of this SPAMMING is shit-how-to sites.   These are sites that promise to help you learn how to do things, but other than say the obvious, are not much help.  But they are often the first hit on Google, and the idea is, again, to get you to click so they make money from sidebar ads or referrals.

We are putting the master bedroom back together after installing the new hardwood flooring.  I was putting the electric blanket on the bed.  We have one with dual controls, and you would think they would label them "LEFT" and "RIGHT" but they don't - so unless you have the instruction manual, you have to make a 50/50 guess.   Last time, I guessed wrong, and Mark couldn't understand why he was sweating at night and I was so cold.  After all, he had his side of the blanket OFF and my side was on MAX.   Hilarity ensues.

They are handy in cold weather and can save energy as instead of heating the entire house, you just heat you.   And no, I don't want to hear from EMF nutjobs about how electric blankets cause cancer.  Sorry, go sell crazy somewhere else, we're all full up here.

For some reason, this is one piece of equipment that I did not save the instructions from - usually I put these in one of my appliance user manual binders (now up to Volume 4).   So I figured I would go online and download the Sunbeam manual and then use my label maker to label the controls LEFT and RIGHT as Sunbeam should have done from the get-go.

So I search on Google - "Sunbeam P85KQA operating instructions" and get this weird hit from "Hunker" which is supposed to be a "how to" site.   The instructions are useless - little more than "plug it in, set the temperature, and enjoy!"   What a waste of time and bandwidth.

I find the actual Sunbeam operating instructions as a PDF file as the third hit on Google.  I download it and print it out - the RIGHT hand side control is the one with the 110V plug on it.    I put label stickers under each controller.  Problem solved.  Sunbeam should have done this.

But it got me kind of riled up.  Who is this asshole "Kristy Barkan" who wrote this utterly worthless "instructions" that are clearly designed not to tell you "how to" but to get you to click.   How does she sleep at night?   She claims to be a journalist (well, as much as you can be in Buffalo, New York) but this sort of shitposting shitblog is not journalism.    Well, maybe today it is.

It just seems like Google is getting to be more and more worthless in terms of finding actual data.  It is whoring full-time for the click-bait people and the advertisers.   Maybe there is some kind of filter I can apply that will just go to the second page of hits or something.

All I can say is, it ain't gonna get better, that's for sure!

UPDATE:  Google does have a "feedback" link for "featured snippets" so you can tell them what you think of the snippet.  I did.   It seems a lot of these "snippets" are being SPAMMED by text farmers and shit-bloggers in order to get Google hits.   "Snippets" was an interesting idea - the idea that Google can answer questions instead of just providing search results.   But I find that the algorithm often provides WRONG ANSWERS because it takes text that a bot thinks gives the correct answer and presents it as factual data.   Lazy thinkers might just very well go along with this.

UPDATE:  Several of my blog postings are making it to Google Snippets, which only illustrates how unreliable that feature is!   Talk about blind leading the blind!