Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2333 Cheat Code

Recently a colleague and I were talking about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO is the new buzzword, or possibly buzz-acronym, amongst certain advertising types as the next holy grail of marketing.

Marketing holy grails are supposedly magical, mystical, be-all end-alls to the main advertising dilemma: "Am I getting the word out to whom I want to get it to."

SEO attempts to make the web search engines display your name at the top whenever someone types in your product category. It does this by tricking the web's spiderbots into thinking your product is the most searched for. Because of the purported quantity of searches for your product, your name should bubble to the top. That's the idea anyhow.

They also call it "gaming the system." Which I think is funny because it's not playing the game by the rules at all. "Gaming the system" and "Search Engine Optimization" are really just two clumsy euphemisms for, um, cheating. 

But you know, all's fair in love, war, and commerce. Reminds me of my kids in the early days of video games, reaching a tough spot and asking their friends for the cheat code to get past it. Or some of today's games allowing you to use the "god mode" for the same purpose, if you pay for it. 

Odd. Somehow I don't remember ever being able to start a Monopoly board game with both Boardwalk and Park Place and all the utilities already in hand. Or a Jenga game with Velcro linings on both sides of the little pieces of wood. 

Makes you wonder. At what point is cheating a crime? "It's not bait and switch, your honor. I didn't misrepresent and overstate the implicit value of my product. I just search engine optimized it."

America, ya gotta love it. 

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