The Great Web Heist

Computers and devices

It’s getting harder and harder to get noticed online. The whole internet is in the process of being re-engineered to prevent non-corporate sites from getting anywhere.

Starting a web project? If you don’t have a massive ad budget, you’re out of luck. No one is ever going to find your stuff. The big sites that used to be everyone’s source of content discovery and web traffic all either shut down or decided to discourage people from clicking out. Corporations don’t want the web anymore. They want cable TV. They understood cable. They knew how to control it. Nobody was turning off Sopranos to go watch some guy on local public access.

Even Google is moving away from search. For Q4 of 2020, 68.3% of searches in the US ended without a click. People get what they need from the snippets, or from a YouTube video, or some other internal service, and that’s it.Social media networks don’t want you to click out, either. They all downgrade links. If you post a link in a post, the algorithm makes sure far fewer people see it. So now everyone’s like “link in profile” or “link in the comments” or other tricks, but how long is that going to work?

Twitter/X even removed titles from links – unless you pay. As you scroll, you can’t tell if something’s a link or just a photo.And you can go try a new site, but BlueSky and DuckDuckGo will only be good until they get enough users trapped in their ecosystems, and then you have to move on again.

And the enshittification process seems to be accelerating. It took Google twenty years to get bad, Twitter about fifteen, and now TikTok is enshittifying its algorithm after only about seven years. How long is BlueSky going to last after it gets out of beta? Five years? Four? Less?

So, is there anything we can do?

  • Look for links. They’re still there on social media, just a bit harder to find.
  • Don’t be so quick to accuse people of being spammers. In most cases, self-promotion is their only option of ever getting the word out.
  • Get off of Google and Facebook, and use search engines and social media that aren’t trying to monopolize the web.

There’s still time to fight for the web. Take it back!

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