all posts tagged 'ryan broderick'

How Google made the world go viral

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

The question, of course, is when did it all go wrong? How did a site that captured the imagination of the internet and fundamentally changed the way we communicate turn into a burned-out Walmart at the edge of town? 

Well, if you ask Anil Dash, it was all the way back in 2003 — when the company turned on its AdSense program.

“Prior to 2003–2004, you could have an open comment box on the internet. And nobody would pretty much type in it unless they wanted to leave a comment. No authentication. Nothing. And the reason why was because who the fuck cares what you comment on there. And then instantly, overnight, what happened?” Dash said. “Every single comment thread on the internet was instantly spammed. And it happened overnight.”

Dash has written extensively over the years on the impact platform optimization has had on the way the internet works. As he sees it, Google’s advertising tools gave links a monetary value, killing anything organic on the platform. From that moment forward, Google cared more about the health of its own network than the health of the wider internet. 

I’ve been on the internet since before Google came to dominate it, and this feels like an extremely accurate assessment.

It doesn’t seem fair to say “this is all Google’s fault.” After all, most of us who work on the internet wouldn’t be able to do so without people commercializing it.

But it comes back to your goals, I guess. I never built a blog to make any sort of money. I lose hundreds of dollars a year by cultivating this little space on the web.

But I don’t regret a single penny. It’s an investment in something that brings me true joy.

I have zero analytics running on this site right now. It’s a bit of a weird flex, sure, but honestly, I don’t care if there is one person reading these words or a million.

The main reason I don’t track people is because I don’t want to start making this something which requires me to keep dancing to get people’s attention.

I dunno… I just miss open comment boxes. And while I don’t like what I see on sites like Facebook and Google these days, I can at least hang my hat on the fact that there’s a thriving indie web community that keeps writing on their sites and connecting with each other through RSS feeds.

And also, shout out to Ryan Broderick, the author of this article. I’m a huge fan of Garbage Day and his work dissecting the weirdness of the internet. If you like this piece, you’ll love his newsletter.

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