Back in the early 1980s, I got my first PC. It was a “luggable” computer that I got cheap through an IBM employee. It was an XT that was about the size of a portable sewing machine or a vacuum cleaner. It was an XT with one floppy disk drive, 256K memory and a small amber screen. I upgraded this with a second floppy, bumped the memory up to 784K and a VGA Wonder card that could display full color (in shades of amber) on the six inch screen. I eventually got a 40 meg drive and I even replaced the motherboard with a 386 cpu with 4 megs of ram. (To put thing in perspective, the crappy Dell desktop that I use here at work costs 1/10 the price in 1984 dollars, and is about 10,000 times as powerful, although only a little more useful.)
I wrote a whole s—- load of code on this machine. I took it to my job at Lockheed every day for four or five years. ( I was the manager of the microcomputer development department, but they would not buy me a PC.) The most useful part of the PC was the modem. I was hooked on the bulletin boards systems (BBS). I partook in many interesting and active threads. I wrote shareware and freeware and was voted one of the top ten shareware authors of 1988. My big hits were image viewers. My software could display hundreds of image formats and convert back and forth between them. I am afraid that often the viewers were used for porn.
The success of windows put me out of business. I did not like writing in C language so I stopped writing shareware until I discovered PHP language about five years ago. I have written a bunch of small PHP utilities that are fairly popular and used on numerous websites. None of them achieved the popularity of my Optiks program in the late 1980s, because non have anything to do with the main drivers on the internet.
The internet seems to be driven by:
2) Free Music Downloads.
4) Social Interaction.
This seems cynical, but it is a well known fact. The most popular search term at all of the search engines is “Free Porn” and its variations.
There is a school of thought that believes that if you want to make money on the internet you have to have a website that is free, offers porn, ring tones and music, has time wasting games and allows you to have friends.
A friend of mine recently said he was looking for Vernor Vinge Torrents and received about 400 hits a day from that combination of words. (A torrent is a way to steal files with a bit of anonymity, Vernor Vinge is an author whose works are not available in audio). If I were to mention “Oscar Delahoya Torrents” or “Last Comic Standing Winner Torrent” in my blog I can guarantee thousands of hits. (These the two top non-porn search terms of the moment at Google Hot Trends). I have stopped my spoof pages, but Britney Spears Naked made me about $300 dollars in six months. I decided it was just too creepy to make money this way.
This doesn’t mean that the internet is full of porno freaks or ethically challenged music downloaders. It just means that these people are doing a lot of surfing for what they are having trouble finding.
In a previous post, I mentioned Blogger Play and how addictive it is. After watching this site for about 20 minutes, I was impressed with how positive the blog world is. I hear about war and death and pain on TV, but the pictures uploaded to blogs by ordinary people are all about peace and life and happiness. The pictures are almost all uplifting and makes me think that there may be some hope for the internet and the human race.
So… It may appear that the internet world is driven by our baser instincts, but I think that the search engine stats are misleading. I don’t need search engines to find my friends on the internet. I read about 25 blogs a day. Several hundred people read my blog every day. I send a dozen or so emails out every day and receive as many or more from good folks. People like us make up for and then some the negative elements on the nets. I don’t have porn or illegal music or even much social interaction on my websites and I make money. Call me an dope, but I think that what drives the internet is much more good than bad.