The greatest commerce article of all time gets a sequel

How the manager of Jefferson Starship led to the creation of the greatest affiliate commerce ever – and kind of ruined the internet.

The greatest commerce article of all time gets a sequel

There's a lot of SEO knowledge needed to fully appreciate the brilliance of Nilay Patel's masterpiece, "Best printer 2023: just buy this Brother laser printer everyone has, it's fine".

But at this point, trust me when I say it's unparalleled. Maybe superior to the best website ever or an even better website.

It hits every "requirement" for good content while openly mocking how search engine optimization destroys good writing.

Not only that, it's got kernels of ancient wisdom to boot:

Here’s the best printer in 2023: the Brother laser printer that everyone has. Stop thinking about it and just buy one. It will be fine!

It's true! I overthink purchases too! And my life's going to be okay whether my item has a 4.6 star rating instead of a 4.8 star rating!

The fight for search engine ranking has forced smart, talented writers to produce hot garbage that's not really for humans. No wonder bonehead executives don't appreciate the art of good writing anymore; it's rarely found in this sea of endless affiliate commerce pablum.

But way, it gets better.

The sequel to the best affiliate commerce article of all time

Because search algos use novelty as a way to rank, even a good article will be replaced by something newer and dumber if enough time passes.

Hence, "Best printer 2024, best printer for home use, office use, printing labels, printer for school, homework printer you are a printer we are all printers".

It’s been over a year since I last told you to just buy a Brother laser printer, and that article has fallen down the list of Google search results because I haven’t spent my time loading it up with fake updates every so often to gain the attention of the Google search robot.

My favorite things about this article:

  • How it calls out other major media outlets for knowingly participating in a stupid, cynical practice that frustrates their own best interests
  • The undeniable awareness of how inhuman and artificial the digital experience has become
  • The open mockery of Google Gemini as a definitive source of experience, expertise, trustworthiness, and authority... by making Gemini create some mindless content to manipulate search rankings

It's not just Google that's making the internet this dumb

Every platform that uses algorithms to suggest content is guilty of making the internet dumber. Facebook's rage-rewarding algorithm led to the election of Donald Trump, arguably the least intelligent major presidential candidate ever.

X's algorithm rewards incel losers who spend $8 per month in hopes their billionaire bff will notice them.

Instagram's algorithm incentivizes the same, bland approach to content. And its overreaction to adjusting suggested posts to your interests feels incredibly artificial.

You know what I like instead of trying to play this endless game of "wtf does the algorithm want today"? Being a human being. Asking myself the question, "How would a normal human do this outside of a social platform whose incentives are not to help me achieve my goals?"

That means:

  • Checking in with people
  • Trying to make stuff that's worth reading
  • Genuinely caring about individuals

Etc. It's hard, and I'm not a millionaire. But I also don't spend my life giving up everything unique about me to fit into a mold that will change 6 months from now anyway.