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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

Too Much Data – Idiocracy or Star Trek?

I used to think that too much data was never a bad thing. That having more information out there is good. However I’m starting to wonder if moderation might be in order here.

I’ve been thinking of getting a spare laptop since Toshiba isn’t too concerned about getting mine fixed. So I’ve been looking at other ones, and I think that I settled on an Acer 1420P tablet. PDC attendees got them for free this fall, though they are supposed to go on sale soon here in the US. It’s a good deal from a developer that doesn’t need it, but I’m getting off track.

As I was trying to decide if I wanted this one, I ended up searching out some other ones, including a nice ASUS from Amazon that had a good price and long battery life. I went looking for reviews, but outside of those posted on Amazon’s site, what I found was a bunch of blogs.

And NONE of them had reviews. It appears that someone, or a bunch of someones, copied the specs from Amazon, either with the graphics or without, and then posted it as a blog, generating rankings that made them appear on the first and second page of results. I checked a dozen or so and none of them provided “information”, they just repeated what Amazon had shown.

I’m sure this is a way to gain some Adwords traffic, and it might make you some money. I guess if you’re a programmer and you get $50 a month from Google on something like this, or even some Amazon Affiliate money, it’s worth doing. After all, how long can it take to copy and paste stuff up there?

Especially when it’s free on so many blog sites.

I’ve had a couple similar experiences lately when researching things, and slowly it appears that there are places where the Internet isn’t useful because there is too much of this “speculation”  taking place and hiding information. I’m not willing to search through 12 pages of results to find another nugget of information that ought to be on the first page.

With so many affiliates and opportunists, it seems some days that we’re moving closer to Idiocracy than Star Trek.

Comments

Posted by Kevin on 19 January 2010

I totally get your point.  And I even know a person who does this sort of thing in which he evidently makes a pretty significant amount of money with this strategy.  I certainly don't condone it.  It just seems wrong.

I'm not sure if I'd call this a situation of too much data or of people <i>manipulating</i> data. This scenario reminds me of how social networking can add value by providing a sort of "credibility" ranking for certain bloggers.  OTOH, I'm sure unscrupulous people would find ways to manipulate that too.

Good post,

-KEv

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