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Why Do Webmasters Steal? Revisited

Why Do Webmasters Steal? Revisited

February 14, 2002
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" Who cares about that when you are poor? LOL! This is not me by the way, but I have been around since Y-not was the ONLY forum to chat about biz... "

I found this "anonymous" post on the Article Dialogs Board that concerned my recent Editorial, "Why Do Webmasters Steal?" I really enjoyed the many points that the author had to make, and I wanted to share his (or her) thoughts with those of you who might otherwise miss them. I hope this anonymous author will send me more articles in the future: Here's the post:

Your article should have been titled I saw them stealing with my own two eyes, let me count the ways..." Though I really enjoyed the article, I think that you paid little attention to coming up with info pertaining to the actual title.. As far as, Why do they steal? Sure, you gave examples of what is going on and your opinions, but really, why DO Webmasters steal?

I will probably get some flame for posting my views on this, in fact I totally expect it, but lets take a little deeper look than your article portrayed...

Scenario 1
For starters, lets look back a few years, say, 3. Even three years ago the market wasn't nearly as tight as it is now. Banners were all the rage, Content was significantly more expensive, and it seemed that every day new webmasters were coming into their own following the "WWW PORN gold rush," They had been coming in steadily and strong for quite some time before that even.

People made money. They spurned their day jobs in attempts to reach into the massive money chain and make money without leaving their homes. And it was possible. Anyone could make money. Things started to dry up, started turning on them. Profits began to falter, credit card fraud became more pronounced and rampant which REALLY hurts the little guy making a living at this game. The guy who had Quit his day job a year ago suddenly found himself unable to pay his bills. With all that money out there, why should he just give up because he can no longer afford to compete with his peers? Content is everywhere, Content providers and major sponsors alike spend their days comparing their expensive cars, their carefree lifestyles and generally flaunting wealth gained from the very same business The small poor webmaster finds himself flailing in.

The small webmaster tries to do things right, but eventually the need to pay the bills, feed himself or his family comes into play. He figures, He has already been making a living as an adult webmaster, why stop now? Do whatever it takes to succeed. Oh yea, there are those that will say "Then he should leave the business altogether" LOL! Uh huh. Sure. Yep, time to cut losses and return to work at the faceless cubicle performing mindless data entry, back to a blue collar job with the bad back, a million scenarios. He says screw that, I'm gonna succeed REGARDLESS of obstacles. Bottom line, this webmaster has adjusted his morals to meet his goals, Ethics in the industry? Who cares about that when you are poor? LOL! This is not me by the way, but I have been around since Y-not was the ONLY forum to chat about biz... Seen a lot.

Scenario 2
Not naming any names, but lets take celeb sites for an example. We have big names either promoting, gaining revenue or traffic from these sites. Perhaps they are the most visible examples of the "Big Boys" dabbling in the realm of "this is not very ethical using celebrity images, but we can justify ourselves, and besides, whose to stop us?" Celeb Sites, Password Boards, Double Standards, Why do these large Adult companies steal? I would imagine that the reason lies behind the fact that what's good for the goose, isn't good for the gander..

It's really funny to watch familiar names who you can find lounging throughout the boards all day long hurling accusations and insults at one another. Resolution? Nah, Double Standards, outright lies, confusion and propaganda, oh yea. (IMHO) You didn't touch on very much in your article, didn't really gather up many sources, give us anything new or quote from many facts, just a general article with no real conflict / resolution / clarity meant to... fill up space?

Scenario 3
We have now looked briefly into the rich and poor aspects of stealing. How about the TRUE thief. The one who isn't quite wealthy, but runs a profitable business with many tendrils in different directions. There ARE quite a few in the industry who I doubt are really human. They will rob, steal, cheat, hotlink, gather lists, Spam, denounce others and whatever they have to do to increase their profits. They are out there. BUT, I believe the majority of the webmasters labeled "scum" by fat cats who are well off enough to lounge on boards all day, are really not bad people. The majority of the webmasters out there DO NOT get a salary. NO Medical or dental Benefits, no 401k, they have no fancy car collections to show off...

I think most of them are just trying to get by with their lives and live their dream of adult webmaster.... After all, once you steadily make enough money to eventually get recognized as a player, you no longer need (and really CAN'T for that matter) turn to criminal measures, for profit. You are in. The guy who wrote this article even admitted to it. When he was small, could he get away with it, yes. Now that he has who knows what other ventures going on and is writing for an online adult mag, no. He most certainly has to curb his previous behavior.

There are a ton of different reasons Webmasters steal, There is not enough space on my machine to list them all, and I wouldn't want to even try. The solution? Who knows? Really, The big boys aren't even all cleaned up and they are the people we all (at least, all of us without the luxury of a company salary) would like to emulate / look up to.

Industry ethics? Jesus, You have to be able to afford ethics before you can practice them. This industry will have a hell of a time cleaning itself up. IMO virtually impossible. Haves and Have nots alike continue to cheat and do what it takes to achieve their various goals. How can you sue someone who has no money? On the flipside of that, how do you sue someone who has substantial enough resources to laugh in your face?

Ok, that's it, I have links to update, movies to edit, galleries to submit and assorted other tasks that desperately need more attention than this post. But let me say in closing... The majority of the webmasters out there DO NOT get a salary. NO Medical or dental Benefits, no 401k, they have no fancy car collections to show off and therefore no discussions regarding the enormous problem of finding a suitable place to park these.... For them there are no bonus's expected from their employers, no money for adult webmaster gatherings, no form of stability besides what they make themselves.

Whatever it takes has become the mantra for the unseen masses of faceless webmasters in the industry, and those masses are certainly not going to just fade away, no matter how hard some people wish that would come to pass...

Starting at the top would be the best way to go about things, but when titans with resources attack fellow titans, only the lawyers win, so where does that leave the rest of us?

Decided to stay anonymous due to the large volume of hate I now expect to receive for this. I rarely stick my head out of the sand, but with 7 years experience in the industry, it's tough for me to read a pandering, empty, pointless article that toadies to the feelings of the minority.

Peace out yo!!


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