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January 25, 2009

Micro-Sites, Netiquette and Linking

Filed under: General Musings — ian @ 10:45 am

A couple of months ago I started evaluating UnsignedBandPromotion’s Micro-Sites because I knew one of the bands had broken up and another’s website had disappeared, as a result, I have deleted fifteen of them! Every time I discover a band giving up their website in favour of a MySpace profile (“iT’s thE WAy fOrwARd DuDe”) I get surprised, also, Micro-Sites are not there to promote MySpace (there are exceptions to the rule) especially if the band refuses to link back.

Linking and netiquette are one of my things at the moment because I recently linked to a band from the Band Links Page, then a month later they removed their link to me! Did they think I wouldn’t notice? Linking should be natural, organic, friendly and polite. Imagine how I feel spending eight hours making a Micro-Site (which involves checking, gathering and manipulating information, links and images) that the search engines will find friendly and therefore will promote a band and the band’s website. …And doing it for free …And they don’t link back. Want to know how I feel? Read: Lack Of Netiquette: SEO Greed Or Stupidity? by Turnip - it will give you hint and another angle on the theme.

The actual point of a Micro-Site is to promote a band’s website by linking to it - very simple. As an added extra the band gets links to all (or most all) of the other places where their band has a presence (MySpace, Facebook, ReverbNation, PureVolume, iLike, etc., etc.), which will help to promote the band too. And as a Bonus, they can earn some hard cash, money from their Micro-Site - there aren’t many places where they can do that. This means, they can have, include and own: the Google AdSense links, an affiliate link, buy CD now links, merchandise links, a PayPal donate button, etc. Oh, then there’s the fact that A Micro-Site will be found for something else like Rock Bands Birmingham! - not bad for a Free tailor made webpage that will promote your band and your band’s website to Hell and back.

Do you know, about three months ago I was looking through my website statistics and I found a band had directly linked to one of my images! Meaning that they are using my bandwidth (how rude) to serve up an image on their ridiculous contact-us.php page. “Please can you take it off” I asked nicely, while not really caring because it’s only a 1px X 1px transparent spacer gif, and I always get a laugh at the small number of times it’s loaded. “I don’t know how to” they replied. So - as someone once said to me, “You Stupid Tosser”. I refer you back to Turnip, have a read.

I’ve come to the conclusion that bands give up their websites and develop their MySpace page when they realize their band is going down the pan. It’s a bit like having a baby to save the relationship. When a band hasn’t got a website, it’s a sure sign they haven’t got the confidence or faith to invest in themselves. A website takes time, energy and some knowledge to create and keep up-to-date. A MySpace page takes time, energy, some basic knowledge - anyone can do it, and is maybe more fun than a website - overall the MySpace profile takes a lot less skill to make than a website. A MySpace page of course is free, whereas a website will cost a little to run, but Holy Cow, can’t a band of three, four or five people stump up a few quid and find a friend who will give a helping hand (maybe for free) to get one? “We had a website, but it didn’t get any action. Our Myspace has tons of action. We’ve got 60,000 fans, 1,500,000 page views and our latest single has had 1,000 plays.” she said in a voice with the tone that was basically saying eff off you tit. And I’m thinking: 0.06% of 60,000 is about 36. That’s 36 people who will come to their website regularly and press the BUY NOW button several times. Why haven’t they got a website? Oh! That’s right - they’re going down the effing pan. “Had many sales of your stunning and beautifully worked album - I loved your first track by-the-way?” I said, hoping the answer would be no. “Yes, we had ten last month” she said as she sneered down her bottle of Sol at me. Now it was my turn, “Oh eff off you pillock and no I’m not going to make it eleven” I said quietly in my head while smiling and nodding. And in the wonderful world where I’m always right and everybody loves me, I’m saying, “send them to your bloody website you twat”.

“As a net is made up by a series of knots, so everything in this world is connected by a series of knots. If anyone thinks that the mesh of a net is an independent, isolated thing, they are mistaken. It is called a net because it is made up of a series of connected meshes, and each mesh has its place and responsibilities in relation to other meshes.” The Teaching of Buddha by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, Buddhist Promoting Foundation.

I made my first Micro-Site (was called Online Z-card - still is I suppose!) for a UK Punk band (d. December 2007) in April 2006. At the time I was worried I was going to be inundated with requests for more, but no, I wasn’t. A short time after I was talking to one of those ultra geeky, webby, media types who are so far up themselves they’re coming out the other side, about the lack of interest in the Z-cards. He said something that resonated with me; “Well where are you going with them? And why would a band want one? I mean, look at what you get on MySpace, everything and more, besides MySpace is totally addictive. I’m hooked. I’ve just met a jazz band from France and they’ve asked us to play with them next year…” On and on he droned thank god, because I didn’t have an answer and that haunted me at the time.

I hadn’t articulated where I was going with them, I was never going anywhere with the Micro-Sites, I don’t make them to promote myself, I make them free to help promote bands’ websites. And I assumed that I was going to be inundated because I know what a valuable and unobtainable (an affiliate marketeer would give his right arm, his wife and children for one of these Micro-Sites) type of backlink a Micro-Site gives. But what fascinates me is how addictive social networking is for so many bands, addictive to the detriment of their promotional and marketing efforts.

Anyway, Micro-Sites are now by invitation only, so you’ve missed the boat and missed getting one of the most powerful types of links - pity!

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