I’m an artist. I also act as a graphic/web designer and illustrator. I design fonts, logos, graphics and websites. I am a photographer and videographer. I sell domain names and web hosting. I also act as hostmaster, webmaster, directory master, fontmaster and digital gallery master. On top of that I do a lot of consulting and some computer tech support (troubleshooting, hardware and software consulting, etc…).
I happen to live in South Dakota. I don’t have any decent equipment. My computers are old, my hard drives and tablets are always dying before their warranty is up, my cameras are older consumer models, my smart phone is an older Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
South Dakota is actually a great place to be. I can jet to either coast in half the time it takes to get across the whole country. We have all 4 seasons here, and there aren’t a lot of crazies (or population, for that matter), so it’s a great place to raise children.
Gateway used to be here (I was there only briefly, after 3 months of training me they literally canned a whole bunch of us with a decent severance package. I went out and bought a Mac.) And there is a significant technology industry here in this area, especially in the banking, credit, software, internet and hosting provider industries. The problem is that there isn’t a large population.
But I love technology. I sell domains, hosting, servers and more. I also love photography, videography, writing, creating sites and discovering new software. Which is why I am finally able to setup this website.
I really setup this site because I like to blog, and it will cover a variety of stuff. But I like to share and help people, too. And even if some of what I say is a bit of marketing, I always try to speak the truth plainly.
I was upset when WordPress decided to monetize my “Domainating: Brands, Art & Content” blog, which is hosted by them at WordPress.com, though I certainly understand that they can do that. I’ve sort of abandoned that blog, for the moment, because the advertisements were in direct competition with the content. I hate AdWords style advertising. Advertising is not marketing, and the platform does not allow for a real, true marketing platform.
But look at Tumblr, which offers a blog platform that is much truer to the blogger’s vision, now void of public advertising after the community revolted. When Yahoo purchased Tumblr, they immediately starting showing full page advertisements as the blog’s first page. Now, after an instant cry of foul, instead of showing blog visitors the advertisements which simply spammed the blog and its visitors with crappy thoughtless ads that drove visitors away, Yahoo realized that they were destroying the Tumblr blog experience. Instead, Tumblr is displaying advertising to the blogger in his (or her) blog dashboard.
That style of approach works, because any AdWords or other spammy advertising simply and instantly makes any site disingenuous precisely because such spam is intended to peel a little of the related traffic off in order to feed a PPC advertising scheme.
The fact is that advertising platforms can be a good thing, but Google misuses and abuses the practice. Instead of offering free services supported by advertising, Google creates platforms that it chooses to spam, everywhere. It’s search platform is not the best anymore, as its SEO and SERP guidelines undermines marketing, and in some instances, the very structure of the web.
Which is why it is extremely interesting, and very positive that Google actually allows free blogs (Blogger), sites (Google Sites), and OS (android) on their own platforms. So, Google actually does make a positive contribution to the web, despite its own underhandedness and perpetuation of other evils.
But make no mistake, Google no longer seeks to “do no evil.” It can’t. It is an unmistakable digital advertising platform conglomerate and an undeniable hyper advertising monopoly that sets rules purposely to close down any site that competes with it, whether it be search, directory, or a free website that subsists on advertising revenue.
Google purposely sets the rules for what webmasters can do in direct violation of a blogger, directory master, webmaster, domainer, site administrator, or site owner’s right to free speech by trying to re-engineer how hyperlinking, and all of advertising is conducted on the web. It’s really quite disgraceful.
By coming up with these ridiculous rules of advertising and linking to other websites, engineering how it should be done, and under the guise of fairness, Google effectively crushes everyone’s ability to advertise, or even effectively compete with other brands and companies with more resources, especially, and specifically, with Google.
And that is the real issue with Google. Its own genius is completely ingenuine, self-righteous and purposely squashes not only everyone else’s marketing efforts, but crushes the very intent of the web. Google lacks an open mind. Google lacks free thinking. Google lacks creativity, for the most part. And yet, its sudden flashes get the press and do impress us. But it is rooted in separating us from it and holding that monopolistic hold on digital advertising, even advertising platforms, and swats away anyone trying to do anything similar, as if they are competition when actually the other guys are just trying to do their own thing (even just a small thing, and yet it still annoys Google if it perceives anyone making any money or marketing with links).
That just isn’t what the internet was ever built for, Google.
So, obviously Google and I have a love/hate relationship. Most likely, if you found this website at all, it wasn’t through Google. I am guessing, Bing? Or maybe you stumbled here from one of my other websites.
But my focus is not Google. Google just happens to be a poor winner and a giant internet player that gets in the way. They aren’t the only ones.
ICANN used to be a great partner committee, until it went corporate and tasted big corporate money. Now they spew out every kind of domain name extension on the face of the earth in an effort to grab all the money they can in not only the name (domain name) space, but as a self-appointed authority in branding, as well.
ICANN, the “Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” (it used to be known as the ‘Internet Committee for Assigned Names and Numbers”), actually allows people and companies to register Registered Trademarks. Now, get this, you first have to get it Registered with the proper authority (not just, for instance, with the U.S. Patent Office), and then you can register that Trademark with them for $250.00 per year.
So, ICANN is clearly becoming a legitimate threat to small business by leveraging itself as a brand authority (with no real authority aside from the same domain naming space it has always overlooked) making the name part of a brand or company an expensive proposition.
The naming and branding of a company or product has always been purposely kept affordable until now that ICANN is asking for exorbitant and extraordinary prices on mark registrations, and for God’s sake, $4,000.00 per year .car, .cars & .auto registrations!? You have to be kidding me? Unfortunately, they are not. I have written on the subject of the new ICANN in much further detail at my Domain Perfection website.
ICANN and Google are just two examples of how large corporations directly hurt small business, with thoughtless rules and driven by mindless greed. These are just a couple of instances poor brotherhood and inappropriate internet freedom stripping that I fight endlessly against. But there is much more to it, too.
The state of mankind hangs in the balance. Some of us are bullies, some of us are tired of getting picked on. I personally, have always fought for what I think is right. But sometimes I have taken the fight too far, too.
As a civilization we owe it to ourselves to be civil to others, to lead by example. But there are those who like to keep everyone else down, just to get ahead themselves. Bullying is an art that transcends all walks of life. And the whole problem behind it is a question not just of ignorance, but of morality. I find it sad what our politicians and their staff dream-up. And the worse part of it is that it seems that the lies, bigotry, ignorance and outright ruthlessness tends to work for them. And yet, all I can do is pity them.
Not all politicians are this way, but it is rare when we see decent people of good moral character take office. Usually, we have a choice between the worst two evils left in the race, and that is simply disheartening.
Most of these attitudes and ignorances can easily be corrected with a good education that deals not simply with the core of an education, but also teaches true leadership and humility. We are simply tiny organisms on a planet at the right distance from the sun to support life in a galaxy of at least 200 billion stars, with 100 billion other galaxies in the known universe. Our problems are just not significant enough to be so self-consuming as bullying, envy, jealousy, bias, bigotry, ignorance and hate.
I just feel sorry for those who do not get the big picture, the really big picture. If you really want to be a part of it, you have to make a positive impact, not lie, bully, cheat, steal, rape or murder!
Yes, I believe in God. I don’t think of Him as the same Guy I grew-up studying in Lutheran Church and at Trinity Elementary, though. I think of Him as us, like we are his make-up, the bio organisms that make up most of his presence… it’s hard to explain. But just as we are made up of microbiota inside us that we need to survive, such as bacteria to help us digest, that is a slight exaggeration of how God needs us, and needs us to love Him, and each other, and our environment… for we are a part of Him.
And yet, all we manage to do is pollute.
It’s all really similes and metaphors, but when I have to write down and explain myself, it’s easy to get lost because there is so very little we do understand about God. Yet, I take comfort because I know he is there, has always been a part of my life, and will become a very important part in my death, as well.
I have had some near-death experiences. Things that changed my life forever. I will never be the person I was after each life altering event. And though some did not bring me so close to death, they made me understand life much better.
All that said, I just try to muddle through life the way we all do, with a positive attitude and a sense of purpose. But I actually side-step my true calling, which I understand to be an artist (because it didn’t turn-out to be a Formula 1 racer), as a website/font/logo/graphics designer, brand expert, domainer, hostmaster, webmaster, marketer and such… hoping I can find success and retire to my art, simply because as a businessman I never have the time to spend on it.
To be an artist requires a way to seclude one’s self from the ordinary trauma of daily life and simply celebrate the good in it. Real art holds a message, but it is interpreted, not directed.
I often see a message about how ‘design is art with a purpose’. I even quickly adapted that saying, but after thinking about the phrase for a while, I realized that it really isn’t. It’s not even close. That phrase was a marketing message. And in fact, that’s all that design is… a marketing message. And all marketing is directed, including design.
Now, I will tell you that everyone, especially any designer worth his salt will enjoy reputing that last paragraph. It’s a great exercise in marketing, and debate is the most intimate type of marketing there is. But can you, yourself, just stop and think a minute and let that statement settle and grow in your mind?
All that a website produces is a marketing message, a call to action, and a means with which to provide the product or service at a price. Even free informational websites have their own underlying agenda. And although we diligently design products and services to be more effective, useful, convenient and/or stylish, that in itself becomes the direct message to the consumer.
Art isn’t about money. Unfortunately, I still struggle at making a living to support my family as it is. And as such, as any businessman, I am trying to produce more stuff and put-out other people’s fires, because that is what I do.
Yet, I so long to be an artist.