Microsoft has said a lot about Smart Tags. And it is Microsoft who claims this is a "smart" idea.
I'm not a fan of Microsoft products. Still, there are real benefits to all software developers and PC users in uniformity from system to system that Windows provides. But if Microsoft makes this move, it's a step too far. Here's what Smart Tags will do.
> Advertisers will agree to pay a fixed amount for a click on a keyword. As at GoTo.Com, keyword "ownership" is subject to a higher bid.
> Website pages downloaded from any website to any computer using Windows will be scanned for these keywords.
> Those found will be highlighted and converted to links to advertiser's site.
I've heard talk of Smart Tags for some time. There has been an awesome hue and cry of opposition. I was glad Microsoft responded by deciding against including this "feature" in their new XP operating system.
Then The Other Shoe Dropped
Something just as "good" as Smart Tags is already here. And it's ugly. Here's a quote from "The San Francisco Chronicle."
"TOPtext is an example of 'contextual advertising,' latest attempt by online advertisers to reach eyes and minds of Web surfers. TOPtext turns existing words on a Web page into hyperlinks that redirect a computer user to advertiser's site." (The full article is available at either of following links. Erase spaces and returns in first one before pasting.)
KaZaA is using a plug in to IE (Internet Explorer) called TOPtext from eZula . For details, please see "Is Someone Hijacking YOUR Visitors?" by Bob Smith above. For some screen shots of results, check this out on Bob's site. (It's a must, for once seen, you won't forget it.)
My Most Valuable Assets
My most prized business assets are not things, but visitors. The path to profits on my site, as on many, is to first generate a subscriber. Through "STAT News," I'm able to build credibility that brings sale.
By adding a link on "small businesses" on my subscription sign up page, my most valuable potential asset is being lured to another site. I lose. Someone else grabs gain.
On my home page, added link under ebook I'm selling seeks to steal a potential sale. The advertiser pays maybe 15 cents if link is clicked, and I lose potential of a $29 sale.
Since link is redirected, user can not return to my site with Back button. Thus it is unlikely he or she ever will. This is grim at best, but ...
What Matters Most
While I remain concerned about such theft, I am more concerned about my credibility. Most surfers are not computer experts. Most will never recognize these links were added by software running on their system. They are quite likely to believe I am recommending this company. That I am in fact suggesting they leave my site to go to this more important destination.