Gandelman Under Attack, Hour 10: Post-Apocalypse
The bluebird that used to sit on the window ledge is also gone - nothing but crows out there now. Watching. Looming. Crowing.
My office is a block down from Joe Gandelman's and I'm thanking my lucky stars and praying prayers I just invented that I am Not. One. Storefront. Closer. Because it's sheer, medieval-vision-of-Hell down that street. When they came for Joe Gandelman, they didn't exactly wipe their feet before entering. They rode in astride Godzilla with Mothra providing cover, if you get my drift. I mean, they bombed everything to holy hell and then they bounced the rubble a few times for good measure.
The Moderate Voice? Not any more, friends. Now it's That Stain On The Pavement Where The Moderate Voice Was Once Headquartered.
It doesn't lend itself to a pithy URL, but Joe Gendelman won't be needing a domain name where he is. Unless he's going to be ghost-blogging.
(Laugh at that joke tonight when you get home; I'm not done painting horror in your mind.)
We've all been searched, screened and put under a geiger counter. I'm on my third iodine tablet and my fifth shot of Dayquil. My wireless is slower than molasses in January but at least I'm still online. Heck, at least I still have a living, breathing mind to actually KNOW I'm sitting here trying to blog.
Better than poor old Joe. Poor, dead, plagiarized bastard. He gave us all a lot of laughs, but forever more he'll be a synonym for self-inflicted tragedy. "Hey Bob, you're about to spill wine on your tie" we'll say. "Don't be a freakin' Gandelman!"
Or "He tried to hit the brakes but...Gandelman."
It all started so innocently. Some dame out in the boondocks started up a blog with zero fanfare and even less traffic. But it wasn't the blog that set the first domino to falling. It was the domain name.
A Moderate Voice. A Moderate Voice? Why the indefinite article, you ask? Because, obviously "THE" Moderate Voice, the biggest, baddest, most even-tempered middle of the road blog of all was already USING that name. And using it quite successfully, thank you very much.
I have to say, the picture forming before my eyes was not a pretty one. Two blogs, one very old and completely established, and one very new with less readers than you could fit in a phone booth, and the newer one has a similar name to the old one? I'm thinking, I don't know what it was like to be hiding under a desk when the Khmer Rouge first marched into Phnom Penn, but I bet it felt exactly like this.
I tried, like I always do, to defuse the situation with a light-hearted remark. Cast Armegeddon in a positive enough light and you might convince a few it's a lacrosse match they're marching into:
Penny, I've been a blogger for years and never heard of Joe Gandalman's site, so my first point is I find it HIGHLY credible that Phyllis never did either.
Secondly, Joe's site has a HUGELY generic name, so approximations are inevitable and if he really cared he should have taken the wee bit of effort to buy the few likely "near misses."
Thirdly - and this is why I have questions about the sanity of Joe's supporters - THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME ON THE WEB. There are like 10 possible permutations of every name and services like Godaddy are set up precisely to help people cover all the likely variations on their trade name. OFTEN, IT DOES NOT WORK. Consequently there are beaucoup companies on the Web who have easily mistaken web addresses.
I think any 4-year old knows this, by the way.
Finally, has Joe even bothered to cover the variations on "themoderatevoice"? I can answer for you. No.
So somebody is eventually going to come along with a cough syrup or a dog training class OR POSSIBLY ANOTHER BLOG tied to some product, and they are going to name it themoderatevoice.info. Or maybe themoderatevoice.biz. Or maybe even themoderatevoice.net.
The list could go on and on, obviously.
So this entire "how dare you" attitude is risible in my opinion.
If Joe is really as self-important as you all are making him out to be, then please pass along my personal entreaty that in order to vouchsafe the integrity of his blog's holy name, he must IMMEDIATELY visit Godaddy and procure ownership of about 10 or 20 additional domains. He must not dither and he'd best not tarry: His perimeter is not, I repeat NOT, secured.
But I knew better. Godaddy couldn't put this genie back in the bottle. Joe Gandelman was already toast.
Lemme' tell you how it all goes down when someone puts up a Web site with a name similar to your site's. First, all the people who have gotten used to visiting your site either by clicking a link or - more likely - typing the first few letters and letting the browser autocomplete, suddenly must be extraordinarily careful to continue visiting your site using those same methods.
This is not a simple as it seems, because chaos theory shows that systems which work must eventually stop working. I.e., your regular visitors one by one become complete morons who forget how to get to your site and are forced to retype the name. If they happen to retype it wrong, they end up at the other site and WHAMMO, the new blog has now stolen your visitor permanently.
Play this out over a really long period of time, say four hours, and I think you can guess what happened to poor old Joe Gandelman. His visitors all lost their minds, and poof! went all his traffic right over to the interloper, A Moderate Voice, which as we all know is now the most visited politically moderate Web site on the entire Internet.
Joe himself, I firmly believe, never saw it coming. If he had, he undoubtedly would have done what so many others do, which is to buy an assortment of names similar to his site's. This would have prepared him for that day when all his visitors forgot how to get to his blog and all the many links to his blog on other blogrolls became to his readers like hieroglyphics before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. Meaningless jibberish.
And once the blood is in the water, well Lord have mercy on the mariner: Soon everyone from corporate raiders to backwoods bumpkins descend like vampire bats to snap up every possible similar domain. .net, .biz, .info, .us, even the friggin' .org (how low they can go!) Oh, mercy, it was apocalypse now. By 2:00 pm the blogosphere abounded with "moderates" in every possible permutation, from "yemoderatevoice.com" to "moderatesvoice.com" to "moderatevoices.com" to "themoderatevoices.com" all the way to "themoderatevoicethatWASjoes.com".
By 4:00 pm Joe's traffic was stolen, his good name ruined, his livlihood gone, his future kaput, and as I glanced up at the clock I noticed the first shadow pass over my building as the helicopter gunships maneuvered into position.
"JOE GANDELMAN!" From a block away I clearly heard the metallic, computerized voice over the loudspeakers. "JOE GANDELMAN, YOU HAVE ALLOWED OTHERS TO HORN IN ON THE NAME OF YOUR BLOG. YOUR VISITORS CAN NO LONGER FIND YOU. GOOGLING YOUR BLOG'S NAME WILL NOW PRESENT THE READER WITH OTHER CHOICES. YOU ARE DOOMED. YOU MUST BE DESTROYED."
And then the explosions started, the concussion knocking me out of my chair smack into the corner of the coffee table.
When I came to, I staggered to the window and gazed in pure shock at the smoldering hulk that was once Joe Gandelman's building. "Poor, poor damn Joe!" I said under my breath. "Cruel world. Conniving woman...Poor old Joe." It was a friggin' merciless bloodbath, is what it was.
But hey, that's blogging.
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