This is Satire. Not the Saturday Evening Post
© 2001

Hi, Andrew, thanks for accepting my invitation.

Hey, I don't turn down too many free meals at my favorite restaurant. Did you have much trouble finding the place?

No, I got lucky. Coming out of the hotel, I noticed a dump truck with a big McDougal's restaurant logo on it pulling out of the parking lot, so I just followed it.

I think you will like this place--very European. (Whispering) The waitresses don't shave their legs.

COOL! Maybe we should order now, then we can get down to business.

I already know what I am having. I've been thinking about a big plate of escargot all day.

I notice here on the menu that the escargot contains Velveeta, Velveeta, French fries, Velveeta, some garlic, and Velveeta, but no snails.

Yeah well, things are a little different here than in the States. We Canadians don't like to flat-out copy the rest of the world. We like to make just enough changes to make things our own.

Like playing football on a round field.

Exactly! It may not be better, but it's our own.

I am noticing that everything on the menu contains Velveeta. I really don't like Velveeta.

Oh, well, the mayonnaise, mayonnaise, Velveeta, and mayonnaise doesn't have "much" Velveeta in it.

Well, I think I will just have the Velveeta, Velveeta, whole lobster, and Velveeta, and see how it goes. Waitress...

So, I've noticed you have recently become very involved in the vertical portal development business.

It is more than a business; it's a movement.

A movement toward what?

Complete vortalization of the internet. Eventually every web site will be a complete resource regarding its niche subject and will provide easy navigation to all the other content sites on the subject.

These "other content sites," they are going to be vortals too, right?

Yes, of course, I just said everything will be vortalized.

Well why would vortal site "a" link to vortal site "b"? If they are a complete resource, why would they send eyes to a competing resource?

First, because it's part of being a complete resource to have links to other resources. Second, because the business plan requires vortal "b" to pay vortal "a" for a link or advertisement. This way everyone makes money and the user is always just one click away from a complete resource. In my conversations with other respected professionals in the V to V Enterprise Consortium, there has been unanimous support for accelerated hyper-vortalization. Many believe it will save the dying banner-ad market as relevancy will be so. . . Aow! What the hell was that?

Sorry, I forgot to mention I had the management rig your seat to administer an electric shock if you start getting too wordy and obtuse. You do have that tendency, and I am under some time and content restraints.

Boy, that's some attitude you've got! Very arttworkish. I have to keep explaining to him also, that everything in the universe is very complicated, and sometimes you have to talk around and around an issue to really understand it or to make it understandable. Boy, if you were not paying, I think I would be walking.

Sorry, I really mean no offense, but speaking of arttworks, he thinks vortals are going to be the internet equivalent of the television infomercial.

That shows how little he understands perfect vortatopia. You ask him how many infomercials run ads for other infomercials. That's the great thing about vortals--even when no one wants the content, the ad revenue received from other sites of unwanted content seeking exposure guarantees you will have the money required to maintain your visibility on other sites of the same unwanted content.

Sounds kind of like perpetual motion.

That's it exactly. Who could be against that.

Well, arttworks says it's a zero-sum game that will create an internet of billboards directing you to other billboards.

Arttworks has never seen a half-full glass in his life. I see all the jobs created building all those cyber billboards and know that's got to be good for the internet economy.

I see. In doing a little research on vertical indexing...

We call that vortaling.

Okay, well I must admit I am somewhat confused by the use of the word "vertical." Aren't these specialty portals really horizontal extensions of the traditionally vertical directory?

Technically that might be true, but no one is going to let me "hortalize" the internet.

I see what you mean. "Hortal" sounds like something a Star Trek creature would live in.

Yeah, not very marketable. How's your lobster?

It was very innovative of them to dye the fake cheese blue. Very ..ah, ornamental--the orange in a sea of blue.

Too bad that arttworks guy can't think of improvements like that, huh?

I would like to get to the subject of website marketing and promotion within the search industry.

We call that Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

Isn't the only thing these SEOers are trying to optimize is their own advantage?

Nothing un-American in that. Don't you folks down there believe in personal initiative.

Yes we do, but some of us think that initiative should be directed toward an eventual public good. How does the public benefit from distorted search engine placement?

Oh, you're one of those idealist types who doesn't like unfairness and thinks things can be changed for the better. Well, I watched Walter Cronkite once during the Viet Nam War, and in 1973 I shared a Twinkie with a homeless cat. I did that "try-and-save-the-world" crap, but then I realized there is no point in trying.

Why no point?

Well, as I am always having to tell that dummy arttworks: Simple things don't break. So, if somethings's broken, it's got to be way too complicated to fix. You see that northern spotted cockroach swimming in your Velveeta? (Crack, squish.) Now it's broken, and no matter how hard you try, you aren't going to fix it.

Judging from the way its legs are twitching, you might think "it" still has hope. It's hard to argue with such a "real (was) life" demonstration, but isn't the search industry less complicated than a cockroach and less broken than dead?

I don't understand. Are you saying the search industry is more worthless than a dead cockroach? You are just like that arttworks guy--always putting things down. A lot of very smart people do a lot of hard work, and you go around calling them less than cockroaches. You've got some nerve!

I don't think I did any of that--I would just like to explore the issue of improving on the current system.

So what, you are like one of those genetic engineering people who think you can do better than GOD did? I've got a news flash for you: The world doesn't need or want any giant man-eating cockroaches. And it's a proven fact that that's all your nutty experimenting ever produces. They made a bunch of movies about it, and I have seen them all.

So the bottom line is, you think the search industry might be broken because it is very complex, but we shouldn't try to fix it because we will just end up creating a giant man-eating cockroach.

Well it will be some kind of giant insect for sure, so that's why I do all I can to stop these "fixers" from messing with any "bugs" in the system.

Is there some place I could go lie down?

College-level philosophy too much for ya, huh? I see that a lot.