I did not want the year to end without expressing my sincere thanks to all of AALBC.com’s supporters.
On April 4, 2003, EarthLink announced a partnership with MOBE (Marketing Opportunities in Business and Entertainment) to present The 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans.
I learned of the list via an little tri-fold flyer I received in the mail (image on right) from EarthLink. There was nothing special about the mailing. There was no raised lettering, no embossed envelope or fanfare — just your average piece of junk mail that I would have normally thrown away were it not for the neat little list of websites.
The EarthLink/MOBE effort did not last very long. The last record of the list I found was on EarthLink’s website from January 2006 (courtesy of the Wayback Machine). The Mobe website (mobe.com) has been out of commission since 2008 and was not updated after 2006.
By today’s standards, in a world with a bazillion websites and ultra fast search engines, a list like this seems almost quaint. Or so one would think…
Last night I decided to visit each of the original (from the 2002 list) 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans. Here is some of what I discovered:
- 42 of the websites are no longer active
- Of the inactive sites Africana.com and BlackVoices.com have been absorbed by the Huffington Post. (Honestly, I think this is really jacked up, but that is a topic of another blog post)
- Another inactive site’s domain (black movie dot com) was reclaimed. by a pornographer.
- Of the 58 sites still alive, 5 have not been updated a very long time.
- One site not updated in a long time is Melanet.com “The Uncut Black Experience!” the site is over 17 years old and is one of first Black oriented websites I recall seeing.
- NiaOnline.com (a really smart well designed Blog) has announced: “…as of Nov. 1, 2011 we will not longer be publishing the blog or newsletter in its current format.” Keep your eye out for something good from Nia Enterprises
The sites do however have one thing in common, something to be proud of, they (we) have all withstood the test of time.
Of course, since this list was first published in 2002, many things have changed on the World Wide Web. One change I’ve observed is that mission driven sites, like most of the ones on the list, are being supplanted by websites driven purely by profit.
One consequence of the predominance of profit driven sites is the most popular “Black” websites are no longer Black owned and are controlled by huge corporate whose interests do not serve Black people very well. This results in the voices of independent Black owned sites being crowded out.
Mission driven, Black owned sites exist — they are just harder to find. This is one reason I launched a new search engine called Huria Search. To read more about why I created Huria Search, click here.
Below is the last version of the The 100 Best Web Sites for African Americans. I believe it is from 2006. I wonder what websites would be included on a 2012 list and who would own them?
Introducing Huria Search: Search independent websites that deliver meaningful content written by or about, the global Black community.
As the webmaster of AALBC.com, I’ve been an active observer of web-based content, of interest to my visitors, for almost 15 years. I share what I find in my eNewsletter, website, social media and by word of mouth. Despite vast improvements in the capability of technology, and the advent of social media, the ability to find quality, conscious, content written for the or about the Black community has become much more difficult.
As the largest Black oriented websites became absorbed into large corporate entities, there has been a trend toward the creation of content heavily focused on scandal, particularly celebrity scandal. For example, here are just a few titles of articles recently published and promoted by large corporate, Black oriented, websites:
- 83-Year-Old Caught TRICKIN’
- Amber Rose After Kanye West Apology: “He Was An A$$hole”
- Jessica Simpson Announces Pregnancy Beyonce Style
- Kim Kardashian Wedding: E! Reveals The Truth Behind The Scenes
- Justin Bieber Fans React On Twitter To Paternal Suit Allegations
- Reggae Star Vybz Kartel Denied Bail In Murder Case
- Top 5 Most Notable Sexual Harassment Cases
The primary goal of a publicly traded company is to maximize shareholder wealth. As a result, the type of content generated is designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Any consideration for variety, the promotion of negative stereotypes and imagery, or a potential adverse impact on Black people is purely incidental.
I don’t mean to suggest that this type of content should not be produced at all. The problem is that search results tend to favor large corporations, and as a result, their type of content dominates. Large corporate entities can buy sponsored links, pay professionals to perform search engine optimization and utilize other tricks to game search engine results to skew in their favor.
Over the past year I’ve observed an accelerated trend in search results favoring large corporate sites. The impact of this trend is that content generated by smaller websites, regardless of quality, is pushed so far down in the search results that it is never discovered.
I blogged about this recently after seeing how search engine results for a popular African American author has changed over time (read the blog post).
Search results matter because this is how most sites attract new visitors. There is a direct correlation between search engine ranking and website traffic. This condition raises the barriers of entry for new independent websites interested in producing serious content and jeopardizes the survival of sites that already do. I discussed this issue in a recent interview (read interview)
Huria Search was born out of an effort to combat this condition.
Huria Search uses a customized and curated version of the Google search engine. I believe you will find the results of a “Huria search” a refreshing improvement over conventional search engine results when looking for content generated for or about the global Black community (read more about why Huria Search was created).
Huria.org was launched, November 5th 2011. If you believe in Huria Search’s goals, please share this message and the Huria Search website http://huria.org with others.
It is up to us, as individuals, to promote and support what we believe is important. I hope Huria Search will become a tool to help us do that. If you see ways to make the Huria Search site better please let me know. Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Huria.org is not a revenue generating site — you’ll find no advertisements or sponsored links. Our goal is to promote and support independent websites to contribute to the global Black community in a meaningful way.