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Troy

“We Must Patronize Black-Owned Websites or Lose Them”

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Less than 30 minutes ago I sent an email (the entire message is at the end of this post) to my entire mailing list.  Anyone one who knows me is familiar with the theme.  What makes this issue different is that it does not just deal with Black book sites; it deals with the entire Black owned World Wide Web and how little of it we own and control.

 

Even I was alarmed because I'm having difficulty finding 50 websites with a meaningful level of traffic.  What is so striking is that we spending so much time hyping the benefits of social media and we have completely overlooked our ownership.  This is like bragging about how warm and comfortable Massa's house while most of us live in crappy shacks we don't even own.

 

What puzzles me is that there is no outrage, no alarm, no concern?  This why I find our bitching over a stupid Dove commercial so exasperating.

 

But check this out.  This is the very first response I received in reaction to the message was the following:

 

Why is everything controlled by Alexa rank?  Is Alexa "black-owned"?

Is Howard University the only HBCU that is "Alexa-ranked" and is therefore on your list?

What's up?

 

I replied with the following message:

 

Hi XXXXXXX,

 

Everything is not Alexa ranked.  I used a proprietary method of ranking websites The AALBC Score and that is Black owned.  I find Akexa to be a rather poor indicator of judging the relative traffic of websites.  I only use it to help me separate sites that get very little traffic from those that do.  On that basis the Alexa Ranks is adequate.

 

Of the HBCU’s I checked, Howard had the strongest overall AALBC Score.

 

If you have any websites you’d like to suggest I more than welcome you to add them to the list of sites to be considered.  The instructions are in my original email.

 

Thanks for the feedback it was helpful.

 

Peace,
Troy

 

Now this message is from my own tribe!  This reader completely missed the point and spirit of my message.  I'm not sure how I could have communicated my message any differently to help them understand my point.  Does anyone see where I went wrong?

 

So far this message, after only 32 minutes, is the most shared message I've sent in a long time, so it is apparently resonating with some readers.  Which is encouraging.

 

I just hope this issue gets some coverage and that Black folks start to patronize Black websites, before the web is complete owned by Amazon and Facebook owned websites.

 


 

top50blacoknwebsites

 

A few weeks ago, I created a list of “The Top 25 Black-Owned Websites.” Over the past week I've reviewed, improved, and expanded that effort. The result is a list of “The Top 50 Black-Owned Websites.” I’ve even come up with a ranking system to objectively score the relative strength of each website.

The truth is, the list only has 38 websites. I’ve having a great deal of difficulty identifying 50 Black-owned websites who meet a rather moderate level of performance criteria, and I’ve evaluated hundreds of sites.

 

Black Ppeople Are Not Profiting from the web

I was so taken aback by the lack of large Black-owned websites, that I was compelled to write an article, “We Must Patronize Black-Owned Websites or Lose Them.” My goal is to raise awareness and to issue a call to action.

Despite the fact that websites are easier than ever to create and more people have Internet access than ever before, Black websites are growing weaker, more difficult to find, and presumably less profitable.

TROY, help me identify and promote our top Black-owned website’s by posting the website’s information on AALBC.com. Please share this message with anyone you think will help.

We can’t allow a couple of social media websites and a search engine to serve as gatekeepers who control access to, and profit from, our culture on the web.

 

Peace & Love,

 

troy signature 1

 

Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com

 

***

 

news-letter-banner

 

AALBC.com eNewsletter – October 16, 2017 - Supplemental

 

 

 

 

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The feedback from this mailing was very illuminating.  I'm going to craft a part 2 message in a few weeks taking into account some new insights:

 

Alexa Rank Requirement
I made a having an Alexa ranking a requirement to be added to the list of sites that I would monitor. About half of the suggested sites I received today for consideration did not have an Alexa rank.  I suspect the person complaining about my use of Alexa had a site without an Alexa ranking.  While they did not say this was the reason, I can now understand now why someone would react the way they did. 

 

Now an Alexa ranking is a very low threshold to meet but the fact is 20% of the 300 sites I have evaluated so far did not have an Alexa Rank.  In fact they are still on my list of sites: https://aalbc.com/top_black_websites/top_black_sites_list.php  But I have to draw a line somewhere and the Alexa rank is as good a place as any;

 

Right now the Alexa Ranks for sites in the Top 50 range from 1,026 to 470,817 (lower is better, Google's Alexa Rank is 1, Facebook's is 3). The worst Alexa rank, for the sites with a ranking, in my database is 19,987,545.  I have never see a ranking worse than 30,000,000. 

 

Having an Alexa rank is generous cutoff, but I'm open to suggestions for alternatives.  While I'm the only one handling this here will need to be a cut off.  I have a booksite to run after all. 

 

“I've Never Heard of Most of These Sites”
This is the most common comment I've received.  Indeed it is the point of this entire effort.  There will be some sites you've never heard of that has produced something you will truly appreciate but never see, because it could not be found on Facebook. 

 

Facebook “Likes” Are Powerful
Facebook likes are very, very powerful--for Facebook. People measure the effectiveness of their ad spend and engagement on Facebook by the number of likes they get.  If does not matter if the likes do not translate in getting an email address, a sale, visitors to a website, or improved branding.  Likes are the measurement tool.  They are readily visible and have the added benefit of providing an ego boost. Facebook is known to holdback likes so that they are timed for maximum impact. 

 

There is i ample reason to believe that many of those Facebook Likes are fake, and one should always measure the effectiveness of those paid visitors, you might find as I did they are not very engaged visitors.

 

Most Users Don't Visit Websites
I suspect that the majority of new internet users are mobile users using social media.  These types of users are much less likely to visit a website.   When these users run a Google search they don't leave the Google search results page, because Google will pull answers from websites, most often Wikipedia, and present the response on the page or read it aloud.

 

For these types of users the social media/google/Wikipedia/amazon is the internet.  Demographically this is where the growth appears to be.

 

But there is a category of users (like anyone reading this message), who wants deeper information.  Like readers of books, the types of users of the web are in the minority. But like readers of books, there are enough of these types of internet users to enable independent Black owned websites to thrive.

 

Finally Don't Forget Email
In the four hours since I sent this email, several hundred extra people have visited the pages linked in my mailing. There is nothing I have ever done that has generated as much traffic as quickly from social media.  Now I've had some content go "viral" and that brought thousands of additional  visitors from Facebook primarily during the same period of time.  But I can not ln which post will go viral and they are very rare occurrence anyway.  Nothing, I've shared this year went viral, but 2017 will be the year this site see the most page views ever. 

 

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So many things to ask and say about this clarion call  but first, 

 

1) what qualifies as a website?  

2) Does a website with an owner's domain  hosted on wordpress.com (DOT COM) or blogger.com qualify for ranking? 

3) Or do you need to build on wordpress.org (DOT ORG) website with separate hosting.   

4) What if it's a blog with a static page plus a single entry per day...

5)

 



 

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I think i am typical of people who to whom all of these figures and statistics go over the head of.    What i am curious to know about this battle between black entrepreneur Davids against white monopolistic  Goliaths is whether there is any info  that suggests that black web sites owned by white corporations are misleading black people, telling them lies, "controlling their narrative", not representing what's authentic and are a negative destructive force in the black community?   Are these sites shaping back opinion - or are they shaped by black opinion?   Is the fact that these sites, which attract a vast audience and provide a platform for black issues,  represent profitable business ventures for their owners something that should be a major concern to anyone other than the black rivals of these white capitalists? 

 

I always have a problem with  regarding consumers as victims if they take advantage of the useful, convenient  and often valuable services  made available to them by those who exist to serve them.  Isn't there something to be said about reciprocation?   (My turn to play the devil's advocate.)   

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Well @Cynique, if history is any indication then we KNOW white corporations will mislead black people, telling lies, control our narrative, not representing what's authentic, and be a negative, destructive force in the black community.

 

Helping to share our truths and our stories is why I started selling books.  

 

No corporate lying is nothing new, nor is it limited to hurting Black folks.  We all stand to suffer.  It is just that Black folks are not talking about this and we stand to suffer the most.  Black folks are behind the curve. We are still naively talking, without reservation, about how great Facebook and Amazon are...

 

A few minutes ago, I finished a brilliant article in the the Sunday New York Times, "Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend."  An online version I found is behind a paywall (I read the print version). The author, Noam Cohen, described the problem, much more skillfully than I can. There was only one number in the entire article.  Noam also wrote a book: The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball 

 

I think the article, and perhaps the book, would speak directly to this issue in a way that you can appreciate @Cynique

 

The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball

 

(note: the book does not come out until November, I see now the Times piece was a great marketing tactic, but the article was still good!)

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@TroySorry for how incoherent my previous comments were. i was sleepy when i wrote them. :wacko: i did try and edit them, just now. 

 

So, I want to know that since you were surprised or couldn't tell that certain sites were white-owned, doesn't this mean that blacks running them control what is being meted out to the black  community, making sure their output has relevancy and authenticity? And that they are not manipulated by the owners who are conceivably only interested in profiting from providing blacks with venues to communicate among themselves.  

 

In your chronic displeasure with them, are you further claiming that Facebook and Twitter somehow influence the black dialogue about race and gender, and that these identity politics are being manipulated by them?  Granted, that domain owners monitor the tastes of their traffic and direct advertisers to them via e-mail - spam that can be deleted without even being opened, but are these sites, per se, the opinion makers for black people? Or are black people sharing ideas and either commiserating or debating things that are constructive and relevant to their community, exchanges that possibly trigger reform? 

 

At the risk of being repetitive, it seems to me that webs and social media sites simply enable black folks to express themselves - on many levels. They reflect and reinforce black culture, not dictate it.  What would black-owned sites do differently?? 

 

i didn't read the aforementioned article yet,  but i have been guilty of saying that those who deconstruct the people who patronize these sites are, themselves, the ones who are the "know-it-alls".  i've always contended that black people are actually aware of the negatives of social media, but they don't care. Going to these places adds a dimension to the lives they lead , - or want to lead, and they go there to reaffirm themselves through  pictures and comments. i'd be interested in hearing how critics would change or improve what they consider a  detrimental  pass time.  i assume the article covers this.       

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@Cynique, I hear your points I really do, but you are over looking two of my major points as if they do not matter:

  1. Black people are not profiting from the great wealth generated on the web
  2. Black people have no agency on the web--corporations have taken it from us

I argue that monopolistic corporations are to blame.  They have perverted the internet for VAST wealth, and have GREATLY constrained creativity, independence, diversity, and much more on the web. This was simply not the case 10 years ago. 

 

You feel the conversations held by Black people has not been changed by corporate ownership of the platforms on which we communicate. 

 

Of course it has been; think about the conversations that took place here, on this forum back in it's heyday-- has that in any way been replicated on Twitter or Facebook?  And if you somehow think that is has, who is profiting from it?  Now image that scenario being replicated thousands and thousands of times over.  Does this make sense?

 

Does it not bother you that another for-profit, Black-owned, book site can not emerge and generate enough revenue to provide someone a living?   What this means is that the quality Black books are MUCH less discoverable on the web today than ever before. 

 

There are very few platforms even reviewing books by Black writers and those that are don't have platforms large enough for those book reviews to be read by anyone.

 

Many have run to social media as an alternative platform, but it is a poor substitute. I no longer use my Facebook page, because Facebook now charges you to have your posts seen.  It makes no sense for me to pay them when my platform is so much better for presenting and disseminating information.

 

I have a long history on the WWW that predates social media, so I'm keenly aware of what we have lost and are losing.  I also understand that the reason this is not being discussed more widely in the Black community is reflective of this very problem. 

 

The Times article I referenced above made a great point:
 

“In addition to their power, tech companies have a tool that other powerful industries don’t: the generally benign feeling of the public”

 

This is our biggest roadblock to fixing this problem.

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Hi @Mel Hopkins, I missed your reply initially.  Your questions are answered below:

 

1) what qualifies as a website?  
A web presence with it's own domain. In fact, I use domain's age as part of my calculus to derive the AALBC Score.

2) Does a website with an owner's domain  hosted on wordpress.com (DOT COM) or blogger.com qualify for ranking? 
No, a site hosted on another site does not qualify, as it is just a portion of the other site.  However if the entity registered a domain and mapped to their Wordpress or Blogger presence, then it could be considered a site as long as it functions as a standalone site.  

3) Or do you need to build on wordpress.org (DOT ORG) website with separate hosting.   
I think the responses to the first 2 questions answer this.  Do you have a specific case in mind?

4) What if it's a blog with a static page plus a single entry per day...
Yes, blogs are websites. I don't make a distinction between blogs or any other type of website.  Right now my only conditions for adding to the list of websites and consideration for monitoring for potential inclusion on the Top 50 Black Owned Website List are;

  • The site has it's own domain as described a above
  • The site be Black-owned, or if publicly the management team must be majority Black
  • That the site has enough traffic to have an Alexa rank (any rank)

Let me know if there is anything else. 

 

I just ran a couple hundred blogs through my ranking process and 10 blogs were added to my Top 50 Black Websites.  Right now I have 49 sites which meet my minimum criteria for inclusion in the top 50. 

 

I'm sure I'll find enough sites to round out my top 50. Some of the sites that I'm monitoring now may ultimately make the list or replace a site already on it. As I discover more than 50 sites to meet my criteria, I'll adjust the minimum requirement to keep the list at 50.

 

I'm actually still confirming site ownership for some of the sites.  I just deleted Carol's Daughter which I just learned is no longer Black owned; it is owned by L'Oreal (I was wondering why the store on 125th Street was closed).  The site was not strong enough to make the top 50.  I also just deleted Very Smart Brothers, which was in the top 50, but is not Black owned...I guess the Brothers ain't so smart after all. ;)

 

This list, like the rest of AALBC.com is a work in progress.  But this is the first serious attempt, that I'm aware of, to identity the top Black websites and to maintain and share this information on an ongoing basis.

 

Back in the late 1990's Earthlink maintained and published a list and only lasted a couple of years.  Pew Research also published a list as part of their reporting on African American Media, that that list has not been consistently maintained and many of the sites listed are not Black owned.  There are have been a variety of other lists published over the years, but none are nearly as formal or objective.

 

 

 

 

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On 10/18/2017 at 2:03 PM, Troy said:

However if the entity registered a domain and mapped to their Wordpress or Blogger presence, then it could be considered a site as long as it functions as a standalone site.  

 

This is my question.  I can't tell if melhopkins.com is a standalone site or is ranked as wordpress.com . Or it could be because I signed up for the wordspress site before I mapped my domain.  

With wordpress.org - I don't think you don't get a wordpress domain in addition to your domain name.   I hope  I didn't make this too confusing.   

AND... I'm very disappointed in VSB... I thought this was a blackowned site!   Edit: Here is their reasoning http://verysmartbrothas.com/why-we-joined-gizmodo-media-group-gmg-explained/

Edited by Mel Hopkins
Edit to add a link

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Yes @Mel Hopkins, your site, https://melhopkins.com would qualify as having domain; it is just hosted by Wordpress.  This site is hosted by GoDaddy. Here is some of the information I pulled on your domain:

 

AALBC Score: N/A
Domain Created: Mar 01, 2001 (16 Years, 8 Months)
SEMrush Rank: 39,200,000
Alexa Rank: N/A
MOZ Domain Authority: 22
 

I've decided to restrict not to add any new sites to track to my database unless they had an Alexa ranking.  There however are some sites without an Alexa ranking in my database and I'm not going to delete them.  I'll add your since you got it like that ;)

 

Since I have my webmaster hat on now; it is good that your site is using SSL (https), because Google uses this a ranking signal and they are going to start displaying warning messages in their browsers to sites that don't use it.  This will hurt a lot of sites.

 

It is also good that you are using a response design, so your site will display well on a mobile device.  This is a ranking signal for Google as well.  This is one aspect of webdesign that really hurt a lot sites in search.

 

What happened to your old content? I ran some queries and see that it is still on the site, but I cant find a way to browse it directly the old stuff--at least the stuff I looked for.  For example, how does one browse to this page: https://melhopkins.com/2016/06/09/aalbc-the-african-american-media-clearinghouse-wifotit/ If there is no way to browse to this page (no direct link to it on your site), the page an others like it will be hurt in search because they are unrecoverable without a direct link

 

Digging a bit deeper.  I would be more descriptive in your description meta tags.  This is the text used when people share you site on social media.  Google would not use it because it is too short and they pull text from the page.  So should control this by being more descriptive.  I'm not sure how you do this now, but there are plugins that make optimizing for SEO easy.

 

<meta property="og:description" content="Actuate | Thought Into Action" />

 

I would also make the site's title (not on the title on the page but in meta tag), clearer.  It should always be different that what is in the title tag

 

<title>Mel Hopkins &#8211; Actuate | Thought Into Action</title>

 

You should create a customized 404 error page.  You know that page that comes up when someone types a bogus URL on your website like https://aalbc.com/bousurl.html

 

Today SEO (optimizing for Google's search engine) is probably more important than a site's content--especially for Black owned sites because we don't usually have the benefit of larger platforms to support us. 

 

I know that is more than you asked for, but I hope it is helpful :)

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34 minutes ago, Troy said:

 

Thank you, Troy! Thank you for including me!  And thank you for your website diagnosis.   It helps out a lot! I was considering moving off the service and going over to wordpress.org hosted by godaddy  but I may rethink that now.  

I'm not quite sure how to add those meta-tags and title tags through the wordpress. template.   I do get to chat support with my subscription - so I will contact them and ask.   

Did you use the  search feature and type in aalbc.  I found about five aalbc related articles.  Also I found this article through my categories.    Also the link works too  -am I misunderstanding?   I am a beginner when it comes to html and coding.

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No problem Mel. Here is your link. Yes I used the search feature on your site to find the article because I knew that the content existed. Google still has the pages indexed. but again, how does a visitor to the site discover any of your older Blog posts?  None of the blog posts are listed--unless I'm just missing them?

 

You are better off hosting a Wordpress site with Wordpress.  I would not move it to Godaddy.

 

I use a plugin "SEO Ultimate" to handle the SEO stuff I described for the wordpress sites I run.

 

I read the article about VSB.  The reasoning does not make sense to me.  The former owner said the site had 2 million unique visitors a month. That is a lot of traffic.  There is nothing in the data that I have access to that suggests get or ever got that many visitors.  Here is the information I've collected on their site prior to removing them from the top 50 Black-owned website page (they are still in my database).

 

AALBC Score: 4.99
Domain Created: Feb 13, 2001 (9 Years, 8 Months)
SEMrush Rank: 44,400
Alexa Rank: 105,360
MOZ Domain Authority: 48

 

Most telling is VSB's data from SEMRush, that data alone shows that VSB gets less traffic than AALBC.com, and I don't get any where near 2 Million unique visitors a month. While SEMRush does not have access to VSB server logs their information is quote good.

 

If you believe the 2M number (I don't), then you have to ask yourself why weren't these Very Smart Brothers able to monetize that much traffic to pay writers and provide a good living for themselves.

 

Did Gizmodo buy VSB or just give these guys jobs--jobs they should not have needed with 2M unique visitors.

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1 hour ago, Troy said:

None of the blog posts are listed--unless I'm just missing them?

 

Wow... something so simple... like an archive page?  Ok I'll do some research and get on it!

 

1 hour ago, Troy said:

If you believe the 2M number (I don't), then you have to ask yourself why weren't these Very Smart Brothers able to monetize that much traffic to pay writers and provide a good living for themselves.


That IS what I asked myself... I got very sad too. I thought if you're getting that many visitors then why sell?  It made me feel that even traffic won't help me set up a business writing.  

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OK Is see now the Basketville theme you are using has a button at the bottom of the page to show older posts.  Did I miss that the first time or did you just invoke that?  At any rate that is probably adequate, unless you really want people to find your older content more easily.

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This is gonna sound waaaaaay out there but..................
 

One of the reasons so many so-called "Black" websites are owned and operated by White people is because the level of intellectual power in the Black American community has declined so much that many of our people no longer have SENSE enough to operate their own websites.

If White people DIDN'T put it together and run it, often times it would exist.

Back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s we had HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of Black owned and operated television and radio stations.
Black people controlled EVERYTHING from the airing to the subjects of the broadcast to building the antenna, working the cameras, ect......

We also had a lot of Black NEWSPAPERS.

Nearly every Black community had it's own newspaper and every highschool with a sizeable Black population had it's own Black student newspaper.

Black people in those days were smart and industrious and WANTED to own and operate and control everything pertaining to them!


Today I don't know if we have even a dozen television stations owned and operated by Black people.

Black radio is declining as well.

It's a race to the bottom.

Some of it is because of laziness.
Many of our people want to do the EASY thing and just put everything online instead of making sure we are holding down ALL forms of media (television, movies, radio, ect....)

To show you how lazy it has become.
A lot of our people have abandoned their own websites just to do everything on facebook.
They advertise their businesses on facebook.
They hold talk shows on facebook.
They gotta go beg facebook Zuckerberg for EVERYTHING and now he's their new master.



But sadly, much of it isn't just because of laziness but because of INTELECTUAL DECLINE.

A lot of our people today just don't have the intellectual capacity and organized thought capable of building and managing their own websites and businesses.

Most of our brothers and sisters from Africa can do it.....but their intellects are still  strong and intact because they were raised in a different environment eating different food.

A lot of our people can't think clearly and linearly and in an organized fashion.

Just look at many Black Americans under 50.

Just LOOK at them and study them and how they act and you'll get your answer as to why so many websites aimed at them AREN'T owned by them or even managed by them.

Go to a store or resturant and look at how long it takes so many to do simple math. when giving back your change.

Go to a store where they're working and ask them a question and see if THEY can answer it or do they have to go and get a White or Asian person to answer it for them.

Listen to the conversations they're having on the cell phone.

Look at how so many are walking up and down the street talking and rapping to themselves and tossing their hands around in a frenzy.

There is a serious decline in the intellect and prevents many of our people from accomplishing things that require EXECUTIVE thought like planning and organizing.

Lead and flouride has saturated and jammed up the brains of too many of our people to the point that many of them operate on a MILDLY RETARED (moronic or idiotic) level of intellect.

 

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7 hours ago, Troy said:

 

OK Is see now the Basketville theme you are using has a button at the bottom of the page to show older posts.  Did I miss that the first time or did you just invoke that? 

 

@Troy  Oh no, that's been there.  I didn't know that's what you meant.  :D  I did put up a widget  for popular content and since yours is one the most popular - it's listed on the front page.   

I'm still bummed out about VSB... Maybe they just wanted the money and job with bennies.  (oh well smh)

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@Pioneer1, there is no need for you to preface a comment you make with  "This is gonna sound waaaaaay out there but..." :lol:

 

I hear you though.  Of course I don't buy in the the Black people are dumber part. 

 

Speaking of our African Brothers, if you look at some of the sites with the most traffic like Worldstarhiphop and Mediatakeout.  They are run by people or are, or whose parents are, from Africa.  These African's drink the same fluoridated water I do.  I think I'm smarter than the average white boy (test scores, educational attainment, work experience, etc).  Again fluoride is not the issue

 

Our problem when it comes to ownership of media is complex but boils down to two main things;

  1. It is exceedingly difficult to compete against a monopoly
  2. People, in the pursuit of happiness do what everyone else is doing

One of the draws of Facebook, for example, is that everyone else is on it.  I think Instagram will be the next thing, but Facebook owns that too so Facebook are a very powerful force to compete against.

 

The most popular restaurants and clubs are the ones with lines. The most popular plays or concerts are the ones where tickets the hardest to get.  We are slaves to fashion and programmed to have the latest version of the iPhone.  Of course we all know that the best plays, restaurants, clubs, shoes, whatever are not the ones that the most people are after.  The value comes from the perception of desirability.

 

Red Rooster is the hottest restaurant in Harlem. It owner chef Marcus Samuelsson is world-renown. He was able to get #2 above because he got the white co-sign, which increased demand for his restaurant.  However, the food is overpriced and mediocre.  The service is average and the atmosphere is noisy and busy. There are better restaurants in Harlem, but since this is the one everyone has heard about and it has #2 people really desire to go there.

 

Some people, after experiencing the restaurant, will come to the conclusion I did and simply patronize better restaurants.  Others will convince themselves that Red Roosters fried chicken is great (mine is MUCH better) and they will go back and tell their friends--especially the ones that have never been how amazing it was.  They will post photos on Facebook of the food.  They'll share photos of themselves in the restaurant sharing this "great experience."  Those with the wherewithal to go will do so at the first opportunity and the others will wish that they could and be disappointed that they can't.

 

The power of #2 can't be understated.  The power is #1 is self-evident.

 

 

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Guest RCG1

Maybe we need to change our focus. Instead of the Top 50 (or 48) who have somehow managed to achieve a level of success, what about the next hundred? And the next? We're inundated with the Top 100 This and the Best That. When we develop a stronger next round, perhaps we'll have more success stories, more models, more mentors, more teachers. When the focus isn't always on the Top XX,  perhaps those on the next rung who are hungry, who really desire to grow, can. Therare always scholarships for the A students. Can anyone ever take a look at the Bs?  Consider the potential that does on the vine daily by not doing so. Do the top 50 need their websites publicized as much as the next 100 do?  Will an additional 1000 followers mean as much to a site with 100k followers as it will to a site with 10k?  And what's the difference between those sites? A viral video? A larger network? A hot product?  

 

You mentioned that websites are easier than ever to create and more people have internet access than ever before yet Black websites are growing weaker, more difficult to find, and presumably less profitable. But most websites don't even begin as profit sources. They are blogs, or simple amateur vehicles for sharing topics of interest. Having a website and having product or services to sell are two different things. And growing a website to the point where it can garner ads, develop e-books or other products and services to sell, attract guest bloggers, achieve decent SEO -- those are functions of time, education, dedication, support and money, things in short supply for most sole proprietors. So why not shine a little light where it's actually needed? 

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Guest RCG1
On 10/16/2017 at 7:36 PM, Troy said:

But like readers of books, there are enough of these types of internet users to enable independent Black owned websites to thrive

 

Troy, there weren't enough to keep the black bookstores open. And I can name several other areas where our businesses should be booming, but aren't. In sheer numbers, there may be enough internet users to support our website, but how committed are they?  Maybe another underlying aspect to consider in this development is how we get our people to be purposefully and consistently Afrocentric in selecting vendors and services providers, without asking for discounts or establishing criteria and standards of excellence that we never require of white vendors and service providers. 

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I truly appreciate your thoughtful comments RCG1.  Hopefully you'll create an account and comment here more frequently.

 

Allow me to introduce you to AALBC.com.  I started the website 20 years ago and it has been my passion ever since.  I run the entire website by myself and it has been my livelihood for the last 8 years.  What started out as a site to sell books as an BarnesandNoble affiliate has grown to be much more.  I celebrate Black culture through books.

 

However, over the years I've noticed that independent Black booksellers both online and off faced many challenges much of it having to do with a lack of visibility, so I made it my mission to "shine a little light where it's actually needed."  This is an aspect of the site you appear to have missed here are some examples I think you'll appreciate.

 

I have maintained list of all the books website you make an effort to sell Black books: https://aalbc.com/booksites/ I also keep track of Black owned book stores (including stores that sell Black books, but are not Black owned): https://aalbc.com/bookstores/  Some might argue that it makes no sense to provide free promotion to one's competitors.  But these business are not my competitors are family and we are engaged in the same battle.  I need to them to be stronger.  Now you are not going to read about the booksellers in Black Enterprise, you are not to hear Oprah talk about them.  Over the years I've reporting on how many of these business are dying and what it means to our culture: https://aalbc.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/31/54-black-owned-bookstores-remain-america/

 

I also noticed the same thing happening to Black owned newspapers: https://aalbc.com/newspapers/ and other Black content providers.  I even created a search engine that searched hundreds of Black websites: https://aalbc.com/huria/ all of this in an effort to uplift and support OTHER websites.  

 

You said that my list overlooks sites not in the top 50, but you missed that page where in link to 300 more stes: https://aalbc.com/top_black_websites/top_black_sites_list.php all of these site are in my database I maintain and they are regularly montiored.  I even maintain a section of the site where I categorize Black Blogs: https://aalbc.com/blogs/blog-category.php?category=Academics

 

AALBC.com links to thousands of other websites.  That is not hyperbolic it is a fact.  Again I do it because we ALL need support, and no one else is going to do it.  I try to lead by example, but know going in the support will not be reciprocated.  I sacrifice time and energy that can into activities that would directly improving my own business, but it is absolutely imperative that we support each other.

 

The most popular post in the Black literature section of this discussion forum is "The 10 Best Damn Black Websites Period!"  It has been viewed over 100K times.  Part of the reason is that virtually no one is talking about Black websites (another reason may be the clickbaity title).  Now in the early days of the web we did this, but not today.  Now that post was rather weak from a content perspective, so I improved it: creating the Top 50 Black-Owned Websites section of the website that your are already familiar with.

 

I'm not aware of another site doing as much to promote other Black-owned website. 

 

Today a Black websites do a lot to drive traffic to social media. They mention their social media platforms before they even mention their own websites.  They published so much content on social media that their social media sites come up before their own sites--deservedly so, because their own websites are subordinate to their social media presences.  For many authors their social media presence is their only web presence--they have completely abandoned have their own websites!  

In fact I started offering a service where I'll host an author's primary web presence--usually for free! https://aalbc.com/authors/mydomain.html

 

Speaking of authors I can't tell you how many times I've recorded an author to promote their work and when asked where their book can be purchased they will always say Amazon--as if no knows book can be purchased their.  I now explicitly ask them to simply tell be the name of a Black owned bookseller you like:

 

 

I hope this helps folks better understand the effort placed into uplifting other Black owned websites, the challenges faced into doing and hopefully why it is important.

 

Do we really want the world wide web to be run by Facebook owned websites?

 

In terms of getting consumers to be more Afrocentric in their selection of vendors I think this will start to happen as people start to push back on the dominance and the control exerted by these monopolies. The lack of choice and options that these corporations provide will create a desire for black folks to support smaller less powerful Independent organizations and companies.

 

This is what fueled the explosion in books written by black people in the 1990s. Black folks found a need and met it. Authors like E Lynn Harris and Terry McMillan Who Sold books out the proverbial trunk of their cars are prime examples.

 

Today it would be harder for an independent author to emerge in the same fashion; for we now publish our books through Amazon and even give them exclusivity for the book's sales.

 

Black folks really have very little say in determining if an author is relevant or derives commercial success. We have allowed large corporations to take that control from us. I'm trying to remedy that situation.

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