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Trying to find crap on the Internet

Much to my own chagrin, I spend way too much time on the Internet.  I am an aspiring novelist and have to do tons of research to find the information I need in order to write the things that I like to write (mainly historical).  One thing that bothers the hell out of me, however, is that finding crap on the internet seems to get harder and harder every year.

I remember when the Internet first came about (yeah, I’m old… stuff it).  Back then, when you did a search you generally came up with things that were at least semi-relevant to the topic you did the search for.  The number of websites was much lower and the concept of keyword stuffing had not been adopted completely by everyone trying to market via cyberspace.  Consequently, you did a search for “apples and oranges” and you got results that had some information about said apples and oranges.

Now, no matter what I type into my search engine and no matter which search engine I use, I always get the same pile of crap returned to me.  There are several varieties of this crap which appear, a few of which I will relate here.

The first is the “buy me!” site.  If I feel the need to do research on the American Civil War, for example, I will type in “american civil war.”  But the results that come back are inevitably filled with shopping sites trying to sell me books on the subject, instead of websites with information.  What makes it worse is that frequently those first 20 hits have repeated instances of the same site (usually Amazon), sometimes even varied links to the exact same book they’re trying to pawn off on me.  If I wanted to buy a fkn book, I would have gone to your site in the first place! I’m trying to get the information for free, so stop trying to get me to spend my hard-earned cash.

The second offense that websearching commits is that of the link-spam.  This has gotten better in recent years.  Apparently the search engines have been working hard to kill this phenomenon and, gratefully, they have been fairly successful in that regard.  Still, there are always links that do nothing other than take you to pages of other links.  When you try to click on those links, you get more pages of links!  It’s a perpetual circle and it makes me insane.

Maybe I’m just old and there are ways around these annoyances that I haven’t figured out yet.  I was, after all, doing my first websurfing via dial-up with a 300 baud modem (from the back of my dinosaur).  Maybe Google has hidden buttons placed somewhere that block out shopping sites and other undesirables.  Maybe there are better engines out there that actually provide information instead of marketing crap.

If anyone knows of such a beautiful piece of software, please let me know.  It gets harder every month to find information without wading for 30 minutes through piles of useless crap.