I Will Bet You $1035.58 that the Internet is Recession Proof

Posted by Danny Dover

About six months ago, I created a list of the top 100 domains based on estimated monthly visits. This list identified the elite corporations that had found the success that most entrepreneurs (and SEOs) are striving to attain. Afterwards, I started informally tracking the companies to see if I could glean any tips from their experiences.

One of the metrics for these companies that I tracked was stock price. I created a mock stock portfolio based on my top 100 list where I “purchased” one share of stock from each publicly traded company on the list. (Note: By “purchased” I mean I added them to my fake portfolio, I didn’t actually spend any money) If the company owned 1/4 of a web property in the top 100 (like eBay’s stake in Craigslist) then I “purchased” 0.25 shares. This stock portfolio was, in my opinion, well diversified in regards to risk.

Internet Stock Portfolio
Stock portfolio of publicly traded corporation that owned the top 100 domains on May 22nd, 2008

As open and free as the internet is, it is easy to lose sight of how intertwined the internet and major corporations really are. Just like the real world, the internet’s success is largely the result of big corporations working to supply consumer demand.

When the consumers stop buying and subsequently the corporations stop making money, the internet hurts as a whole.

Internet Porfolio After
Stock portfolio of publicly traded corporation that own the top 100 domains on December 12th, 2008

As we all know, over the last two months the stock market has plummeted and the major stack-holders in the internet have suffered.

The real question is, has the internet itself suffered during this recession? Do these numbers quantify internet health? If not, then what numbers should be used to test if the internet is recession proof? Is it the number of bits transmitted? The amount of concurrent users? The amount of money exchanged?

I like to think the internet’s health is actually something much more complex. Something that can’t be quantified. IT’S THE THE SPIRIT OF THE INTERNET. It is made up of the millions of people who will never physically meet but go online everyday and interact. Its the smile we all share from reading a nerdy XKCD comic. It’s the fact the we no longer are surprised to hear someone has dedicated an entire website to pictures of upside-down dogs. It is that spirit that makes the internet recession proof.

So why did I choose to name this post like I did? Simple, I am out $1035.58 theoretical dollars and I want to make my money back 😉 I think betting on the spirit of the internet is always a sure win. The collective wisdom of millions of people is ultimately the safest bet that anyone can make.

This is precisely why I am an SEO. All of the most successful SEOs that I have met are good at optimizing websites for search engines but they are better at being Internetists. They do their job for the love of the internet not just for a boost in the search engines. Just like how firefighters care more about saving lives than distinguishing flames, great SEOs care more about helping people find information than improving their clients rankings.

This year my New Year’s resolution is going to be to focus on the really important part of SEO. I am going to work hard to do research and publish content that makes the internet a better place. I hope that even with the economy slowing, I can stay optimistic and help promote the spirit of the internet.

Have a happy new year everyone!

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