Junking Up The Web – Who Will Clean It Up?

Do you ever think about that? Do you ever wonder who's going to come in and clean up the web after this whole guru phase?

My thoughts on this were actually inspired by a pretty deep post over at the Warrior Forum. Sharlene was talking about how difficult it has been for her to try to manage her husband's online business while he has been sick. She encouraged others to be sure that they had "a backup plan" - that someone knew enough about what they were doing to take over or help out in the case that it was necessary.

Part of my reply there was:

Still, if something were to happen to me, SOMEONE needs to know that there is money piling up in those paypal accounts. And how to transfer it to the bank. There would be checks to cash. Who knows how long those would keep rolling in. People to contact, sites to sell. Lots to do, even if just in managing a shut-down or redirect.

I would like to think that my son (who already has a web presence of his own) would be able to take over some of it. But at the very least I would want my children to have access to the income.

As I went on about my work, that was stuck in the back of my mind. There's a whole generation of us, for the most part creating one big unorganized mess as we go, figuring things out on the fly, and leaving a chaotic broken trail of details all over the place.

If you happen to be one of those super-organized people who has documented everything and has a disaster recovery plan in place... you are definitely in the minority. Yes, we should all do it. The truth is, most of us never will.

(Note: I think Patty Gale has a product that is the perfect solution for us here, so I will find her link and post it here -- because I truly think we all need to give this some serious thought)

Just imagine the web 70 years from now. Most of us will be long gone. Did we tidy things up before we passed on? Or did we get caught unaware - like get struck by lightning or a mack truck - and just leave everything hanging? Did we pass it all on or shut it all down? (and did we even remember all 387 passwords required to do that?)

Hopefully by the time we are done here, there will have been applications and products created to help us organize and track more efficiently. And hopefully we wont have been too busy to make good use of them.

Just imagine. Every day there is more junk on the web. More stuff. More spam. More everything. Sure, some of it will be purged after a time - when hosting accounts arent paid, or you become inactive on certain sites, etc.

But you'll probably still get email for Viagra 100 years from now.

Email will be floating around in cyberspace. Money will be piling up in forgotten paypal accounts. Amazon.com will be making direct deposits for affiliate commission to bank accounts that no longer exist. Sites will disappear and links will go bad. Blogs will be abandoned.

Sure much of it will take care of itself over time. But not all of it. And who will clean up what's left? Even now there are remnants of junk from the last decade. Inactive newsgroups that used to be buzzing with discussions. Old websites still lingering around places like tripod and geocities. They're still out there. Just sitting there. And every once in awhile someone happens upon them and realizes they are a "ghost town" and just clicks away.

You know, around here there are a lot of indian artificacts to be found, as the Trail of Tears runs through Tennessee. Particularly when we get a good hard rain or someone plows a field. Pieces resurface, and locals pick them up with curious interest. Scraps mostly, sometimes several full arrowheads, broken pieces of pottery even. Evidence of a time before us, and a very small glimpse into the life they must have lead.

Perhaps future generations will look back on us in much the same way. Will our "web junk" resurface here and there in future generations? Every once in awhile an Internet Marketing Artifact will resurface on the web, or be stumbled upon accidentally. I imagine it will all seem very primitive.... but maybe interesting. Who knows.

Will there be an info product that outlines the goldmine in "abandoned paypal accounts"? Will there be a group of guru-thugs that make a business of hijacking orphaned websites or redirecting recurring affiliate commissions? Will something you wrote, or something I wrote, become a hot "public domain" item?

Just a lot of random thoughts... but something to think about.

And on that note, I'm off to get some things organized.

Lynn Terry, who has every intention of leaving things in good order

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»

Discussion

  1. You're right. And I have to ask myself who would even understand my "plan" and know where to start with it... except me.

    Which leaves us with the question: What's going to happen to all this stuff?

  2. Throught-provoking, but not a subject I want to think about!

  3. Me either, Ellen. It's in the same boat with writing up a will, going over terrorist or natural disaster drills with my children, etc. But that's the point, really. If none of us want to address it, and we all leave this world without documentation on our business/income... imagine what a mess that will become for the next generation.

    We are basically the pioneers of Internet Marketing. Creating e-history that will stump the minds of users in future years, I imagine.

  4. The hardest thing about getting motivated for writing up an "in case of disaster" plan is that much of the info to write down will have changed within a few months. Passwords change, new sites are bought, old ones sold etc. So once you get started it's something that needs to be updated constantly. One of these days I'll stop being so lazy though πŸ™‚

  5. Dan Reinhold says:

    Wow, that's deep.

    And so incredibly true.

    I'm nowhere near keeping that all together!

    Patty's (and Diane's!) book is an excellent resource for the very real possibility of experiencing a major disaster and being able to restart your online or computer-based business afterward.

    I remember Kidino inquiring about just this sort of thing on SSWT (I think) a while back. What a product that would be, huh? Talk about universal appeal!!

  6. Yes, things will change over time, and you'll need to keep the document up to date at all times.

    It takes time to do, but somehow you really don't have the option not to do it.

    And the biggest chunk of work will be when you create the initial document.

    I have lots of passwords that I'm changing all the time because of password lifetime restrictions. Whenever I change a password I hit the shortcut on my desktop to my password file, enter the site, username and new password, save it, and exits it.

    It's just a part of a routine that takes very few seconds to do.

    Lately I have created my own setup guide for how to launch new sites. Making the guide in the first place took time, but it has three distinct advantages:

    1) I'm building sites much faster now that I have a step by step guide.
    2) I can easily recreate a site from scratch.
    3) The rest of the family can (with time and training) do the same.

    Another thing I'm maintaining on a per site basis is a change log or maintenance document.

    I log the new versions of scripts and stuff that I install on my websites, including additional things I had to do to get the new version to work as intended. I also log the location of the new versions on my computer and where I have uploaded them to.

    And once you have these documents in place they really don't take up that much of your time.

    The biggest problem I see is how to pass on all the tacit knowledge that I've accumulated over the years. All my education, training and experiments is difficult to pass on. And stuff that's even more impossible to pass on is how I validate things, how I estimate and how I decide, because these things are influenced by my values and beliefs.

    My wife and I are two different types of persons, so a manual on how to go about internet marketing and making a living online that makes perfect sense to me might not fit in with my wife's way of thinking aboout things.

    But hey, one cool thing that could arise from this is that centuries down the line, some smart internet marketing guru could find my document and re-launch it as "an ancient manual for internet success that has been lost and forgotten for centuries" and make a fortune from it πŸ˜‰

  7. I've been working on my "business manual" for my family for about 6 months. It's not complete, but I'm working on it!

    I don't understand your comment about who's going to clean up the web after this "guru phase"? What do you mean exactly in relation to the rest of your blog entry? Isn't our own responsibility to make sure our families (or people who want to buy our online empires!!) have what they need to carry on?

  8. Okay, I'm reading it again. You threw me off with the "guru" comment. I was thinking like real junk that is created by the programs they promote...but you're also talking about things that have been abondoned that may have once been useful.

    I was a horrible record-keeper previously - but as I mentioned in my previous comment, I'm working on that. All my junk is present and accounted for! πŸ™‚

  9. Hey, Great to see you here Alice! πŸ˜€

    It's really interesting to hear everyone's views on the topic, and it's motivating me to get more organized and prepared.

    I have no idea who would take care of my children if I were not here to do that, much less handle the business end of things... and that's something I need to give some serious thought to.

  10. Lynn,

    I just had to point out this limited-time offer- it looks like it's just what we need! From a respected marketer, and $5, let's go for it, and get organized: http://www.warriorforum.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=82494

  11. Great - Thanks Ellen!

    FYI - All of the proceeds from this product go to Scharlene and Scott, the ones mentioned in my post above.

    Thanks again for posting the link here πŸ˜‰

  12. Ok, I keep coming back to this post.

    Lynn, I bought the report- good, organized info in there.

    Now, will you hold me accountable, in, say- a month- to check that I actually DID all the stuff advised??

  13. I downloaded it as well, and look forward to digging in. I really liked the idea of contributing to Scott & Scharlene's situation. Smart thinking all the way around on Dr Mani's part!

    And yes - I'll check back in with you. We can be 'accountability partners' πŸ˜‰ It will encourage me to get on top of it all too!

    ~ Lynn

  14. I have always wondered what would happen to my site in the event of my sudden death. Would my friend take it over and keep going? Or would it just rot away over time?

    It's nice to know that other people think of these kinds of things as well.

  15. I know what you mean, Toad - "we're not alone out there"!

    Cool blog, by the way! I'm off to bed, but leaving it open to check out first thing in the morning. Glad you stopped by & joined in!

    -Lynn

  16. I think the underlying solution is to think as an institution would, rather than as an individual would. In some sense you have to institutionalize yourself to some degree to ensure continuity in case of disability or death, much like any corporation.

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