Recently, I went looking for do-it-yourself small wind power kits — I’ve got a farm in Nova Scotia wind country — and wandered into energy4earth-land. I wandered in this labarynthine wonderland for about 45 minutes, watching how saturation Web marketing works.
The product “energy4earth” sells is a $40 book that purports to teach you all you need to know to build your own wind power generator, for under $200, and “save 80%” of a household’s electricity. No studies cited, no real data, but plenty of purported glowing email testimonials.
Is it real? I think it may be impossible to find out.
The power behind this SEO juggernaut may be too great for Google to filter: intense, conscious saturation via what seems to be hundreds of postings in social networking venues large and small. General Web searches seem to endlessly lead to energy4earth. Using Google to search blogspace ends up with endless pages of mostly different chunks of text — clearly written by a person — all with the goal of extolling the product, and pushing people to a sales site. At least dozens of sites, like home-energy-freedom.com or HomeEnergyReviews.com, are just more ads for the product.
A search for “energy4earth scam” results in an “article” that purports to start off “exposing” earth4energy, and then becomes convinced (without any specific information beyond repeating the boilerplate text) that energy4earth is the answer. They own “earth4energyscam.org,” which has the “Ripoff Report” which is equally “swayed.” Answers.yahoo.com seems to have a “discussion” about it, concluding that the publication does indeed “work.”
A search for “energy4earth review” brings back links to endless user-generated-content startups out there, all with some variant of the same general content, general tone, general panagyrics:
“There are now online manuals available that show you exactly how to create your own electricity. All the things you need to do this can be bought at your local hardware store. As you can imagine, the popularity of these do-it-yourself manuals has skyrocketed in the last couple of months. For example, the most popular is called Energy4Earth. Its website currently gets nearly half a million visitors a month!”
Semi-faux press releases get into Google News. There’s nothing in Wikipedia for “energy4earth.”
All ads, of course, aim people at different variants of the above — but they also include “Don’t Buy ‘Earth4Energy’ — as an ad – which link to yet another promotion on how you can “save 80%” with the book.
And so I can’t find any real information, any review, any objective perspective on their package, from the place I go to for opinion and facts: the Web.
Because of an immense amount of work by the “energy4earth guys,” whoever they are. Actually, they’re *also* the “earth4energy guys”… all of the above seems true regardless of the order of the title — energy4earth, or earth4energy.
What amazes me is what *industry* it took to build all those minipages — and how it manages to overtop any legitimate, objective information, as judged by Google’s algorithms. Near as I can tell, this stuff was humanly generated, not algorithmically produced. They also mostly drown out searches for “small wind power” and its ilk, precluding, in some respects, the dissemination of do-it-yourself small scale wind power systems.
It took me a long time to finally find http://www.instructables.com/id/Chispito-Wind-Generator/ — a real open access article, whose text, if I read it right, has been copied and pasted in various blogs as a sort of proof-of-legitimacy (without attribution)… another very interesting article on DIY wind energy: http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/index.html — a real human talking about an under-$200 (or perhaps under-$400, depending on your DIY capability) system for the homemade production of a substantial amount of a house’s energy needs….
Seems to me that there’s surely an opportunity for an investigative piece in here, and if I was living a different life, I’d do it: “Three Man Shop Beats Google,” about the scrappy, tireless team that makes the “energy4earth,” and the DIY wind power universe, endlessly self-referential.
Of course, even if I wrote it, nobody would ever be able to find that article online — just like I think that “energy4earth” will be unable to find this post, and won’t buy (or otherwise abscond with) “diy wind energy” as a search term….