Big Tech Hates The Open Web

The title is exactly what it says: Big Tech (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etc.) hate the open web. Why would they hate the open web? Because they now own properties that conflict with the open web. If you’re looking for information on a topic, they’ll show you Wikipedia, YouTube, or some other major website than, say, my blog.

This is a trend that has been happening since at least 2010. Unless you’re searching for something explicitly niche, like a nightfox that likes tech, you won’t find my blog. Hell, you won’t even find my small business. And even if you do manage to find a niche, you have to beat out larger sites that happen to have those niche keywords.

For example, over at NodeSpace Hosting, we’ve been doing a lot of Proxmox hosting. It’s become our thing. No other hosting provider in the US supports Proxmox the way we do. They provide some basic tutorials, some blog posts, but that’s about it. They don’t provide managed Proxmox hosting, they don’t simply pre-install and configure it for you, none of that. You’d think with that, we’d rank for “Proxmox hosting” but oh boy would the results surprise you!

Over on DuckDuckGo, we don’t appear in the results. No surprise as DuckDuckGo uses the Bing search engine.

In this horribly captured screenshot of Bing (because for some reason Bing blocks Firefox’s screenshot utility), we also don’t show up.

Meanwhile on Google, we do rank but we come in at #9 (not counting the sponsored results). Google results seem to vary the most. The other week when I checked, our new learn documentation for Proxmox was ranking higher than our sales page (which I don’t even think ranked). In fact, it was ranking so high, we had to add links to our Proxmox sales page because we realized it didn’t even have any links to it.

So who is ranking higher than us?

Proxmox – This is a “duh”. It is their product after all. I would be highly concerned if they weren’t #1.

Reddit – This is one of those Big Tech Bullshit placements. Reddit ranks high for some reason even though most of the results are private in protest and it’s mostly homelab stuff – not actual Proxmox in a data center hosting related discussions.

RippleWeb – They’re probably our largest competitor for these keywords. But I’ll be honest if I didn’t say I was skeptical because they still link to their Google+ profile and that hasn’t been a thing since April 2019. I think we even stopped linking to our Google+ profile in 2018 when the shutdown was announced. If you’re linking to a defunct website 4 years after it stopped existing, I’m not sure how well your business is doing. It might actually not even be growing. I could be wrong, and if it is, hey, good for them!

Hivelocity – More specifically, just a blog post about if Proxmox is right for you. Here’s the kicker. At one point, Hivelocity did offer the same type of Proxmox hosting we offer, just to a slightly lesser extent. For whatever reason, they discontinued it and their blog post leads you to some dead-end 404 product pages. I’m guessing they didn’t see the success like we have when it comes to Proxmox.

ProxCP – This is a control panel software for Proxmox. It was great, but it is a dead project. We owned a license for a while but it hasn’t been updated in years. I think it supports Proxmox VE 8, but no idea. Either way, this shouldn’t rank for “proxmox hosting”.

Hostbill – This is a control panel/billing software. We have a license. We were going to use it. We may end up using it in the future, but there’s a lot of work we’d need to do to switch to it. Again, it shouldn’t rank for “proxmox hosting”.

Inmotion Hosting – Like Hivelocity, it’s just a blog post telling you how you can turn your dedicated server into a virtual host with Proxmox VE. To my knowledge, Inmotion has never even offered any sort of Proxmox hosting. They just rank because they’re larger than us.

Wikipedia – Yep, the article about Proxmox VE ranks higher than us. ????

PhoenixNAP – Again like Hivelocity and Inmotion, it’s only a blog post about how to install Proxmox VE on a dedicated server. PhoenixNAP, to my knowledge, doesn’t offer and has never offered any sort of Proxmox hosting. They rank because they’re larger than us. – I’m guessing this is a homelab blog given the domain, but given that they have a “sponsors” link, it’s not just a homelab blog. It’s for making money. It’s commercial. So again, I’m guessing it’s a larger site than ours so it ends up ranking higher for some reason even though it has nothing to do with hosting. Just putting Proxmox in the homelab.

So why do we rank so low?

Well it definitely appears that big tech hates the open web. They hate personal blogs like this one – which I have never seen rank. They hate small businesses who cannot afford to give them thousands of dollars per month in ad revenue. They only like other larger companies, primarily, and their own stuff. DuckDuckGo is the exception as they have the Bing API and can manipulate the results just ever so slightly but it’s still Microsoft curating the results.

And it’s like this for everything. If you try to search for something, unless it’s exceptionally niche, you will not find personal blogs, forums, or anything that isn’t Reddit, twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or a big business that posted within the last 4 years randomly about that subject.

And it’s because of this people keep getting pushed to services like reddit. When you’re searching for something and a bunch of reddit threads rank over and independent forum, you’re going to be more likely to sign up for reddit… and then stay there. Because reddit has everything – subreddits about cars, homes, how to code, website design, content creation, AI, being a new parent, being a parent to toddlers, being a parent to teenagers, career-oriented, and even to the darker stuff like true crime, alcohol, drugs, porn, and piracy (all kinds). Why go anywhere else?

Big Tech Keeps The Rich Rich

Ever wonder why they rank higher? Because like all other aspects of capitalism, the system is designed to only benefit those in “The Club”. You’re not in it. I’m not in it. Big Tech loves to tout “Net Neutrality” but the truth is, it doesn’t exist anymore. Back in the day, it absolutely did. Today, it doesn’t. If you don’t have a $1 million marketing budget, you’re going to struggle.

People settle for shit service or shit marketing and are like ???? meh. It doesn’t matter how I market my services, people still choose HostGator or GoDaddy.

Big Tech keeps their buddies rich. Why? They’re all in “The Club”.

Why do you think you only hear about a new service if someone in “The Club” is associated with it? Like Jack Dorsey was somehow associated with BlueSky and that was destined to be the next Twitter. Zuck launches Threads and despite lacking even basic features like hashtags, that becomes the next Twitter.

It’s just so frustrating that no one cares. Most people would rather have big tech run their online life.

Enjoy Enshitification

If you love what Big Tech is doing, enjoy enshitification! If you’re tired of it, push back against Big Tech!

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