A few years ago on the show LOST, some guys stranded on an island climbed down a long ladder into an underground hatch where somebody convinced them to push a button every 108 minutes.

And they did. Even though they didn't really know if it did anything.

Somewhere else on the island was station where people watched the guys in the hatch on video (or at least used to -- those people are gone now) and filed reports on them. The reports got sucked through a pneumatic tube...

...and dumped on the ground in a big pile that nobody ever read.

I don't remember whether the point of it all was ever really explained. My impression is that somebody else was watching the watchers and the guys in the hatch, all as part of a big experiment to see how long people would continue a meaningless task if somebody told them it was important.

...except that later, it turned out that pushing the button really did do something important. Why they didn't just automate it completely, we'll never know.

Anyway, the whole system sounds a lot like internet marketing to me. Did you push the internet marketing Easy Button today? Be careful. It may not be doing what you think it does.

Daniel Levis, who used to write for the Makepeace Total Package, posted this on Michel Fortin's blog:

Myth #1:
Push Button, Make Money

From what I can tell, most newbies approach online business with the exact same mindset they bring to their jobs. They give no thought to the purposes of their labor, save a paycheck at the end of the week.


Multi-level schemes ... auto-blogging ... PPC arbitrage ... software that automates some almost-useless function to such a degree that it squirts a little money ... the exploitation of temporary loopholes that allow you to inject yourself into somebody else's value chain, but without bringing anything useful to the equation.

... Just give me some mindless activity "” I don't want to know the motivations or interests of anybody else "” the less thinking I have to put into this the better.

When you click some guru's Easy Button, what does it do? Heck, for all you know, there may be some outsourced third-world worker who spanks a baby whale every time the button gets clicked, while the guru watches and laughs -- and occasionally sends a little of your $47 back to you to keep you clicking.

Seriously though, you've got to think about what value you're adding to the world. If you're not adding any -- if you're just skimming a little off the top of somebody else's value chain -- then you're contributing to the decline of the world economy. You're consuming resources without helping to create any.

If your Easy Button spits out junky webpages with AdSense ads on them, you're just leaching off of Google's value chain. Consuming their resources. Wasting people's time. Adding nothing.

If your Easy Button follows thousands of people on Twitter and spams those who follow you back with affiliate promotions, you're just leaching off of Twitter's value chain. Consuming their resources. Wasting people's time. Adding nothing.

If your Easy Button publishes affiliate reviews of products you've never used, swiped from the sales page or somebody else's review, you're just leaching off of ClickBank's value chain. Possibly stealing someone else's resources. Wasting people's time. Adding nothing.

You may as well be spanking baby whales.