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The dark side of the Internet

Porn has company at the bottom of the e-business food chain - self help.

Guess what Google search gets more results than the 20.7 million for "pornography?"

"Self help" yields 31.8 million results. Porn has company at the bottom of the e-business food chain.

There are a number of things about the self help industry that bother me.

First, the term doesn't even make sense. If you're buying any of the garbage marketed as "self help," then by definition you're not helping yourself. Maybe that's just a semantic point, but I've got bigger issues than that.

It's depressing how desperate we are for quick fixes. Here we are, the most civilized culture in history, and we really believe the answers to life's complex problems can be found by reading a book, swallowing a pill, or talking to a psychic.

What really gets to me is that our sophisticated IT infrastructure is apparently used by millions of unethical people and criminals to rip off those in need of help. Not to mention all the money-making, hair growing, pill popping spam and phishing schemes that bottleneck our networks and fill our inboxes.

Granted, some self help resources are legitimate, but I'm guessing they're in the extreme minority.

Yes, I know, we live in a free society. The criminals are protected by free speech. And I'm certainly not an advocate of censoring the Web.

Nevertheless, it's hard to believe that the Internet - this great technological achievement - is destined to be the biggest marketing and business cesspool in history. I guess everything good has a dark side.