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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What Do Google and Corn Syrup Have in Common?

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You may think I've lost my marbles, but I found a few similarities between pricing corn and ranking websites.

I reached this conclusion after I watched King Corn on Netflix. The 90-minute documentary follows two best friends, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, who move to Iowa, grow their own crop of corn and follow its path into the food system.

With an acre's worth of fertilized field, Cheney and Ellis learn the tips and tricks from friendly locals, watch the crop grow, and lose about $20 bucks when all the overhead cost are factored in on payday. Ultimately, they learn why independent farmers rely on billions in government subsidies every year- corn's value is determined by different factors and market demands than it was when many farmers started growing the product a few decades ago.

The same logic can be applied to most websites today, because developers (growers) must be in touch with the demands of the market. Obviously, that principle applies to any business in a free economy, but when you look at the specific factors in the marketing shift in corn and websites,  you'll be surprised by the parallels.


  • Was touted for its incredible value to agriculture.
  • Supply increased for the anticipated spike in demand.
  • Quantity became more important than quality.(92 million acres planted and 13.1 bushels were harvested in 07.)
  • cattle farmers and food companies found a new value. (Cheaper feed and cheaper sweetener.)
  • Corn-fed beef became the standard in American restaurants and stores. (More than half of all the U.S. corn harvest went to animal feed)
  • High fructose corn syrup became the most popular form of food and drink. sweetener.(the U.S.D.A estimated that Americans consume 79 pounds of corn sweetener per year.

Result: Corn's role in agriculture was drastically changed. Flavor and quantity outweighed nutritional value.


  • Were touted for their incredible value to business.
  • Supply increased for the anticipated spike in demand.
  • Quantity became more important than quality.
  • Search engines like Yahoo and Google found a new value.
  • Google search result rankings became the new standard.

Result: Page rankings and traffic became top priorities for developers.

By Matt O'Hern at 11:54 AM | Comments (2)

(2) Thoughts on What Do Google and Corn Syrup Have in Common?

You are right.

Comments by Google Payday : Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 10:37 PM

All I know is "of course the submarines collided. It was mating season. If you don't believe me go look it up on google.corn."

Note how corn looks like com.

I also let's the reader know I'm being corny.

Comments by jidanni : Monday, February 23, 2009 at 09:19 PM

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