I was trying to explain the process of creating back links to a mentoring student and we started joking about Farmville…getting back links can seem a little like the daily task of planting your crops…

Then I thought about it more.

It’s EXACTLY like these games.

World of Warcraft gamers talk about ‘grinding” getting to the next level – Grinding is the righteous task of gaining experience points by slaying Turnip Orcs (stay with me people – there’s a point – I promise!)

In Farmville you do this by planting crops and fertalising other peoples crops (I visulise delivering the “Natural” fertiliser that my diety of choice choose to allow me to deliver when I defica….I mean fertilise my “friends” crops – but I digress).

In our “Game” we do this by getting back links…

It gets better( or worse depending on your world view!)

In Farmville and World of Warcraft there are optimized ways to level up – certain monsters that give you higher experience points for the kill and certain crops and tools that allow you to grow faster and do less to get more farmville bucks.

In “SEO World” links from higher authority sites are worth more than sites that are new and have not proved their worth with google.

Essentially leveling up in Farmville or World of Warcraft is a function of time spent playing the game DOING stuff.
Funnily enough – it’s the same in Internet Marketing (and life for that matter) – the more time you spend actively link building and becoming a market leader – the more success you will have.

Of course, heaps of people playing farmville don’t get anywhere. They’re not tending the crops – doing the grunt work required to grow the farm – nope they are making the farm looks “pretty” which is cool I suppose BUT they are not leveling up – they get sick of the game and eventually leave.

In “Marketingville” – you spend time learning about stuff, checking stats, attending webinars, social networking and generally putting hours in front of the computer. But unless you are ACTIVELY planting crops – you are not going to “level up”!

Translation – not actively creating back links (or great content to attract back links) means you are not going to get number 1 on google fro the phrases that matter to you and your market. ( In WOW (That’s how the ool kids refer to World Of Warcraft) being ranked Number 1 in Google is like the equivalent of a 70th level Tuscan Raider Vulcan Mind Melder…or something)

The parallels are pretty funny and extraordinary when you think about it – but I’m interested in something deeper.

On any given day – 35 million people are tending their farms on Farmville (almost double the population of Australia)

In World of Warcraft – 11.5 million log in every month and PAY for the privilege of grinding out level after level.

Side Note – I know you can pay someone in a high tech sweatshop to level up your character in a few days, or you can throw money at zygna to “fast track” your farm… but like lotto winners coming into massive money – they’re almost always worse off in the end – They may have a farm to rival The Coggan family from Meandarra on Queensland’s Darling Downs( the largest wheat farm in the world) but you don’t know how to work it, to build and run a “MEGA Farm”. You haven’t got the fundemental skills grinding out the farm would bring ( a bit like auto follower Twitter built numbers – you might feel like the big cheese but they are essentially worthless)

It’s even worse in World of Warcraft – go on an elite level raid with your auto generated pumped up paladin and you’re going to get your ass handed to you on a platter)

BUT

Millions play these two games every day – why don’t millions play “Marketingville” where the rewards for leveling up and grinding are actual cash – REAL MONEY not gold or farm bucks???

What’s different, what makes one form of grinding a game loved by millions and one seem like dreary work?

I have some ideas on this…but I would LOVE to know what you think….

Let us know in the comments – and if you enjoyed the article I’d love you to share it round on Twitter and any other network you’re hooked up in.

(and if you play “we rule” the farmville equivalent on the iPad become my friend – Search for tedlegend …… WHAT!!!!)


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