What’s the first thing that comes up when you type in “Vape Shop” on Google?
“Vaping.com”, “Element Vape”, “Direct Vapor”, “Eight Vape”, “Wikipedia”, “Vapeshop.co.za”, “VapeDNA”, “vapestore.co.uk”, “misthub”.
These are the top 10 entries.
They sell vapes, they sell e-liquids, they sell accessories and they sell ad space.
What these websites do is that they sell an experience, and they sell means to perpetuate the experience. An experience that we call vaping.
Vaping has become synonymous with smoking in the digital age. I probably just exposed my age by referring to our reality as the “digital age” but you can probably tell that this is a flow of consciousness piece.
It’s nearly 1 AM where I am and I’m sitting in a dimly lit room writing about, researching and comparing different online vape stores. The reason why I’m doing it is not important.
But the conclusion I’ve come to is that there aren’t any stand out online vape stores on the front page of Google. So how did they end up there?
Traffic is probably a main contributor. I didn’t have it in me to look them up on similarweb,com or another domain that tracks the performance of online vape stores, but the pages that rank high on Google usually get a decent amount of traffic. Unless they are the only players in a very narrow field. That’s not the case here because Google pulled up over 136 million results in less than a second when I entered the search terms “vape store” on my search bar.
These websites have also done a decent job of piling on relevant keywords in a way that appeals to the natural language recognition feature that Google crawlers that they now have. Meaning they actually look like they are what they claim to be, unlike some websites that end up ranking for completely irrelevant keywords.
But if we take at these 10 terms that populate the front page, which means that approximately 90% of the people who actually see this page will see only these 10 terms when they search for the term “vape shops” in their mental rolodex (I’m dating myself again because I’d bet a patch of my hair that the majority of you had to Google that term if you really wanted to know what that meant), they are nothing special.
What I mean is that none of their actual names or the content that are nested below their domain names do anything to make them stand out from the rest.
The only name that is even slightly creative is misthub, and that’s because it calls to mind another notoriously popular on the net for reasons that shall not be named here.
And misthub is actually at the bottom of this page.
So what does that mean for us? It means that we see what the machine and algorithms want us to see, which is what they believe covers the most ground for the lowest common denominator.
We don’t get what we want anymore, we just get what they think is best. And they really don’t know what’s best, because nothing really matters to them. They don’t vape, they don’t shop in vape stores and they don’t understand what it really means to vape.
FLOW is not an online vape shop. It's a club. A club for discerning clientele who wants to enjoy vaping without the pain of having to deal with people who've made a distraction the central tenet of their identity. We love vaping but we also love life. Vaping isn't life. There's more to life. Get what you need here and get on with your life. Trust us because we trust you to know the difference.