A site could be made that efficiently lets one group of users provide what they want and allows the other group of users to get what they want.
The top site in the area does the first in a watered down way (users provide less than optimal data because allowing the data most useful to the second group would seriously reduce the size of the first group of users because most dont have data of sufficient interest to the second group [sort of like all those unsold listings on auction sites].) and allows the other group of users to get that less than optimal data. However, it also provides plenty of additional information that the supplying group may find interesting, if they are not busy.
I doubt whether I can argue with their success. They dominate the field.
Their revenue model is to give away most of their service and charge some of the data suppliers for a premium package that has one or two mildly beneficial additional features (mainly involving probably more effective ways of getting their particular data to the other group - such as premium listings on auction sites), and adsense, and other banner advertising.
It seems to me that they have much fluff and sizzle to go with their hamburger.
Any experience with sites that simply offer steak?
I guess the revenue model could be the same as the competitors, although my guess is the adsense profit would be less due to not offering all the pages of fluff and sizzle related content (such as info they can get elsewhere, and related news from the sector).
Do we measure usability by what the users want, and so we should provide them with it, even though they don't really need it to accomplish the site's purpose?
What do you folks think?
[edited by: 4thePegeh at 8:27 pm (utc) on April 4, 2008]