Interesting to see some of those postings about information site against corporate or business sites.
I am running a website for the past 18 months and we developed it from nothing to around 450,000 visitors per month.
It is purely an information site, based on content in 8 foreign languages with English as the default and we have around 4 million pages of good content of which around 150-200,000 are in the Google index.
I don't use SEO's at all and never follow those guidelines. My guideline is good content will always be on top of most google results.
I only follow searches performed by my users and many of the searches are very well targeted and those users book hotel rooms from us, buy products from Amazon (we have 2 xml feeds via AWS and we make some money out of that).
Visitors will always appreciate the content we give to them and support our site by buying products from our partner sites. (We don't sell anything ourself but take a cut from affiliates with sometimes on our own terms).
We also have adsense and make some money too out of it thanks to a large number of university students from some of the best universities around the world.
Without content we still would be somewhere around "Chasing the Dragon" as it is known in Asia and I would need a second job to support my wife and daughters). We update our sites daily and use were possible no database server. Since we have around 150,000 pages in Japanese, we have a very large number of Japanese users and as well Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai users.
The internet is a global medium and English content is slowly decreasing against 4bit foreign languages.
We also have a large number of loyal users from the Middle East including the Gulf States and even countries like Iran as we also serve Arabic pages.
We do not manipulate data as some large portals would do on terms of self-censorship and on our site users come to visit to conduct research and find information that some other sites would not publish because of business interest.
Google is a good way to give us access to the userbase. Altavista and Teoma are also giving us access to the users. Inktomi and Alltheweb removed us from their index because they don't want to list thousands of links. msn indexed 1.2 million pages and I am sure 50-100,000 pages will be taken in their SE launch.
On my sites the users are always my revenue source and what amazed me sometimes is how easy they really execute purchases.
We have now also a loyal base of French, German, Dutch and Spanish users as we make this content available in their native language and revenue is coming as well in from those users.
Content and information will win or the corporate players have to diversify more in the content and information field if they want to stay around.
I have build in the past 9 years around 40 websites of which 30 were small to very large accounts.
Mostly are dead or just don't generate the traffic it needs to execute an order. Some of those sites generate 100 visitors a day which means if they are lucky they get one visitor that places an inquire or an order. When I make a search on google for a product I click many times on an Adsense to get what I want. When I look for researching some complex phrases I mostly get what I search for at Google, Temoa or Altavista.
The users will always rule the web and they want information and not corporate stuff.
A real estate agent somewhere in the States could build an information portal all around their county and list them exclusive for all real estate business in their county. They could clean up and rule their own market if they run an information portal.
If you feed the internet user with good content they will come and rent or buy a flat from your site.