Fast was proud of the fact that they were a free engine, then all of a sudden they changed plan. Now we are seeing signs of a minor, VERY minor, update, yet nothing dramatic. I remember it was only a few months ago when Fast updated twice weekly! Now nothing for almost three (3) months!!! It boils down to the following question...Has Fast got problems? Financially speaking.
It is unlikely that anyone here will know, but so far the Fast database is acting the same as Altavista's did not too long ago; everything has stopped.
Will we suddenly see a massive price-tag on Fast's website? If so, will this spell the end of Fast?
The everyday user doesn't know anything about Fast, let's face it. But they do know how to spot old or bad results. Now if they see this on Lycos, Lycos is going to have to change tactics and look elsewhere for its results.
From what I can tell the company is in a fairly good shape. Given the rough waters Internet companies had to sail last year in fact Fast did very well.
Revenues have been increased significantly, both from business search solutions and from websearch, with major deals in both sections, while costs have been cut.
I'd attribute the delays in update cycles and in the final introduction of their PFI programme to technical problems. Lots of new features have been added, the spider technology has been renewed. This happened in November / December - and that's when the update cycles started slowing down.
I signed up for the PFI beta on January 8, choosing the 500 pages for $299/month option. I think it took about 5 to 7 days for the pages to show up in alltheweb.com.
I doubt if I'll be renewing when the beta is over, though--I'm getting hardly any referrals. Google and AskJeeves send me hundreds of referrals each day (each), but I've been getting only 1-3 from alltheweb and 2-3 from Lycos since I signed up for the Fast PFI beta.