londrum - 8:07 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: londrum at 8:26 pm (utc) on Jun 2, 2010]
its all very well you saying that MadScientist, but the reality is that a very large chunk of people have no choice in the matter -- we have to rely on google.
if google continues to control the vast majority of search traffic (and theres no sign of that changing any time soon) then we have to build a site which google likes. which means a big chunk of our traffic will likely come from them. and any business is going to hurt if that traffic is suddenly taken away.
search engines are just the equivalent of walk-by traffic on the high street. shops get free traffic when people stroll past their window. to say they shouldn't base their business around it is nuts. of course they should -- it's free!
its the same business model as every TV station too. they makes good content (programmes) just like we do with our websites, and they rely on people watching it to up the cost of their ads. the people watching it is "free traffic". if they stop watching, then their business goes down the pan. and if people stop coming to our sites, then our business goes down the pan too.
the problem for us, is that, unlike TV, someone actually controls which channel gets watched, they control where the free traffic goes. TV programmes are reported all over the place in hundreds of papers and magazines, and no one publisher can turn around and wipe a channel from the listings. (if they did, then people would just stop buying that TV listing magazine. because what the point of a TV listing magazine if it leaves ou half the programmes?) but with websites, they all get reported in the same place -- google. plus a couple of other nobodies. so when google decides to "wipe our programmes from the listings" how do people find us?
the problem isnt with webmasters building their sites around free traffic. that is a perfectly normal thing to do. the problem is with one company having a monopoly on which websites to list.
[edited by: londrum at 8:26 pm (utc) on Jun 2, 2010]