superclown2 - 11:38 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
I am reading a lot of pessimism on this thread and others. Can we get it into proportion?
Let's say someone goes into retail, selling widgets from a High Street shop. There are tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay out for stock, fittings, lease of the property, rates and the host of other expenses that just 'happen'. Staff have to be paid, the shop has to be heated and lit, stolen stock replaced and slow selling lines sold off cheaply. Then either widgets go out of fashion, they become available much more cheaply on the web or a widget superstore opens nearby and takes all the business.
Let us now imagine that this person gets a hosting package for an unlimited number of domains for 100 pounds a year (and that's top end). A domain name costs say 10 pounds a year tops and good graphical elements which can be transformed in Photoshop cost just a few dollars each. For about 10 pounds a website can be online and bearing in mind the hosting costs it only needs to make more than about 20 pounds a year to be profitable. So this person sits down and works hard producing site after site, writing the copy and designing the graphics him - or her - self. Some sites may produce zilch but by the law of averages, some others will blossom.
So how is this such a bad business to be in? I dunno about you but I've been in business for around half a century and I've both watched and been involved in many ventures that have soared up the heights, enjoyed their allotted span and then faded or even crashed as something new has caught the public's attention or competition has risen to the detriment of profitability. However, until Internet marketing came along I have never seen any business in which entry costs have been so low, where flexibility in choice of products or services to promote was so vast or where working conditions (you can't beat your own armchair at home) were so comfortable.
Some of us remember the pre-Google days when GoTo charged megabucks for clicks, Looksmart charged less for clicks but produced negligible conversions, Yahoo charged 295 US dollars to even consider listing a site with no refund if it decided against it. Do you know how easy life is now in comparison?
This is a business we are in. It needs investment, there needs to be provisions made for bad times, but nowhere near as much as in traditional businesses. Sure a change by Google can wipe our a website but other businesses get wiped out too by factors beyond their control. And if a site is wiped out, so what? What about the other ten, hundred, thousand other websites that the business owns? When one falls, another rises.
Yes by all means develop other marketing methods that don't rely on Google, that is sensible. However for the majority of us there is still a lot of mileage left in this 'free' business and those who ignore this fact may suffer for it.