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joined:Apr 13, 2002
Search engines help trash business models...
[edited by: martinibuster at 10:29 pm (utc) on Sep 14, 2016]
joined:Dec 10, 2005
Today one could (and should) begin by providing a solid benefit for users, creating a destination that does not depend on search traffic. Search dependent businesses are short term, like a surfer waiting for the next wave. Businesses that focus on becoming an independent destination have always been the way forward. You can't go wrong focusing on providing a benefit to users, creating something that is so useful that they can't wait to tell their friends and family about it.
Those business models were the unintended consequence of search engines. One could say the search engines begat directories but that's going too far. Marketers begat directories in order to benefit from search engines.To some extent, directories came before search engines in the evolution of the web. They had a kind of happy time from the early 1990s to 1997. The .com/net/org registries started to charge for registrations in 1995 and it was a two year registration period. This meant that a site had a nominal maximum life of two years from the registration date. However it wasn't until one year registrations were introduced that sites/domains had a nominal life of one year. The dotBomb clear out of a lot of sites and businesses built on poor business models also removed sites from the web. But this site removal was the real reason that search engines overtook directories. Directories had to manually check that links still existed or were the same sites. Search engines did that automatically in each crawl. Linkrot hit most directories before their operators even realised what was happening. In 2004, the renewal rate for a one year registrations in .COM was around 75%. Most .com domain names registered for initially for a year would be renewed. By 2015, that renewal rate had dropped, according to Verisign, to 50%. That means that out of .com domains registered on this day last year, approximately half of them will not be renewed. That means that sites built on those domains will also disappear. The .COM web has become a lot more fluid that it was and while search engines have some chance of keeping up with these drops, the directories that still exist may find it near to impossible.
Directories were in the business of selling links to SEOs, not in providing a useful service to site visitors. It was the shortsighted focus by some directory publishers that doomed their business model.Well this wasn't a viable long-term business plan and Google tried to kill as many directories as possible. The Dmoz backfill was an easy way to hit many of them as to Google's inelegant algorithm/kludgefest they were effectively massive duplicate content sites.