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And that is this:
Paying a search engine on a per click basis isn't PFI. It's PFT. (pay for traffic).
I don't think there would be any consumer rebellion to true PFI programs. I pay you a flat fee, and in exchange you crawl my site on a regular, scheduled basis. There is absolutely no conflict of interest there.
But paying on a per click business is a whole different thing. There is no way most xml based content can compete for rankings in a natural algorithm that utilizes any king of link analysis. In order for the search engine to make money, they must fudge things so that the ppc content shows up where it will get clicked.
That creates a huge conflict. And it completely destroys a search engine's ability to compete in any type of integrity war. Neither webmasters nor the general public are stupid enough to believe that ppc content is treated exactly the same.
In Yahoo's case, I think they will ultimately come to realize that their decision to try and combine PFI and PFT into a single product was extremely stupid. Their competitors will continue to bash them to the media, and the media will continue to do a crappy job explaining to the masses the differences between true PFI and PFT.
The end result will be that Yahoo will have to scrap both in order to save face. If they wouldn't have been so short sided in there thinking and simply released SiteMatch as a true PFI program, I don't think we would even be having this conversation.
Overture never really built a PFI program - they purchased both AltaVista and Fast, which both had PFI and XML based products.
Yahoo! purchased Inktomi, which also had a PFI and XML product.
Yahoo! bought Overture, before Overture had a chance to publically release any changes to the Fast / AltaVista program.
All three programs were combined into a single crawler technology - Yahoo! Search Technology - with the all three PFI programs rolled into Overture Site Match. All three XML programs were combined to form Overture Site Match Xchange.
Yahoo been a bit like teflon these past 2 years, unlike looksmart. I dont think anything they do is with stupidity in mind, more can we get away with this and for how long can we clean up before there is terminal fallout.
I sure hope Yahoo! is listening.
PFI & PFT together just don't make sense to me. I'm all for PFI and PFT separately. Let me pay to get crawled regularly and then put my pages in the order of relevance. That's fair. But to keep me out of the SERPS because I won't PFT...That's keeping alot of potentially good pages out of the SERPS and ultimately that's bad for users.
It sure is, and in that way it's also keeping a lot of spendable cash out of circulating in the net economy long term by excluding a large portion of webmasters from participating and competing on any kind of meaningful level when they're starting out. Or even many who are established but have more potential than they're currently achieving for their sites.
The old Inktomi PFI was one of the best things that ever happened to the small business person. Ir was even better for some when it still included AOL, for those whose demographic is served by that market.
Everything else takes so long that the INK PFI gave the really small guys a jumpstart to begin getting some traffic and a bit of revenue in an attainable way, especially those who couldn't afford a full service SEO program for their sites. And once that bit of traffic started to roll in it made it easier for them to move into PPC, even in a small way if that's all they could do.
The two worked in a type of harmony when separate, and each has definite, very tangible value when they're independent programs.