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Summary of letter to keep the management happy:
...we have been exploring new submission options. The simplest is PartnerSite, which is currently in beta. This offers inclusion and 24hr fresh for 1 to 500 pages with various price breaks. Inclusion in here is guaranteed...
...content owners want to include their entire inventory in the index and then do a CPC deal where they pay when their content is clicked on. We power about 75% of all European internet search traffic and about 30% of US, so it's a potentially huge and valuable audience...
This is what I was afraid of. I was sent this yesterday, after sending two mails of complaint over a month ago. I remember receiving this sort of mail when Yahoo first brought out their Express programme. Now this from Fast. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is the beginning of the end of Fast. Sorry, but it is going the way of every other paid search-engine. When will they learn?
the vast majority of businesses choose to do what the majority do, rather than look for what is proving successful?
I guess my question would be what is it that has proved successful? Everyone always tries to use Google as an example of the business model that works, but no one can ever come up with any numbers to back those claims up. All you ever hear are vague comments about "being profitable." And those comments are only based on a couple of quarters.
Until Google goes public, and is forced to disclose their finacials like all the other search engines must do, I'd say the jury is still out when it comes to picking a business model that will work for a search engine company over the long haul.
The bottom line is the only thing of true value any search engine has is their SERPS. The idea of charging for spidering for either Google or Fast doesn't work because both Engines built their reputations on their incredible ability to crawl and update their databases quickly. In order to sell an inclusion service, you have to stop crawling the web.
CPC is a whole different ball game. It is always presented as an inclusion program, but it is not. It is a disguised payment-for-placement plan, and as much as all of us don't like it, in the long run, it probably will be the model that does prove successful, because it offers the best of both worlds.
The listings show up in the traditional SERPS, and they don't have to be labeled as advertising.
Imagening large stores like amazon, ebay and others getting indexed with every single item could pollute Fast Serps to the point of uselessness.
Would it still be considered pollution if Fast stays pure and ethical and instead Amazon and eBay hire us to get their products listed? I know if either of those two companies were on my client list, that pollution would look much more like "quality content." :)
All of our opinions about these kind of developments being bad or spelling the end of a search engine don't have anything to do with an end user perspective. It's really about us being upset with the fact that our business models are so dependent on their business models not changing. We are a parasitic industry.
In the big picture, I hope that Fast's new programs are successful and they experience incredible growth. If they do, other engines will follow, and we can get back to a point where their are multiple sources of quality traffic on the web. If getting there means my job description changes, so be it.