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If Google went pay-for-play?

     
11:39 am on Sep 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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How would you feel, and what would you do?
11:45 am on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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i would definitelly not like it but if there is one SE that i would pay to be included then it would be Google.

jon

11:54 am on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I think its inevitable and I don't think its that far away. As long as they don't go pay per click (which I really hate) ... I would consider paying to be listed. As my sites are already in their database, it would depend entirely upon the mixture of results they end up using.

I have excellent results on INK, so see no need to pay to be listed ... even if they never index my second tier pages, the results are very respectable. I suspect this is a result of my paid LookSmart listing.

Google is too important to me not to be at the top of the search results ... so I guess I would *grudgingly* pay if need be and then go cry in my beer at the loss of the last bastion of the FREE internet.

11:59 am on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Brett, what do you know that you are not telling us?

But, in answer to the question:

Depends on the cost and processing time.

If they offered 48 hour spidering for a reasonable charge I would be happy-ish (but not as happy as getting it for free, of course).

I guess what all SEO companies need is quick results.

It would also make the process of building quality link popularity a little easier, as those links that were on paid sites would factor in sooner.

Overall, I don't like the trend for paid inclusion but supply and demand rule the roost whether I like it or not.

12:00 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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i think either one time fee for inclusion, per page or per site would be reasonable ... with the proviso that the price is the same for all, so if its pay to include a page then all pages should cost the same, not with a massive discount for very heavy submitters.

the main criteria for small people i feel is a level playing field.
<childish moan>its unfair</moan> if big cooperates get different treatment due to their total spend as this would only lead to spamming.

12:03 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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All I know, is one-by-one, we have watched search engine after search engine turn to new forms of revenue. It just seems like a logical question to ask. I do not know of any plans for Google to do so - I've NOT heard any rumors to that effect - I'm just asking as a curious follower of the se's.
12:05 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>How would you feel

Betrayed. Then again there is "good" PFP and "bad" PFP.

>and what would you do?

Cursed with arrogance that I produce/promote/own some of the best sites on the WWW I would content myself with the fact that they will lose more than me.

>last bastion of the FREE internet

Nothing free about Google, they use the content that webmasters provide to attract advertisers/partners who pay $.

12:16 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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It would be a real pain, getting customers to pay for any listings is already a real pain - in fact getting them to pay for any SEO work is quite difficult.

You have to explain to them slowly and in in words of one syllable that their website is not worth anything if it doesn't appear in SERPS 1st page and so on ... I'm sure you've all been through it.

Effectively pay for play reduces our margins as SEOs, as ad budgets tend to be fixed.

It is once again a case of the big boys squeezing the little players out of the market, just like supermarkets ssqueezing out cornershops. (Which I suppose is good business for them and is only to be expected.)

What may happen is that a new free for inclusion engine will then take over from Google and its presence would tail off, this is what we have seen with the other engines as they go pay for play. Hence the dramatic rise of Google.

The SEOs will turn to Wisenut or its like and everyone will say that this engine is now producing clean unbiased listings and thus there will be another rise of a free submission engine.

Pay for play inevitably means lower quality listings (imho) and thus the drop off of the user base.

12:41 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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IanTurner,

I kind of agree with you, but somewhere there must be a compromise that keeps the playing field level and the SERPS spam free.

Maybe Google can find it, cos Inktomi sure as hell didn't:(

1:49 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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In my experience of navigating the internet since 1994, the best content has been created by amateurs, fans and certainly not by the marketing deparment of MegaCorp Inc. It would be a pity if all this knowledge was pushed below the horizon of 99% of internet surfers. Personally, I do not like exclusively pay-for-inclusion search engines because I miss out on so much of the fringes of the internet
2:24 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I don't think Google is that stupid. I think their recent attempt to index Usenet listings before 1995 shows that they are well aware of the importance of amateur internet. The only thing that separates them from the pitiful 'sponsored' competition is that they actually deliver results. I don't think they will do anything that would jeopardize their credibility as there is still strong competition from Wisenut and the like. They may and probably will go for pay-for-play but only for sites requiring frequent indexing.
2:36 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I dont expect it to happen, but if google went pay-to-play, I would definitely be paying if it was affordable.

Ove

2:48 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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(I dont expect it to happen, but if google went pay-to-play, I would definitely be paying if it was affordable)

google is the one i had to pay for

I agree with you ggrot

/Ove

3:02 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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If non-paying sites were penalised, I'd have no choice but to pay.
If paying sites were spidered more frequently I'd be glad to pay.
3:18 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Liane, it is inevitable. To be viable, major SE must adopt some inclusion fee on top of advertising.

I already recommend to all clients with an English version of the site to invest in Yahoo!, LookSmart and Inktomi. I probe competition on GoTo before talking about it. It costed one of my clients a little less than 20k in links prospection to get a decent position on Google for the keyword he wanted. They spent on Google advertising as some "probe" before making a decision.

If Google would ask 200$ or 300$ for inclusion of a new site for the regular crawling they do, I would not hesitate recommending this investment to my clients. It is fairly easy to make some rought evaluation of how many links we need to get and how this will cost. It up to my clients to decide what to do.

If Google could put some part of this extra income in marketing, I would be glad.

4:11 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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The problem with paying for listing is that it is likely to affect the relevancy of their SERP. And this is really the key success factor of Google. Any scheme they implement will keep some free listing option, otherwise they will loose in the long run.
If Google goes goto, I go (wise)nuts...
4:14 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion this model is ultimately corrupting.
4:18 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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it would be a wrong step, i guess.

sure they are a business and need to make profit, but that can be done by pay-for-quick-inclusion without compromising results.

also, it would be better for the web if they continue to spider pages with intervals based on their algorithm (pagerank ... and other factors) regardless of paid-inclusion. this would ensure that quality pages will always get spidered fast enough whether paid or not.

------------
my first post. i find wmw quite informative.

4:31 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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We have seen many SE or directories, trying different alternative revenue models. I agree with Littleman that GoTo model is the worst imagined for general relevancy and the most humiliating for us who do not want to turn into ad brokers.

<Taking off>If only one SE could develop some revenue discriminative PFP model to match the applicant net profits. .edu and .org sites could get in for free, SME for 100$ and M$ for 100$ a page. :) <landing on planet earth>

4:36 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion Google wouldn't be that big they would lose many of their users.
A example i did a work on WW2 a big one i interviewed a women who had been a prisinor in Auschwitz - Birkenau the site were about 50 pages with info about WW2 i didn't know how many who viewed it because i didn't put a counter on it. I recived emails but i tough that it was from people who knew her.
One day i decided to put a counter on the page and to my Shock there were 150 people a day from google i didn't even know that the site was in google. I didn't optimazi it either. What i am trying to say is that the best with google is that you can get the best of facts without paying for it and you can make a great site and get visitors without paying for it. And there are many schools out there who do great site's about WW2 and other info that is REALLY good to know about.
4:41 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Another point to consider is that google gets a parge portion of their income from yahoo(im hesitant to say majority, but that may be the case). If google started incorporating pay for increased spidering, I doubt yahoo would mind as this would probably enhance the SERPs anyway(assumming there was no spider penalization to non-payers). On the other hand, if they started showing results on a PPC or pay for ranking model, then they would probably have to face the possibility of losing yahoo. Where would Yahoo look next? Wisenut would be the obvious choice, but thats not the point. The point is, as long as google is charging other sites for search capabilities, they probably wont start a PPC model due to a real fear of losing those other sites.
6:12 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo invested heavily into google (last year?) and I doubt that they would switch to a new partner, just because the current one offered them even more money than they pay for branding. So I believe it will be a Yahoo/Google combo from here on...

Fact: SE's need revenue to exist, provide free access to information, etc. To do this, basically every search engine on the internet relies on some form of advertising to subsidize the service they provide, without cost, to consumers, researchers, and us SEO's. ;)

If a search engine doesn't want to consider ads, or invading privacy and selling off the profiles of it's user base, what is a search engine to do?

Sure, Google may make a profit on ads alone right now, but if the ad market crumbles worse? They lose their users to some upstart? What then? They are almost forced to consider new sources of revenue, even before they need them...because they are venture capital backed, their goal is to become a publically held entity (I think) and this requires large earnings, as they started out their race with $50 million dollars or something like that.

So, consider google going pay for play...WiseNut might win...but then, if they turn to ads...seems like this cycle is going to continue...

So what alternatives are there for a search engine who wants to provide a good service, without marketing to the end user, and without considering paid inclusion (because people like us will always question their relevance, afterwards).

I mentioned in a thread here about Google rotating results to drive more people into purchasing their Adwords program. Since then, my site (see profile) has done nothing at all in search engine referrals from Google. It even gained in link popularity, and nothing else changed, but it is now buried. Could be a coincidence, but consider their company...

Yahoo invested heavily, they profile and sell the data they gather...google has a toolbar, which could watch you everywhere you go (or can it?), and most importantly, they watch this forum on a daily basis. At least, I believe they do.

So if we consider google going pay for play, consider this: they might already be doing more than anybody can guess, to commercially alter their results, without telling anyone. After all, do they have an obligation to you to tell you if they change something? Nope. Not that I've seen.

Back to the topic: if the model of pay for play is ultimately corrupting, and google is headed that way, what is a search engine to do for revenue that won't cost them their user base?

BTW, welcome to the fora, wmwu. Nice nick.

6:15 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>Betrayed.

Can't say it better than that.

And, the fact that two college nobody's have created a dot com that didn't die when the internet bubble burst is inspiring. They did that *without* PFP.

Besides, they would make far *more* money if they had a Sergey Brin calendar ... especially if he was pictured wearing firefighting gear. :)

Well, I'm useless the rest of the afternoon ... there is no way I can get that out of my head.

6:19 pm on Sept 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Funny you say that G, I have a picture of him here at work.

I gave him a pen mustache, sideburns, glasses, and a funny hair. :)

3:17 am on Sept 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Pay, as long as ROI is justified.
5:23 am on Sept 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Why don't they start a paypal format?hehehe Keep the engine alive!But all in all reality bites.This is the world we live in--sympathy to the US citizens.But google should at least let us know few months ahead--start next year
5:58 am on Sept 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I seriously doubt Google will do this. They claim to already be making a profit. They are the only real SE left. This gives them some real clout and I do not think it is needed or even profitable to go that way.

Goto lost half a billion last year doing it. Goto listings are generally poor for consumers. As people realize this - goto will start to go down the drain - along with all the rest. Some may survive, but they can never survive HONESTLY.

Google CAN.

7:57 am on Sept 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I would pay (depending on the cost..).

For example I enjoy the Inktomi pay-for-play: it is a useful tool.

Google is too important these days.

10:38 am on Sept 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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agree with starec. By paying for listing google loses its major competitive advantage. however will be happy with a modest fee for regular spidering. Ive laways thought that regulalry updated sites should get better exposure anyway.

By modest i mean around 10 to 20 per URL with no vloume discounts.. That keeps the level playing field, doesn'y pealise countries with low exchange rates that much, and means you cant buy your way in by getting discounts for the more you pay.

I predicted in this forum around 6 months ago that google will go for pay for regular spidering route a la Position Tech/Inktomi. Still havent changed that opinion.

12:03 pm on Sept 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Inktomi. AltaVista. Google.

Which of these companies are rumored to be profitable?
Which of these companies are hemorrhaging cash?

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