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I was just wondering if people here had an opinion on which of these services was better than others -- or at least more cost effective.
How do they really differ in terms of getting their data, etc..? How reliable are their rankings?
The bar for what works is continually rising. It may rise slower in some markets, but it's still climbing. Whenever someone starts a new site, they start at the current height. If you're not at that the same height, you'll either have to play catch-up or drop out.
If you don't care about the competition, someone else will eventually take your place. You can't be a bit player forever.
Also, being the first in a niche doesn't last. My favorite example is Airfare.com. For a long time, their website had only a phone number. They had the domain name, they started the market...but didn't keep up with the competition—Expedia and Travelocity. Sure, they got a paycheck, but they missed out on a huge opportunity.
Two cents :)
Here's an idea for discussion...
Is a website's true measure of traffic and relevance a function of the number of monthly visits it gets from organic search?
After all... repeat visitors tend not to go back to search to look for their favorite site... and new visitors almost always tend to arrive via organic search.
This is the one metric from site analytics packages which is easily audited and confirmed.
[edited by: TheSkepticGuy at 2:08 pm (utc) on May 6, 2008]