A reader emailed me about yesterday’s post on Mocavo, asking why I wanted to understand how this new internet search engine planned to generate money. She felt it absolutely was rude to inquire about money.
Well, maybe it is. I’m going to keep asking, though, about every site I use. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned on the web, it’s this: Hardly anything is free.
Google isn’t free. You’re trading a chunk of your privacy to make use of it. That’s not really a knock against Google; I take advantage of a variety of their products, and that i like them just fine. But asking myself, “How performs this for-profit company generate profits when it’s providing me with these free services?” led me to research and know very well what I’m providing them with in exchange for that online free stuff. I’m making a well informed decision to work with those tools, as well as taking steps to deal with the quantity of knowledge I allow them to have.
Facebook isn’t free either. Actually, if you’re on Facebook and you also aren’t paying close focus to the way that they generate income, you’re nuts. I take advantage of Facebook, having said that i be sure I keep up of what they’re doing with my information. I don’t trust that Zuckerberg kid one bit.
Another concern We have about free sites is stability. I’ve noticed a lot of companies in past times year or so who may have started offering free hosting for the family tree. That’s great. Before you decide to spend hours building yours, though, it appears a good idea to ask: How are these individuals making profits? Is it backed my venture capital, angel investors, or possibly a rich uncle? Are those people who are bankrolling it gonna need a return of investment at some time? Once they don’t see one, don’t you believe they might pull the plug? Are you currently prepared to begin to see the work you’ve dedicated to your online family tree disappear if those sites can’t make enough money to fulfill their investors? As you can’t have it both ways. You can have a site that lasts a long time, or you could have a site that doesn’t generate profits from you one of the ways or another…but not both. Before you decide to spend hours entering yourself along with your information about both living and dead people, you may want to ponder how it will be used. Marketers pays a whole lot for demographic facts about living people. If you’re entering your whole living family’s dates of birth, wedding anniversary, kids’ names, etc. on the “free” site, ensure you are super clear regarding how that can be used, now and later on. That’s not saying you shouldn’t use those sites. Just be sure you’re making informed choices.
Additionally, there are sites that get started free, but don’t find yourself doing this. Raise the hand when you know anyone who submitted their loved ones tree to RootsWeb, and then got mad when Ancestry bought them and made the trees available only to people who have subscriptions. The Huffington Post was built largely by writers who worked totally free, and are now furious because the owner has sold the website to AOL to get a cool $315 million. The truth is, building websites with content users have generated totally free (and making money at the same time) is an extremely hot topic lately. Many people have discovered that exist people to help make your site more valuable and after that sell it.
Inside the comments on yesterday’s post about Mocavo, the site’s owner, Cliff Shaw, has suggested twice that we submit the sites I want Mocavo to index. Now, notwithstanding my belief that all internet sites should be indexed if an internet search engine will be valuable, I may decide that I want to spend submitting “genealogy” sites for Mocavo, to ensure that I will make it more valuable for when he sells it (since he has with sites he’s owned in the past). I certainly contribute a great deal of other dexkpky12 content to sites I take advantage of regularly (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, etc.), so that’s actually not a stretch at all. But I understand how those sites earn money off from my contributions, and that i don’t think it’s unreasonable to inquire about how Mocavo will do a similar. Even though I DO contribute sites…what’s to express they are free? Reader Debi commented on yesterday’s post that this only result she’d found was one for e-Yearbook, which isn’t free by any means. Are paid sites now submitting themselves for inclusion? Can nefarious operators build websites filled with spammy affiliate links then submit them for inclusion? What is the process for guarding against that kind of thing? Are sites investing in google search placement on Mocavo? How would we understand if we didn’t ask?
I am hoping Mocavo makes money (because I believe success in genealogy is useful for the full field, and furthermore, as the property owner is apparently a man in the genealogical community, having a history in this “neighborhood”…not some random stranger). I would like to recognize how it can do it. Inside the search-engine world in particular, where making money continues to be this kind of challenge recently, this looks like a reasonable question to me.
Maybe it is actually rude to inquire how companies make money. Maybe I’m a total weenie for asking (and therefore wasn’t my intention here at all; I just though this was such an obvious, softball question that the company can copy-and-paste a response). But I’ve been on the net for enough time to learn that it’s always a good idea to ask.