A reader emailed me about yesterday’s post on Mocavo, asking why I needed to understand how this new online search engine planned to make money. She felt it was actually rude to ask about money.
Well, maybe it can be. I’m gonna keep asking, though, about every site I take advantage of. As if there’s a very important factor I’ve learned on the internet, it’s this: Hardly anything is provided for free.
Google isn’t free. You’re trading a chunk of your privacy to make use of it. That’s not a knock against Google; I prefer numerous their goods, and I like them just great. But asking myself, “How can this for-profit company make money when it’s providing me using these free services?” led me to analyze and determine what I’m offering them in return for that where can i get free stuff online. I’m making an educated decision to make use of those tools, and also taking steps to deal with the volume of knowledge I let them have.
Facebook isn’t free either. In fact, if you’re on Facebook so you aren’t paying close focus to how they generate income, you’re nuts. I use Facebook, nevertheless i be sure I maintain on what they’re doing with my information. I don’t trust that Zuckerberg kid one bit.
Another concern I have about free sites is stability. I’ve noticed lots of companies before year or more that have started offering free hosting for your personal family tree. That’s great. Prior to spend hours building yours, though, it appears to be best if you 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 this thing going to want a return on their investment at some time? Should they don’t see one, don’t you think they could pull the plug? Are you currently able to begin to see the work you’ve put into your online family tree disappear if those sites can’t make enough money in order to satisfy their investors? As you can’t have it both ways. You will have a site that lasts a very long time, or you can have a site that doesn’t earn money off from you one of the ways or another…but not both. Before you spend hours entering yourself along with your info on both living and dead people, you might want to ponder how it will probably be used. Marketers are going to pay a good deal for demographic facts about living people. If you’re entering all of your living family’s dates of birth, wedding anniversary, kids’ names, etc. on a “free” site, make sure you are super clear how which will be used, now and down the road. 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 wind up that way. Raise your hand once you know anybody who submitted their loved ones tree to RootsWeb, and after that got mad when Ancestry bought them and made the trees available only to those with subscriptions. The Huffington Post was built largely by writers who worked at no cost, and they are now furious as the owner has sold the internet site to AOL to get a cool $315 million. Actually, building websites with content users have generated for free (and making profits along the way) is a very hot topic lately. A lot of people have figured out that exist customers to help make your site more valuable then sell it.
From the comments on yesterday’s post about Mocavo, the site’s owner, Cliff Shaw, has suggested twice that I submit the websites I want Mocavo to index. Now, notwithstanding my belief that all sites on the internet must be indexed if a search engine is to be valuable, I might think that I want to spend submitting “genealogy” sites for Mocavo, to ensure I will help to make it more valuable when he sells it (because he has with sites he’s owned previously). I certainly contribute lots of other dexkpky12 content to sites I take advantage of regularly (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, etc.), so that’s actually not just a stretch by any means. But I know how those sites generate income away from my contributions, and that i don’t think it’s unreasonable to inquire about how Mocavo is going to do a similar. Even if I Truly Do contribute sites…what’s to mention that 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 full of spammy affiliate links then submit them for inclusion? Is there a process for guarding against that sort of thing? Are sites purchasing google search placement on Mocavo? How would we all know once we didn’t ask?
I hope Mocavo makes money (because I believe success in genealogy is perfect for the full field, and furthermore, as the homeowner appear to be a guy from your genealogical community, with a history in this “neighborhood”…not some random stranger). I just want to recognize how it is going to achieve this. From the search-engine world specifically, where making profits has become this kind of challenge recently, this seems like a good question if you ask me.
Maybe it is actually rude to question how companies earn money. Maybe I’m an overall weenie for asking (which wasn’t my intention right here at all; I just though this was this sort of obvious, softball question how the company could copy-and-paste a response). But I’ve been on the net long enough to learn that it’s always a good idea to ask.