A reader emailed me about yesterday’s post on Mocavo, asking why I needed to understand how this new internet search engine planned to make money. She felt it was rude to question about money.
Well, maybe it is. I’m likely to keep asking, though, about every site I use. Because if there’s one important thing I’ve learned on the net, it’s this: Hardly anything is free.
Google isn’t free. You’re trading a slice of your privacy to make use of it. That’s not much of a knock against Google; I take advantage of several their goods, and I like them just fine. But asking myself, “How accomplishes this for-profit company generate income when it’s providing me by using these free services?” led me to research and know what I’m offering them in exchange for that get free stuff online. I’m making a knowledgeable decision to work with those tools, as well as taking steps to manage the quantity of knowledge I give them.
Facebook isn’t free either. The truth is, if you’re on Facebook and you also aren’t paying close focus on the way they generate income, you’re nuts. I personally use Facebook, nevertheless i make sure I continue about 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 plenty of companies previously year or more who definitely have started offering free hosting to your family tree. That’s great. Before you spend hours building yours, though, it seems like wise to ask: How are these folks making money? Will they be backed my venture capital, angel investors, or a rich uncle? Are those people who are bankrolling this thing going to desire a return on their investment eventually? When they don’t see one, don’t you believe they could pull the plug? Are you presently willing to see the work you’ve put in your online family tree disappear if those sites can’t make enough money to meet their investors? Simply because you can’t get it both ways. You may have a site that lasts a long time, or you can have a site that doesn’t generate income off of you a technique or another…but not both. Before you spend hours entering yourself and your information about both living and dead people, you might like to ponder how it will probably be used. Marketers are going to pay a good deal for demographic info on living people. If you’re entering your entire living family’s dates of birth, wedding anniversary, kids’ names, etc. with a “free” site, make sure you are super clear how that will be used, now and in the future. That’s not saying you shouldn’t use those sites. Just be sure you’re making informed choices.
There are sites that start out free, but don’t end up doing this. Raise the hand once you know anyone that submitted their family 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 for free, and they are now furious for the reason that owner has sold the site to AOL to get a cool $315 million. In fact, building websites with content users have generated at no cost (and making money in the process) is definitely a hot topic lately. Many people have figured out that exist customers to create your site more valuable then sell it off.
From the comments on yesterday’s post about Mocavo, the site’s owner, Cliff Shaw, has suggested twice that I submit the sites I want Mocavo to index. Now, notwithstanding my belief that sites on the internet needs to be indexed if an internet search engine is usually to be valuable, I might determine that I would like to spend some submitting “genealogy” sites for Mocavo, in order that I can help make it more valuable for when he sells it (as he has with sites he’s owned in the past). I certainly contribute a great deal of other dexkpky12 content to sites I use regularly (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, etc.), so that’s actually not much of a stretch by any means. But I know how those sites earn money off from my contributions, and i also don’t think it’s unreasonable to inquire about how Mocavo is going to do a similar. Regardless of whether I Really Do contribute sites…what’s to mention they are free? Reader Debi commented on yesterday’s post that the only result she’d found was one for e-Yearbook, which isn’t free in any way. Are paid sites now submitting themselves for inclusion? Can nefarious operators build websites full of spammy affiliate links after which submit them for inclusion? Is there a process for guarding against that sort of thing? Are sites purchasing google search placement on Mocavo? How could we all know when we didn’t ask?
I am hoping Mocavo makes money (because I feel success in genealogy is perfect for the complete field, and because the owner appear to be a guy in the genealogical community, with a history in this particular “neighborhood”…not some random stranger). I simply want to know the way it would do this. Inside the search-engine world especially, where creating wealth continues to be this sort of challenge recently, this seems like an acceptable question if you ask me.
Maybe it can be rude to ask how companies make money. Maybe I’m an overall weenie for asking (and therefore wasn’t my intention at all; I actually though this was this kind of obvious, softball question the company could copy-and-paste an answer). But I’ve been on the net for long enough to know that it’s always smart to ask.