A reader emailed me about yesterday’s post on Mocavo, asking why I wanted to find out how this new online search engine planned to make money. She felt it was rude to question about money.
Well, maybe it really is. I’m planning to keep asking, though, about every site I take advantage of. Because if there’s a very important factor I’ve learned on the net, it’s this: Hardly anything is free of charge.
Google isn’t free. You’re trading a chunk of your privacy to use it. That’s not much of a knock against Google; I use numerous their goods, and I like them just great. But asking myself, “How performs this for-profit company make money when it’s providing me with these free services?” led me to investigate and know what I’m providing them with in exchange for that free stuff online. I’m making a knowledgeable decision to make use of those tools, and also taking steps to manage the quantity of knowledge I give them.
Facebook isn’t free either. In fact, if you’re on Facebook and you also aren’t paying close awareness of the direction they earn money, you’re nuts. I prefer Facebook, having said that i be sure I keep up 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 a great deal of companies in the past year roughly who have started offering free hosting for the family tree. That’s great. Prior to deciding to spend hours building yours, though, it appears to be smart to ask: How are these folks creating wealth? Are they backed my venture capital, angel investors, or a rich uncle? Are individuals who are bankrolling it planning to require a return of investment sooner or later? Should they don’t see one, don’t you feel they could pull the plug? Are you presently willing to view the work you’ve put into your online family tree disappear if those sites can’t make enough money to satisfy their investors? Because you can’t have it both ways. You can have a site that lasts a 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. Prior to spend hours entering yourself along with your information on both living and dead people, you may want to ponder how it will be used. Marketers are going to pay a whole lot for demographic information on living people. If you’re entering all of your living family’s dates of birth, wedding anniversary, kids’ names, etc. on the “free” site, make sure you are super clear how that will be used, now and down the road. That’s not saying you shouldn’t use those sites. Just make sure you’re making informed choices.
There are also sites that begin free, but don’t find yourself like that. Raise the hand when you know anyone that submitted their loved ones tree to RootsWeb, after which got mad when Ancestry bought them and made the trees available merely to those with subscriptions. The Huffington Post was built largely by writers who worked for free, and therefore are now furious as the owner has sold the website to AOL for a cool $315 million. In fact, building websites with content users have generated free of charge (and creating wealth along the way) is an extremely hot topic lately. Many individuals have discovered that you can get men and women to make your site more valuable and then market it.
Inside the comments on yesterday’s post about Mocavo, the site’s owner, Cliff Shaw, has suggested twice i submit the websites I want Mocavo to index. Now, notwithstanding my belief that every sites on the internet ought to be indexed if a search engine is usually to be valuable, I might decide that I would like to spend some submitting “genealogy” sites for Mocavo, so that I could help make it more valuable when he sells it (as he has with sites he’s owned previously). I certainly contribute a lot of other dexkpky12 content to sites I personally use regularly (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, etc.), so that’s actually not much of a stretch whatsoever. But I understand how those sites earn money off from my contributions, and so i don’t think it’s unreasonable to question how Mocavo can do a similar. Regardless of whether I Truly Do contribute sites…what’s to state 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 packed with spammy affiliate links after which submit them for inclusion? Is there a process for guarding against that sort of thing? Are sites purchasing internet search engine placement on Mocavo? How could we all know whenever we didn’t ask?
I hope Mocavo makes money (because I think success in genealogy is good for the whole field, and furthermore, as the dog owner is apparently a guy from your genealogical community, using a history with this “neighborhood”…not some random stranger). I just want to know how it can do this. In the search-engine world in particular, where earning money continues to be this kind of challenge recently, this seems like a fair question for me.
Maybe it can be rude to question how companies generate income. Maybe I’m an absolute weenie for asking (and that wasn’t my intention right here at all; I just though this is this sort of obvious, softball question how the company can copy-and-paste an answer). But I’ve been on the web for long enough to understand that it’s always smart to ask.