A reader emailed me about yesterday’s post on Mocavo, asking why I wanted to find out how this new google search planned to generate money. She felt it was rude to question about money.
Well, maybe it really is. I’m going to keep asking, though, about every site I personally use. As if there’s one thing I’ve learned on the internet, it’s this: Hardly anything costs nothing.
Google isn’t free. You’re trading a slice of your privacy to work with it. That’s not just a knock against Google; I personally use numerous their products, and i also like them just fine. But asking myself, “How does this for-profit company generate income when it’s providing me using these free services?” led me to analyze and understand what I’m giving them to acquire that where to get free stuff online. I’m making a knowledgeable decision to make use of those tools, as well as taking steps to deal with the quantity of data I provide them with.
Facebook isn’t free either. In fact, if you’re on Facebook and you aren’t paying close awareness of the way they earn money, you’re nuts. I use Facebook, however i ensure 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 previously year or so who may have started offering free hosting to your family tree. That’s great. Before you spend hours building yours, though, it seems like a good idea to ask: How are these individuals earning money? Will they be backed my venture capital, angel investors, or perhaps a rich uncle? Are those people who are bankrolling this thing gonna desire a return on their investment at some time? Once they don’t see one, don’t you believe they will often pull the plug? Are you presently prepared to see the work you’ve placed into 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 may have a site that lasts quite a long time, or you will have a site that doesn’t generate income from you one of the ways or another…but not both. Before you decide to spend hours entering yourself as well as your information on both living and dead people, you should ponder how it will probably be used. Marketers will probably pay a great deal for demographic information on living people. If you’re entering all of your living family’s dates of birth, wedding anniversary, kids’ names, etc. over a “free” site, make sure you are super clear about how that can 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.
In addition there are sites that begin free, but don’t wind up like that. Boost your hand once you know anyone who submitted their loved ones tree to RootsWeb, then got mad when Ancestry bought them and made the trees available simply to those with subscriptions. The Huffington Post was built largely by writers who worked for free, and are now furious since the owner has sold the web page to AOL to get a cool $315 million. The truth is, building websites with content users have generated totally free (and earning money during this process) is an extremely hot topic lately. Many people have discovered that you can get men and women to make the site more valuable then market it.
Inside the comments on yesterday’s post about Mocavo, the site’s owner, Cliff Shaw, has suggested twice that we submit the websites I want Mocavo to index. Now, notwithstanding my belief that all sites on the internet must be indexed if an internet search engine is to be valuable, I might think that I wish to spend submitting “genealogy” sites for Mocavo, so that I will help make it more valuable for when he sells it (as he has with sites he’s owned before). 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 just a stretch at all. But I know how those sites generate profits off of my contributions, and i also don’t think it’s unreasonable to inquire how Mocavo is going to do the same. Even when I DO contribute sites…what’s to express 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 then submit them for inclusion? What is the process for guarding against that kind of thing? Are sites purchasing search engine placement on Mocavo? How could we understand when we didn’t ask?
I really hope Mocavo makes money (because I feel success in genealogy is useful for the complete field, and since the homeowner appears to be a man through the genealogical community, by using a history with this “neighborhood”…not some random stranger). I would like to know how it is going to achieve this. Within the search-engine world in particular, where making profits has been this kind of challenge recently, this appears like a reasonable question for me.
Maybe it IS rude to question how companies make money. Maybe I’m an absolute weenie for asking (and therefore wasn’t my intention at all; I just though this was such an obvious, softball question the company can copy-and-paste a response). But I’ve been online for enough time to know that it’s always a great idea to ask.