Would Top Sites Really Opt-Out Of Google Based On A Microsoft Bribe?
from the doubtful dept
Every so often, internet pontificators try to come up with ways to “kill Google.” It’s a silly game, but in an oddly timed move, three people (who have all put forth “how to kill Google” ideas in the past) all suddenly published similar ideas, yet again. Jason Calacanis, Mark Cuban and Tom Foremski all posted similar ideas about how certain sites (such as the top sites in the top search results) could all choose to opt-out of Google and, say, join another search engine like Bing. It’s one of those ideas that sounds good for about 5 seconds. And then you actually think about it. First, the numbers being tossed around concerning how much it would cost, say, Microsoft, to convince most of these sites to opt-out of their number one driver of traffic is significantly higher than what’s being mentioned in these articles. Many of these sites rely on Google traffic to make a ton of money, and they’re not going to throw that away easily. At least in Calacanis’ plan he suggests Microsoft offer “50% more than they make in Google referrals” which certainly beats Cuban’s idea that many sites would opt-out of Google for $1,000.
Here’s the thing, though. Most of those sites worked hard to get to the top of Google for a very good reason: they understand the value of being easily findable. As such, they also recognize that it makes little sense to make themselves less findable at almost any price. Getting anyone to opt-out first (other than suicidal sites like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.) is going to be nearly impossible. Who would want to risk that? Because the instant they opt-out, someone else would take their place. Quickly. And decisively.
There’s value in being found these days, and to be found you need to be easily findable from anywhere if someone’s looking for you. Not only would traffic decrease, but so would basic reputation. Even if Microsoft pays you a ton to drop out of Google, people are going to search for your business in Google and when they can’t find it, they’re not going to care how much Microsoft paid, they’re going to think you’re a small-time nobody. The best strategy these days, as most web site operators know, is to be as widely available as possible. Opt-ing out of Google because someone pays you some money is a lot more costly than just the lack of traffic.