Live by the search. Die by the search.

When it comes to successful web sites there’s no doubt that search is important. However, one needs to be careful not to build a business model that puts too many eggs in basket. Especially when you don’t have control over that basket. Especially when you don’t really know what’s inside the black box in basket. Especially when that basket is called Google.

While one might sympathize with the guy (Dan Savage) in this article where is his value add? What is he doing that’s so unique? Yes, it’s simple but his game is to play the spread in difference in price. Great! Ride that wave as long as you can. But did he not expect that somewhere along the line that the rules might change?

“Stuck In Google’s Doghouse” by Joe Nocera (NY Times, Sat 13 Sept 2008). True, stories like these aren’t exactly new news. That said, people continue to pursue approaches that rely on the strength of their search placement instead of focusing on the quality and value add of their product/service. Those are parameters you can control. Those are points of differentiation that you can market. But when the success of your marketing plan is just a gimmick that is subject to the tweak of an algorithm then having a smarterer guest-centric approach is probably in order.

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