• Is the internet for small businesses obsolete?

    Man, have things changed.

    The internet, back in the day was supposed to "level the playing field" between large and small businesses. Back in 2000, it did, too.

    But not anymore. Don't get me wrong. I've done well with the internet and it has allowed me to do things I never would have been able to do otherwise. But if I was getting into it now, I don't think I would have a chance. It isn't the same neighborhood. It isn't even the same planet or solar system that it was in 2000.

    First, search engines. In 95% of the niches they are all dominated by big business. You couldn't get a top 3 listing no matter what you did. If you're "whitehat" there really is no such thing as doing your own SEO anymore. Forget what they tell you, or what the flavor of the month is with WSO's. I haven't seen one in YEARS that works. If you do find one, Google will close the hole in 2 weeks and ban your website. Most of the time, they won't even tell you why, or how you can fix it. "Blackhat" SEO also won't get you very far, for very long. It's as bad a "whitehat." Have you noticed the "Google Dance" never seems to effect the big spenders though.

    Since Yahoo and Bing takes their cues and results from Google, you won't have much luck their either in the long run.

    Something might be said for SEO for local businesses, but even then, the top positions are taken with yelp.com, yellowpages.com, whitepages.com etc. Google local takes all the rest.

    "Build an Authority site," they say. Besides the YEARS of massive work it takes, not to mention money, the "Content is King" BS, is exactly that. Have you noticed all the good (private) content sites now are buried in the back pages. Another trend I've noticed is it is only aged domains getting Google love. So if you didn't start your website 5-10 years ago, you have a major, insurmountable, hurdle to overcome. Of course, money can solve that problem if you willing to pay big bucks for an aged, established, domain. Linking is also a failed strategy. It helps, absolutely, but the kind of links you really need to get to the top (.edu and .gov) for the most part can't be had, unless, of course, you have high connections.

    Affiliate websites: Man, I feel for you guys. Google declared war on you. If you don't have your own product, I don't know how you survive. I'm not sure there is any hope at all for affiliates.

    But it seems to me there is no "level playing field" anymore. If you can't afford a minimum of $1000 a month (if you're lucky) to a SEO professional, and another $1000 in PPC, chances are you won't make it to the first page.

    Digital theft has pretty much wiped out the eBook industry. Forget the lip service that is being paid to it. Most anti-theft software only deters honest people. But I can tell you from brutal, hard won experience, that ENTIRE COUNTRIES, feel it is their duty and obligation to distribute your information for free, or profit from it themselves without doing any of the work. (and I do mean fully half the world. Like all of Africa, Asia and Russia.)

    The other side of the coin is that copyright infringement gone off the deep end with the big spenders able to sue everyone in sight, whether they did it intentionally or not. (Getty Images, for example) You can't blame them because of the massive problems in the paragraph above. They are trying to send a message. Instead of stopping the problem where it lives (and has no effect) they are coming after people at home where they can reach them to "Make an example of."

    Also, have you noticed that any negative comment or review about your website or product, somehow, miraculously goes straight to the top of Google and stays there? So much so it has spawned a new "internet reputation management" industry. Funny how you play by Goggles rules and you can't get a top listing. But some hater, flamer, troll or keyboard commando is able to get number one rankings overnight. Go figure.

    As soon as the government figures out a way to effectively tax transactions, that is also going by the wayside. They are doing in now in Texas and a number of other states.

    Ebay and Amazon have control over tangible goods. You either play by their rules, or you ain't playing. Competition on both is overwhelming. Again, if you didn't, or weren't able to build a strong base or foundation in the beginning, you got a tough row to hoe now. Don't get me wrong. Both were great in the beginning. Now it's "meet the new boss....same as the old boss." The internet is now starting to resemble the business world we all came to the internet to avoid. That is, big business dominating and making all the rules. The biggest rule is, let's crowd out small business.

    I'm not trying to pee on everyone's parade, but it is sort of like the 1000 pound elephant in the room no one is talking about, or the flatulence from said elephant we are all trying to ignore. I think it might be time for a new internet.

    [Edit by Kay: promoting to article - this deserves to go on the EP front page.]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Is the internet for small businesses obsolete? started by dsieg58 View original post