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A reader emailed me about yesterday’s post on Mocavo, asking why I needed to understand how this new google search planned to make money. She felt it absolutely was rude to question about money.

Well, maybe it really is. I’m planning to keep asking, though, about every site I personally use. 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 a knock against Google; I personally use several their goods, and so i like them just great. But asking myself, “How can this for-profit company make money when it’s providing me using these free services?” led me to research and know very well what I’m providing them with in return for that where can i get free stuff online. I’m making an educated decision to make use of those tools, and also taking steps to handle the volume of information I allow them to have.

Facebook isn’t free either. The truth is, if you’re on Facebook and also you aren’t paying close focus to the way they generate profits, you’re nuts. I take advantage of Facebook, however i make certain I keep up to date on which they’re doing with my information. I don’t trust that Zuckerberg kid one bit.

Another concern I actually have about free sites is stability. I’ve noticed plenty of companies in the past year or so who definitely have started offering free hosting for your family tree. That’s great. Prior to spend hours building yours, though, it seems wise to ask: How are these individuals earning money? Is it backed my venture capital, angel investors, or possibly a rich uncle? Are individuals who are bankrolling this thing likely to want a return of investment at some time? If they don’t see one, don’t you think they may pull the plug? Are you presently able to start to see the work you’ve dedicated to your web family tree disappear if those sites can’t make enough money to satisfy their investors? Since you can’t have it both ways. You could have a site that lasts a long time, or you will have a site that doesn’t generate profits off of you one of the ways or another…but not both. Prior to spend hours entering yourself and your info on both living and dead people, you might want to ponder how it will likely be used. Marketers are going to pay a good deal for demographic info on living people. If you’re entering all of your living family’s dates of birth, wedding anniversary, kids’ names, etc. on a “free” site, make sure you are super clear on how that might be used, now and in the foreseeable future. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use those sites. Just be certain you’re making informed choices.

Additionally, there are sites that get started free, but don’t find yourself that way. Raise the hand once you know anybody who submitted their family tree to RootsWeb, and after that got mad when Ancestry bought them and made the trees available simply to people with subscriptions. The Huffington Post was built largely by writers who worked for free, and therefore are now furious since the owner has sold the website to AOL for a cool $315 million. Actually, building websites with content users have generated totally free (and earning money at the same time) is certainly a hot topic lately. Lots of people have discovered that exist individuals to help make your site more valuable after which sell it off.

Within 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 every internet sites should be indexed if an internet search engine is going to be valuable, I might determine that I wish to spend submitting “genealogy” sites for Mocavo, in order that I will make it more valuable when he sells it (while he has with sites he’s owned previously). I certainly contribute lots of other dexkpky12 content to sites I take advantage of regularly (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, etc.), so that’s actually not really a stretch whatsoever. But I understand how those sites make money away from my contributions, and i also don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask how Mocavo will work a similar. Regardless of whether I Truly Do contribute sites…what’s to say they are free? Reader Debi commented on yesterday’s post the 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 sort of thing? Are sites paying for search engine placement on Mocavo? How would we all know whenever we didn’t ask?

I hope Mocavo makes money (because I feel success in genealogy is useful for the whole field, and since the property owner seems to be a man from the genealogical community, using a history with this “neighborhood”…not some random stranger). I simply want to understand how it would achieve this. In the search-engine world especially, where making profits has been this kind of challenge recently, this seems like an acceptable question for me.

Maybe it is actually rude to question how companies generate income. Maybe I’m an overall weenie for asking (and this wasn’t my intention at all; I just though this was this sort of obvious, softball question that this company can copy-and-paste an answer). But I’ve been online for long enough to learn that it’s always a smart idea to ask.