Friday, May 12, 2006

web: stop gaming Web search

Mother's Day, time to send flowers to the mother country. In the good old days I'd search yahoo.co.uk for florists in her town, find a delightfully amateurish Web site with some blurry photos, call them up, and give a credit card number for delivery. The flower shop gets to keep all the money. It was the vision of the World-Wide web fulfilled, bringing people together, disintermediating low-value go-betweens like FTD and Interflora.

It seems like it still works. Type in any combination of town name and florist and UK, and you get pages from florists in that town.

No. Now it's completely fubared. Take for example http://www.flowerssameday.co.uk/florists/n/florists_newcastle.htm, they have dozens of pages about "your local florist" for every town in the UK. Each page is exactly the same!

And instead of getting actual florist Web sites in search results, you get sites with lists of florists or sites with fake reviews of florists. These parasites aren't providing useful info, they're just collecting ads. One directory service seems to be ThomsonLocal.com, but their info winds up on dozens of other sites like near.co.uk, touchlocal.com, etc., and often in the wrong place. I can't tell if ThomsonLocal is screwing around or the third parties are lifting the content. It's a mess.

The small florist down the road is stuck on the 100th page of Google results, wondering why no one ever calls, and debating whether to spend money to get on a directory site, or whether to pay a slimey search engine optimization consultant to get a higher ranking. It is the vision of the World-Wide web, in tatters.

Categories: ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home