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Another One Bites the Dust

Another One Bites the Dust
by Gail Hornback

Its becoming a common occurrence. Another free E-Service discontinuing its free option.

This week it was Listbot. Listbot, a division of Microsoft, has been one of the leading free mailing list services for quite sometime now. In fact, it has some sentimentality for me since it was one of the services that was instrumental in the early stages of my Ebusiness experience! It allowed me to get my feet wet, and establish my ezine before I had any capital to invest in necessary resources. Luckily for me, I had made the transition in my own timing! Unlike many others who are now forced to find other option.

Of course, Listbot has given their thousands of free service customers six weeks to get their lists together and find another option. And, of course, Listbot is giving all those thousands of customers their NEW list server option - at $149 for the "first year". I noticed they placed that word "first" in the announcement too, for whatever that's worth.

The internet has been a boom-town, gold-rush kind of place over the past few years. It wasn't that long ago that there were free E-Services EVERYWHERE! From free list servers, to free websites, to free ISPs and free hosting services. But things are obviously changing. The promotional value of free is apparently not a forever kind of thing.

Other examples of free services pulling the plug:

1) Yahoo - Recently began charging a fee to apply for a listing. To get listed on Yahoo now, you must pay a fee and submit your site. There is no guarantee you will get listed and the fee is not refundable.

Existing listings are effected because the spyders are programmed. They've also implemented a number of rules that qualify a site for acceptance or rejection. For instance, splash pages or mirror pages and also meta tags are ignored. The search goes to page content. You apply for a listing and hope they accept you. If you are in good standing you stay. The old listings will be filtered out over time so it doesn't cause a shock effect. In other words, sites like Microsoft and all the big guys are protected. Obviously, its a great way to weed out the little guys.

2) BigStep - Free site and hosting services. The changes they made put quite a few people in a bind,too. They suddenly announced to their users that the service would be going to 9.95 a month. Of course, they gave them 30 days to opt in or not. BUT -if users wanted to leave and go somewhere else, they couldn't download or salvage the sites they put all the work into with the online builder because there is no FTP. It was pay, or lose their site. On top of that, if users did opt to pay the $9.95 a month and keep their site, they STILL got the BigStep Promo Banner at the top of their site. What a deal!

(*Note: There IS a way to salvage a BigStep site. A little work, but do-able.If you are in this predicament, get in touch with us [Gail Hornback], and we will help you through.)

These are only a couple of examples. It's happening everywhere. Is it a process that was always in the plan? Kind of like the old bait and switch? Hard to say. And it doesn't really matter. It's happening everywhere. And Ebusiness owners need to take notice - and stay ahead of the plan!

Don't ever put all your eggs in one free basket!!! Keep in mind that the trend is snowballing. Spend the time necessary researching products that you can afford, that will give you the quality service your Ebusiness can depend on. Don't be forced into a hasty decision because the plug has been pulled on you. You've worked too hard to get this far!!

About the Author

Gail Hornback is owner of WebWorksAtHome.com, and co-owner, with Michael Smith, of CM/YMTC Team Mentor, http://makemoneyhowto.com and CM/YMTC Epublishing Services, http://coyote-art.com You may write her at: mailto:gail@webworksathome.com

Tags: E-commerce and Internet



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