I was reading Matt, you know, Matt that founded WordPress, and he called out Seth Godin on having a typepad with a name like Seth Godin. Matt made the following point that I found astounding:
it drives me crazy that people like Seth Godin and John Moore are pouring countless hours into creating priceless content as sharecroppers on domains they don’t own. To clarify, I have no problem that they’re using Typepad, but for goodness sake put it on your own domain. When someone Google’s you the first hit shouldn’t be .typepad.com.
Now Matt goes on to make the bigger point that your name is the most valuable thing you have. Seth later chimes in about the fear of changing over as he might lose links, and Matt agrees with that fear- the bottom line is Seth began blogging in ’02 and that’s a hell of a lot of links- this got me to thinking about those on and that defend Active Rain. The point holds true that you have no control over your name or the product you produce on their service.
As most already know Active Rain got a nice punch of cash to the tune of nearly $3million from HouseValues and the reality is, if no one was on active rain, what would its value have been? Probably zero.
House Values purchased the names and the millions of words, search terms, & pages of information, email address, personal profiles and the like- honestly Active Rain could have gotten more, as obviously the information is invaluable, but the almost $3 Million aside, it goes to prove Matts point. Sites like blogger, wordpress.com, typepad.com, and others build their value on the backs of millions of subscribers, and readers, which begs the question, why would you do it?
Take Zillow and Trulia for example, they are providing great services to agents and consumers, but at the same time, agents are providing a service to them- you’re building their value, why? What’s in it for you? We all race to do this same thing in Google, and we even pay good money to do it, but why? Your name, your value, priceless?
We all complain about splogs, and other forms of content theft, but the fact is, they don’t have to steal it, most just put out for free.