In March 2006, Danny Sullivan wrote a post titled 25 Things I Hate About Google. Are his criticisms still valid today?
Two criticisms, I believe, are very apt for today. First,
16. Stop giving away Blogger for free. It’s just full of junk. Junk, junk, junk. If you let anyone have it with no barriers, surprise, some are going to take it and do bad things with it.
23. Charge for things! Seriously, I’m getting frightened. I love that anyone can get free analytics, email, you name it from you. But I’m fearful that people also can’t get support for when things go wrong. Meanwhile, I worry that companies I want competing with you, to keep you on your toes, can’t do so when you use advertising to underwrite everything. It just feels anti-competitive.
On the first point, Blogger is full of spam. I don’t know what percentage of Blogger blogs are spam blogs, but I’m sure the percentage is pretty high. Even today, after Google went on a splog delete spree about a year ago. It’s too easy for spammers to open up a spam blog and let it sit so they can use it periodically to steal content and build links to crap sites. Even if Google charged $1 for Blogger blogs it would serve as a deterrent to spammers, who tend to be too cheap to afford $1 for anything.
On charging for Google Analytics, I’m not sure. I like that it is free. On the other hand, Danny’s point that it appears to be anti-competitive is a good one. I mean, there are several other analytics programs out there that are every bit as good as Google Analytics and you have to pay for them. If users had to pay for GA then those other programs might look more attractive, which is why Google doesn’t charge for Analytics. Still, by charging for analytics, Google could earn revenue from that product and re-invest that revenue into product improvement. In fact, Google could do that with a lot of things.
What do you think? Should Google charge for its products and services?