A client asked me to research some hotel reservation software for his motel site. It’s a nicely run and attractive motel with good business. His current provider was… to be polite… moving in the wrong direction regarding their business relationship.
So, I started out where I normally go… with a few Google searches.
Now sometimes I’ll use the word “review” in my search and other times just the product itself. It’s the returns I’m getting lately however that have me wasting a lot more time than I should have to. The heavy offenders… TOP 10 sites. They pose as a wonderful aggregation of comparative analysis promising to save me tons of time by getting to the nitty gritty of who does what “the best.”
What soon becomes evident is a far more bitter reality. Just about all are little more than affiliate link lists whoring themselves out to the top bidders. Canned reviews… little if any research… and childish superlatives (the best, the largest, the cheapest) that hold zero value.
Top 10 Best Web Hosts, Top 10 Best Domain Registrars… and in my latest research… 2017’s Reviews of the Most Popular Reservations Software.
This list showed about 300 offerings… seriously… 300. God forbid they should miss a commission opportunity… and of course every single link was coded to make certain they didn’t.
Now in due fairness, yes you could choose or eliminate the features you needed or didn’t require… but with a star rating system of questionable value and little in the way of even taking a stand or making a recommendation… how was I to save any time using this site?
Being in the hosting and domain business, I’ve often looked at some of the “Best” or “Top 10” sites for that category that are positioned in Google’s “top o’ page” paid positions just to see what they have to offer. Honestly dear reader… I’ve yet to find some riveting under the covers information that might actually provide you with a clue on what to look for. Rather, you’ll discover marvellously disguised shill lists all pushing more worthless comparisons, with the fav affiliate link somehow miraculously appearing at the top of the list.
These guys are “green”… these guys are “fastest”…. and these guys are just oh so wonderful to talk with.
So, you’re asking me them… OK, Kenn…. how DO we use the search engines to find some answers.
Well my partner JoCool came up with a brilliant suggestion… and it’s right there in front of us. Well, actually, it’s on the next page.
You see, the entire search industry is focused right now on one thing… the first page of search engine results. The highest ad fees are paid to get on the first page… and every possible trick in the book is used to get even “organic” (non-paid) listings on the first page. SEO experts loudly trumpet the viewing “stats” of how many more hits you’ll get if you appear on the first page. It’s such a prevalent practice, that of course the heavy hitters with the most to gain go to the greatest lengths to get their shill links on Page One.
And with that in mind… comes a suggestion. Try Page two, three and even four.
OK, I haven’t researched this fully yet… but give it a try. Get past the paid ads and wordy superlatives of page one… and start looking for some real substance on page two and deeper.
Remember the old AVIS ad campaign? AVIS was number two in the rental car industry… so their marketing company came up with “When you’re number 2, you try harder.”
So just maybe you’ll find some answers on Page two and three of your searches… companies and people who try harder, are a little more sincere and really want to earn your business.