Few years back using my experience in a certain area, I created a piece of software and gave it a name and created a website with the same name and started selling it. It’s a very niche area and the only a small set of the target audience actually seek the solution and pay for it. My software is priced $$ and my sales are single digit. So, the potential is less than a thousand per year. But who knows, with time it could have become a little bit more.
On the contrary, after about an year, things went the other way. Hardly anyone evening contacting to find more info. Yeah the economy had been bad since 2008 and all that, but that’s not the reason for the dismal performance I had. Out of no where, some guy started offering a similar solution for free. People are expected to register a domain name and us his solution by mapping their domain name to his server.
Which is fine. You could say, if someone could offer it for free, why do you think anyone would pay you $$? First, there are some problems with what is being done by that person. I won’t go into those details. But what I don’t think is appropriate is, for that person to optimize his website around my product. He literally used my product name which is very specific and tried doing SEO around it. Given his customers map their domain to his server, he is getting free links back from all these websites to his main site and in the anchor links he even used my product name. So, the theme is “An alternative to xyz” or “An xyz for free” and so on where xyz is my product name.
Only because my product name and my domain name are the same and since Google atleast has the sense of giving a domain name a lot more importance, when someone searches for xyz, my website does come first. But the problem is, the next link in the results is his which says “A free xyz”.
That’s how I got screwed and hardly had any one wanting to purchase my product. The truth of the matter is, there are clear advantages of buying the software, installing it on one’s own server and using it vs mapping one’s domain to a free solution. However, when you are looking at search results, it’s not possible to explain the potential customers what the differences are.
I am not sure how this can be solved by Google or anyone.