The other day I got an email from a link directory service called Infoo. It’s a directory based in Sweden with links to Swedish websites. This link directory started in 1993 and was then called Sunet, and it was run by the Royal Technical University (KTH) in Stockholm. It has always been free to have your website registered with this link directory.
However, now I got this email telling me to basically pay up or get out. Now, it will still be free to personal websites and non-profit organisations. It’s business websites they want to charge a subscription fee. There are two levels, silver and gold, and they’re priced 249 SEK and 949 SEK respectively per year.
To put this into perspective we’ll need some facts … this link directory claims to have around 240,000 page views per month. What you’ll get for your money apart from a quite modest number of page views, on which your link will only appear on a few, is the possibility to edit your information as well as receiving discounts and offers on whatever unnamed products or services they may have.
If you haven’t already managed to detect it, I can tell you that I’m a tad skeptical towards this “deal” they offered me. I turned it down. Why? Well, I just couldn’t see any reason as to why I should pay for something which has been free of charge since the start 17 years ago. I’ve had my website registered for almost 10 years during this time. Infoo promises increased traffic which I find a bit dubious to be honest. I’ve been tracking the traffic on my website for years and the amount of visitors coming via Infoo can literally be counted on the fingers of one hand. So they’re asking me to pay for something I’m not likely to ever really benefit from.
It dawned on me that other websites around the world, mainly newspapers, have also started to charge a subscription fee. Is this perhaps a trend we have to look forward to, and is it something the average Internet user is willing to accept? What do you think?