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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Just a few days back I recieved about 6 email from Mycomputer.com telling me how they have had to shutdown their free services like polls, message boards, guestbooks and almost everything they were offering for free.

    I am a beginner at web development and depend highly on such free services. I am curious about how I can find out which services are about to go down and what to do if anything to avoid being left out in the cold without anything to offer to my visitors.

    (Also can you refer a few services that you think are far away from going down.)
    Ali Memon
    Direct Print

  2. #2
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Well, it's nearly impossible to determine if a company is inside deciding to remove their free services, BUT, you can try to get some rumors on struggling companies @ F*ckedCompanies.com.

  3. #3
    Misfit
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    Actually, the URL is http://www.****edcompany.com.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Member
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    I got the same emails, but I'm interested in knowing if anyone can recommend a replacement that could be used instead ?? Features must include :

    - free
    - ability to track multiple pages
    - referer
    - country

    "nice to have"s :

    - browser
    - screen res.
    - OS
    - etc..

    I'm starting a new thread on this as well ....

  5. #5
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    At this time a lot of companies are under pressure to perform and start paying dividends to investors. If they can't do that then the investors will force them to liquidate.

    The only way a company can survive is to have a profit making business plan and "free" is hard to convert to profit. At this point in time, Yahoo! is probably the only one secure in their offerings. This is because they offer more options for a small monthly fee. This helps offset the free and makes the company income.
    Wayne Luke
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  6. #6
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    The way I see it is that a lot of these start ups were relying on the fact that advertising revenues were decent for a while for their business models to work. This is because it was these exact same start-ups that were spending their investors' money on online advertising like crazy to build brand and traffic. As the money started to dry up they spent less on advertising, demand for advertising fell, rates fell and revenues fell. Classic boom-bust economics.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot Wilmot's Avatar
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    In regard to the original question. Possibly the best thing to do, to avoid being "left out in the cold" is to have a backup plan. Especially with free services, there are usually several you can choose from which offer simmilar services. If you sign up for one, make sure you have researched the others. That way, if the one you are with goes down, you know exactly where to go for a replacement.

    warlords3:
    Try:
    http://www.webtrendslive.com or
    http://www.sitemeter.com

    These are the two I have used, but you could just search the forums for discussion of others.
    Brad Culbert
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    www.SQLServer2005Books.com - Reader-rated SQL Server 2005 Books

  8. #8
    Non-Member NetEthusiast's Avatar
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    many free websites such as Hotmail, and Yahoo Geocities may not exist in a few years from now. Yahoo Geocities depends on companies buying banner ads to get income. News articles recently prove that these companies looking for other revenue sources. Yahoo which is straining and searching for more revenue has expanded their pornographic department to catch the well to do market. From what i've heard Yahoo charges you to submit your site in certain categories. Already NBCi is going out of our view slowly. In a few years when Microsoft releases its .Net platform and offers all of its services in a package, hotmail could be included in the package.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Our site currently uses www.icdirect.com to track visits to our site as well as www.sitemeter.com .

    What we like about icdirect is that the counter is invisible; you simply have to place html code on your page. In order to use the free services they provide you are required to put a small amount of text indicating that you are a member of icdirect. Small trade-off for a free service.

    Scott
    www.camohunter.com

  10. #10
    ********* Addict jaiem's Avatar
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    Many free service sites have in their TOS that some time in the future they may start charging. A lot seem to be exercising that provision now.

    From a business POV it's not a bad plan. If they have grown a large user base with the free services chances are good many will remain when they implement a fee. If they're smart they start small and raise it slowly. Ebay is classic for that!
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  11. #11
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Originally posted by NetEthusiast
    many free websites such as Hotmail, and Yahoo Geocities may not exist in a few years from now. Yahoo Geocities depends on companies buying banner ads to get income. News articles recently prove that these companies looking for other revenue sources. Yahoo which is straining and searching for more revenue has expanded their pornographic department to catch the well to do market. From what i've heard Yahoo charges you to submit your site in certain categories. Already NBCi is going out of our view slowly. In a few years when Microsoft releases its .Net platform and offers all of its services in a package, hotmail could be included in the package.
    I very seriously doubt Hotmail will not exist in a few years. Why? Microsoft is behind it and Microsoft isn't going away.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    Instead of using free services, I find things like free CGI scripts that I can implement on my sites--generally they just require following some careful instructions and no re-coding. Usually I find them by checking at the CGI Resource Index-- http://cgi.resourceindex.com . I've gotten calendar systems, poll scripts, all kinds of stuff there. Usually a host will provide Majordomo for mailing list management, so unless you've got a huge list already, you won't need to pay for your ezine.

    I just don't trust that the free services will be around forever, plus they always come with a catch like ads or something, which I'm pretty opposed to imposing on my visitors.

    If you really must use free services, then find the ones that have levels of participation--like at Atomz, you can have free search on your site if you have up to 500 pages. Above that, there's a charge. They also charge for special features. Those kind of free services seem more likely to stick around, because they've got some plan for creating revenue other than ads.
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