Free-for-All Pages Are the Worst Online Marketing Method … Ever

Hey Small Business Owner, Take a Look at This!

“Submit your website to 104,287 search engines and websites. Before you know it, your website will be seen by everyone on Planet Earth and you’ll have more money in your pockets than you know what to do with. Isn’t that worth the small one-time fee of $34.95?”

OK. Maybe I made that quote up.

Sounds tempting, though, doesn’t it?

It’s so easy and effortless. You know how hard it is to list your website with search engines. It takes time and lots of typing.

If you could only type all of that information once and then send it to all of those websites with the click of a button. Isn’t that what your computer is supposed to do, anyway? Make things easier for you?

The scenario is probably familiar to you. You’ve stumbled on a web page that promises thousands of search engines submissions with relatively little effort. All you have to do is buy their software or subscribe to their service.

All your marketing problems will be solved before you can say, “Your credit card has been charged.”

There is only one minor drawback. It doesn’t work.

I know. They make it sound so convincing. They make it sound so easy. They make it sound so effective. Welcome to the world of marketing hype.

Let’s take a look at what happens behind the scenes . . .

Feeling a Little Overwhelmed?

First of all, these marketing systems want you to believe that there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of search engines on the web that you can submit your website to.

Let’s assume you’re brand-new to the world of online marketing. If you heard about a service that offered to submit your website to 104,287 search engines, you would probably be thinking . . .

“Wow, that’s a lot of search engines I have to visit and enter my website information into!”

and probably also . . .

“I’ve gotta get me some help.”

These marketers want you to think that the job of posting your information to search engines is overwhelming. Otherwise there would be no market for their useless products. But come back to the real world for a moment and think about it for a second.

How Do You Search for Information?

When you want to find something on the Internet, where is the first place you go?

Do you automatically surf over to “Bob’s Quaint Little Seach Engine” at http://www.bobsplace.com/~search/ffasubmit.html

Is “Andy’s Free For All Page” your first choice to find anything and everything you need online.

I bet not.

If my hunch is correct, you probably use something like Dogpile or Google or AltaVista. If you are like me, you might even have Yahoo! set as your browser home page. The point here is that there are only a few dozen search engines that are worth your marketing time, effort, or money.

You’ll either want to stick with the big names that everyone uses, or search out those specialty search engines that cater to your business specialty or niche.

If you are focusing your marketing efforts on the top 86,037 search engines out there, your marketing efforts are way too scattered. You need to narrow down your possibilities by 80,000 or so.

So, what is really being advertised in these marketing products?

These search engine submission programs are really focusing their efforts on something called free-for-all pages.

FFA Programs Revealed

A free-for-all page is a page set up by someone to list links on their website. Most of them accept between 100 and 1000 links at a time. As new links are added, the oldest links on the page are dropped.

The problem with this is that there are thousands of services and software programs that submit to each of these FFA pages on a daily basis. You link, once posted, has an average shelf life of about 4 minutes. After that, it’s moved off the page into Internet oblivion.

And remember that no one ever visits these pages, anyway, so even if your link lasted a very long time – say 8 minutes – the chances are very good that no one will ever see it.

So, How Come There Are So Many FFA Pages?

FFA pages are still a popular marketing method. But not for any reason you would think. Website owners put up FFA pages because it’s a way for them to collect the names and email addresses of people for their own marketing.

When you use a software program or a submission service to submit your links, you will immediately be blasted with hundreds or thousands of emails containing offers to sell other products or services. Most come disguised with a subject that reads like this: “Please confirm your FFA submission.”

Don’t be fooled. You’re link has probably already been displayed and removed by the time you get to that message.

For the host of an FFA page, anyone who submits their web page is a prospect. You can expect to receive email from that person from the rest of your life or until you email provider shuts down your account because you haven’t cleared out our inbox in three weeks.

Bottom Line

FFA pages are a waste of time. So are services that promise to submit your website to thousands of search engines. Next time you’re tempted by this kind of an offer, think about how many search engines you actually use yourself.

You’d be much more effetive if you focused on those dozen or so that are the most popular. You may kill an hour or two of time writing search engine descriptions, but you’ll still have your $34.95 and a nearly empty inbox.

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