Nice Idea, Google!
About a month ago I launched an SEO tool named the Website Health Check tool. The launch was quite successful, so Google decided to block my tool, then added its features to Google Webmaster Central. You shouldn't artificially manipulate the link graph or screw with other people's sites, unless you are Google.
I can plumb around Google blocking it, but there are a limited number of types of webmaster tools that interface with search engines that can be provided to the general public without either being cloned by the search engine or having the search engine serve you some type of retribution for creating them.
Editorial judgements are rarely equitable, and nobody wants to have sitelinks, but have them appear at the top of the 5th page of the search results for their own brand.
New Media is a Key to Growth (ish)
I have never created a Facebook application and have no intent in doing so, because if I am successful they would likely steal my idea and find a way to ban or silence me and/or halt and clone my project. Which is sorta what Kevin Rose did to a Digg member who created an unofficial Digg group on Facebook.
The Transition From Open to Close
Sure that Google maps API is open today, and so are many other data sources, but after they buy enough marketshare look for that to change. The big networks are only open in markets they are losing. What did they do to their SOAP search API after they had enough market leverage? They killed it.
Relying on APIs or scraping data from someone else's platform only has value if you can aggregate it from many sources, do it in a way that is hard to block, add substantial value, have alternative data sources, and you are creating something that you know the data sources you are relying on will not clone for a strategic reason.
Wanted: Writer, Editor, & Marketer...Pay: $0
All these networks pretend that they care about you, but they are vultures. Their data is their data. Their ideas are their ideas....and so are your ideas, unfortunately. If you find yourself becoming someone else's user generated content, or your business can be described as a feature on someone else's product, you are wasting your time.
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