I love Blekko! Or, rather, I used to love blekko. The /seo (slashtag) / seo was one of the easiest and best ways to visualize the inbound links for any site on the Internet. For someone who provides SEO courses for small business, the blekko /seo tool was an easy, quick way to help small business marketers reverse engineer their competitors’ link strategy.
No More: As of Today, Blekko’s SEO Tools Are Pay To Play 🙁
Unfortunately, as of today, Blekko’s SEO tools are all pay-to-play. I’m fine with that. Everyone has to make money, and blekko has every right to charge for their tools. I don’t have a problem with paid tools.
What I do have a problem with: marketing stupidity. Here’s the why and how…
Let’s take some real world examples, and you’ll see the stupidity of blekko’s marketing strategy. Let’s imagine WalMart decided they were sick and tired of people just coming into WalMart and browsing the store, and not buying anything. So they decided that before you could enter the store, you’d have to pay $10, just to look. That would seem pretty stupid, wouldn’t it? People wouldn’t pay just to come in and look – so WalMart would turn away many potential customers with its pay-to-look policy.
Or let’s consider Baskin-Robbins (the ice cream chain). Let’s say that the management there said they were sick and tired of people asking for “free tastes” before they got any ice cream. So they said: no more free tastes! It’s pay to play baby. So they’d save the expense of those tiny little spoons, and that tiny little bit of ice cream. But they’d lose the potential customers who want to taste before they buy.
Freemium Works: Free Samples, Free SEO Tools, Free Blekko / SEO Shoulda Woulda Coulda
Free tastes. Free samples. Free look around before you buy. Free isn’t just an American tradition. It’s marketing common sense. Free downloads. Free app’s. Free white papers. Free YouTube videos. Free webinars. Many, many smart marketers have realized the power of free. The power of the “free taste” – the power of freemium models.
Indeed, one of blekko’s big competitors in this market is Open Site Explorer. They allow you to do one free search per day to discover competitors link. Why? Try before you buy. Try out Open Site Explorer. See just how amazing it is. Then, if you like it, try before buying.
It gets worse. Just go to the home page of blekko.com. Imagine you’ve vaguely heard of it. Unless you know to put in /seo or click on the tiny tiny link next to web results, you don’t even realize that they sell an SEO tool.
Blekko Marketing: Dumb
So, in sum, if you are the blekko marketing department. Well, you’re just dumb. I can’t say it kindly because it’s just plain true. You could (and should) have a freemium model – give people a little taste of how amazing the /seo tool is on blekko.com. You’ll get people excited with this free taste, and sell a lot more subscribers than putting it behind a pay wall and even worse, hardly promoting that it even exists.