18 Jun 2003
I’ve been using Atomz to provide search services for this site for about 4 years now. The free service will serve search results for 500 pages; any more than that and you need to pay. I’ve been very happy with the quality of the atomz service. The search results were great, the customized templates allowed me to seamlessly integrate search results into the site, and I get weekly reports on what people are searching for.
But all that came to an end about six months ago when I broke the 500 page barrier. Suddenly recent things I’ve written aren’t being indexed. A search for “Zempt” for instance, returns no results. So it’s time to change my search strategy. I figure I have three options. I could sign up for another search service like Freefind. I could install a site search tool like mnogosearch. Or I could sign up for the paid Atomz service.
I looked into the paid Atomz search engine and what I found was pure stupidity. The product manager in me guesses that their free product is probably aimed at and used by primarily small publishers. This includes small businesses, individuals, and non-profits. So you would imagine that they would have a paid service that is also aimed at those users. Something to encourage people to upgrade from their free offering to their paid offerings. But they don’t. According to the Atomz sales guy who contacted me, their paid search service starts at $15,000 per year. That’s a big leap from free. It’s obvious that the product is targeted squarely at enterprise customers. So the marketing advantage they have from their superior free service is completely wasted. I don’t know many people who would jump from a free service to one costing $1250 per month just because they have a few new pages.
Don’t get me wrong. Atomz is a great service and well worth $15,000 for a larger business. The search results are stellar — much better than I’ve seen on most internal searches. But why would you offer a free service — something that is going to be used by people without money to spend — when your target customer is a large company with lots of money?
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