Thursday, February 23, 2006

Distruptive Technology Alert

Via Jim Calloway's Practice Tips (yes, you'd be surprised at the range of blogs I read in a day), I've just learned that Google has released the Google Page Creator, a design-your-own-webpage tool.

Google says:
"No technical knowledge required. Build high-quality web pages without having to learn HTML or use complex software...Your web pages will live on your own site at"
Jim Calloway's response was that professionals need their own domain name and not one at Google pages, but any web presence is better than none.

My reaction is that while Google's new tool continues to democratize the web, it is also going to cause nightmares for professional web designers who create pages in the $500-$1000 market.
Professional Designer: Sure, we can make a professionally designed for ACME Anvils. That will run you $750.
Angry Client: Hey, why should I pay you all that money when my kid made a great page for his World of Warcraft Guild for free?
I wasn't paying attention back then, but I'm guessing that the launch of Geocities caused a similar ripple at the bottom pricing tier of the web design community. Anyone around who remembers and can comment? And Geocities can't be happy about today's new development; I don't imagine the Google Pages launch bodes well for Geocities' ad revenue.

The solutions for professional web designers:
  • be aware of the market change and anticipate the customer position;
  • distinguish your company with superior product and services;
  • be prepared to explain the value that you bring as a professional, and in turn, be prepared to deliver real value;
  • ideally, reposition your company into a higher-level market.
In general, I've always believed that the safest long term strategy is to position a business or service at the top of your own competency, continue to develop your skills, and offer a superior product/service along with superior customer service around that offering.

Otherwise, I don't know how entrepreneurs and especially small business people could be excited about getting up in the morning to work so hard.

By the way, Google has already maxed out their current Google Page accounts, but you can enter your email for an update when you accounts are made available.

I also wonder if Google Pages will have high-authority with the Google Search engine, so you can boost the rank of an independent site with outbound links like you can with an Orkut profile. Does anyone know yet? Jim Calloway links to an article on Google Blogoscoped that also wonders if Google Pages is a new gift to Search Engine Optimization.

Update Mark Evans (no relation, even though he is Canadian) has an interesting post up discussing Google's scattered strategy of introducing new tools. Well worth reading. Also, note that the Google Blogoscoped article includes screenshots if you're curious about what the new tool looks like.

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