I fielded a call yesterday about Goodsearch — whether this program by Yahoo! would be worthwhile for an organization to spend time marketing to their constituents.
I fall on the side of extreme caution on these kinds of programs. I’d lump this in with Amazon’s merchant reseller program among hosts of other “make money while your constituents use our store/technology.” With very few exceptions, I have yet to see organizations make net income from these programs that is commensurate with the value of their brand they use to market these programs. When you factor in staff time, the opportunity cost of using an email/newsletter story/print pieces to promote the opportunity, and the brand value you give away for free to promote these … among other investments … organization’s don’t reap what they sow.
Is Goodsearch different? Could it break the model? Maybe because it is a daily experience and utility people truly need, find useful and it’s a quality experience for the constituent. But, to pay off, organizations are going to have to invest a lot in promoting it to convince people to switch from Google.
Is that really the business our organization’s marketing and fundraising departments should be in … convincing constituents to switch from Google to Yahoo!?