Lately, Google has been penalizing marketing websites by scaring businesses that use them.
I started my own Directory Portal back in 1998 or so, as a hyperlink resources web directory that promoted not only my clients and customers, but also the websites and online resources that I believed in. As it grew quickly I had many requests to list other websites and went ahead and started approving many submissions in my spare time. I wound up discovering new sites and services in this way, as well.
I really enjoyed this and I felt that I was giving back to the Internet community that I felt indebted to. After all, I was making a living and was my own boss and was able to be just a tiny little bit creative once in a while.
I reviewed every single website that I listed, bar none. Eventually, I had to start charging a little in order to overcome the sacrifice, because the time I was spending keeping the service up to date and viable became extreme.
I had started other niche directories that covered my intetests, more for a hobby, but out of my interests in maintaining directories of relevant resources than anything. Eventually, I added forums and other resources, depending on the niche.
But as a self - employed artist and businessman running a design & marketing studio and domain sales/hosting agency, it became harder to keep up and the cost of the software and a premium decent web hosting platform that would handle heavy traffic and support all the bells and whistles of an advanced web directory. Then, as I was experimenting with different software packages, some of my sites were maliciously hacked.
It is really upsetting when you are hacked. My phpBB forum website was hacked and a few different installed link directory packages were also hacked.
It was clear, I had to be very careful about the software I used to run these sites. So I only used premium Web scripts, and these aren't always free, either.
So as I am saddled with premium fees for software, hosting (although I can discount my hosting, it certainly isn't free), and domains; my time managing these resources (backing up the data at intervals, reviewing submitted listings, updating the software, paying the bills, etc...) has also become a premium commodity.
Obviously I need to offset my investments, my time, my work. So I charge a nominal fee to those who are interested in promoting their online resource in a timely fashion in order to offset costs. But I have never made a profit doing so. This doesn't mean that I won't or can't, because I enjoy doing this and it would be fun to make a little doing it.
But now Google is sending webmasters letters telling them that directories are bad and to remove their links. Talk about trying to monopolize themselves. Google is trying to take out all their competition by removing any confidence in our services. Yet, it is not me that is spamming it's customers with advertising, it is Google.
This is a completely unfair business practice designed to cut the little guy off at the knees before it becomes an impact, no matter how small, on Google.
But Google is NOT a search platform, it is a biased marketing engine that shares all its information with the NSA, and perpetuates spam advertising and email.
So, be careful with Google. Google has its own hidden agenda that takes advantage of us all.
I am personally looking for alternatives to all its services... mail, search, ads, monetization, directory services, comparison shopping, smart phones, tablets, streaming video & audio, socialization, everything.