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  • #972196
    Robert Gerrish
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    Hi all

    Some news just received that Google and MYOB have joined forces to give away 50,000 free, easy to use and maintain websites.

    The nationwide ‘Getting Aussie Business Online’ initiative was announced this morning.

    Starting today, ABN holders can visit the Getting Aussie Business Online website and set up a free website using the MYOB Atlas website creation tool.

    In addition to an ABN, all that’s needed is a phone number, and a few business details such as street address, preferred contact method, and opening hours.

    The website is then available immediately. The Getting Aussie Business Online offer also includes a free .com.au domain for two years and resources to help businesses add information and features to their website over time.

    After the first year, businesses can choose to pay $5 per month on a pay-as-you-go basis to maintain their website using MYOB Atlas. Websites can be cancelled at any time.

    The .com.au domain is free for the first two years, after which businesses can expect to pay $30 to renew for two years.

    So peeps, what do we make of this campaign?

    Robert

    #1054638
    Lara Kilborn
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    • Total posts: 27
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    Hi Robert,

    I’d be really interested to know whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing for SME’s.

    My initial concern would be that because it’s ‘free’ (although we know that nothing’s free), a whole heap of business owners (especially start ups with little capital) will jump on this idea and then try to DIY their own website. What is known about the SEO functionality of this tool? (although google partnering in it could be a good thing). How long are people going to spend trying to DIY their websites when they could be off adding value to their business in their most valuable role instead of trying to become a web designer. Some things are best left to the experts…

    I would want to see a lot more information about the tool and what it does before I recommended it (do you have anymore information?). On the plus side, the bonus $75 google adwords campaign in great for SME’s that already a website and want to try google adwords for the first time . For some people who have a certain skill set and are not going to spend mountiains of time on it (and out of their core business), it could be a cheap alternative when they were not going to engage an expert anytime soon.

    Cheers,

    Lara Kilborn
    Business Enterprise Centre – St George & Sutherland Shire

    #1054639
    Aidan
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    I’ve seen this sort of thing before, free sites can be useful if they are well put together and can be optimised etc but I’ve seen many folk make an awful mess of them too…

    As for Google constantly giving away those introductory freebies, I believe they shoot themselves in the foot more often than not!

    You see if you don’t know what you are doing you will chew through the $75 in no time and have nothing to show for it. This of course leads to many thinking AdWords is useless and giving up on it!

    #1054640
    Warren Cottis
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    • Total posts: 807
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    Excellent comments Lara

    Sounds like a possible option for a one man band but serious businesses need proper content and campaigns and SEO…and a strategy.

    #1054641
    Lara Kilborn
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    • Total posts: 27
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    Thanks Warren,

    I see too many business owners (usually sole operators) that try to DIY everything to save a liitle money and end up removing themselves from where they add the most value to their business.

    I say pick the area/s where you are the most value to your business and do that brilliantly and then outsource or use people in your circle of influence to fill the other gaps. Why would you try and do your own bookkeeping if you have no skills there when you could be adding hunderds of dollars an hour value to yuuor business generating leads for example (and paying a decent bookkeeper MUCH less than that!).

    Lara Kilborn
    Business Enterprise Centre – St George & Sutherland Shire

    #1054642
    Robert Gerrish
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    Lara@BEC, post: 67123 wrote:
    Hi Robert,

    I’d be really interested to know whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing for SME’s.

    Great question Lara…let’s see what the community make of it. There are many very knowledgeable folk on here!

    My initial impressions are that it’s aimed at those who have yet to get a site up and running and if it causes the phone to ring where it wasn’t ringing before, it’s hard to see the offer as anything but positive.

    As with many things is business, where you first start is not necessarily where you end up, but it’s that first step that gets things happening.

    Let’s wait and see…and listen.

    Robert

    #1054643
    lutrov
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    • Total posts: 134
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    As a web specialist to small business professionals, I’m not at all concerned about any impact this campaign could have on my business. As Warren mentioned, if you want to take your online presence seriously, you’ll need a strategy. And that strategy will have to incorporate useful content, and the thing that comes out if it: SEO.

    I think this is a good initiative which should get a lot of small business people at least thinking about why they still don’t have a website. The other thing it’s designed to do is weed out a lot of these “web design cowboys” who rip off businesses by sucking them into thinking they can get a $500 website that works.

    However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised when we eventually find out that the overwhelming majority of business owners who take up this offer do so without a professional strategy. But then again, they wouldn’t have wasted any money, right?

    #1054644
    John Debrincat
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    Don’t stress about this if you are a small web or SEO business. Google have offered free websites (sites.google.com) for a very long time. The difference here are MYOB and that a free domain is offered (for the first couple of years). The more people talk up going online the better it will be for everyone. Just remember that there are around 1.8 million businesses in Australia and small percentage have web presence. So 50,000 is a pretty small part of the total really. Look at it as an opportunity.

    John

    #1054645
    nominal
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    • Total posts: 504
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    John Debrincat, post: 67173 wrote:
    Don’t stress about this if you are a small web or SEO business.

    Should you stress about it if you’re a small business accounting software company – hell yes!

    The main benefits from this program is going to be for MYOB to get even a better hold on the market especially with new businesses.

    If they don’t have a website they must not have been around for long, so this is an excellent opportunity for MYOB (and ad-words) to target these hard to find businesses and market to them like crazy :-)

    The funny part for me is that I came up with a similar idea just a few days ago (smallbusinessdirectory.net.au) where I thought I can get in touch with some new businesses in that way.

    MYOB marketing department is doing a very good job, well done.

    #1054646
    IronMaiden
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    • Total posts: 125
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    My accountant (wannabe) forwarded this through to me yesterday. I had a look at the website and some of their customers sites. I was appauled to find that some have been done with WordPress. The free domain name might be worth it, but why pay for a WordPress website when it’s free to start with?

    There’s no indication of what you get for your money, ie do they do the layout and graphics for you? My overall impression was that it was too good to be true and a bit dodgy in that they’re preying on those who know little about computers, SEO, etc. After reading untrue comments on the MYOB forum written by their people (just to get people to upgrade) I’m always a bit suspicious of the latest and greatest from MYOB.

    #1054647
    AdServe
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    • Total posts: 112
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    Im not in the website dev biz anymore (thank God).. Google is going to steam roll everyone.. all the $1500 couple of page websites are gone now.. Google places, Google Realestate, Google Classifieds.. they do all of this at no profit margin and the only hope for others is that they can find a niche industry that Google would not want to get into for 10yrs+. Everyone should try there best to limit what money they are pushing Googles way or.. get a job there/invest.

    #1054648
    Karen @ JIVE
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    • Total posts: 8
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    As a ‘brand spanking’ new business owner I was tempted by the offer of a free domain name so, yes, accepted MYOB/Google’s offer. However, the main motivator for me to do so was to create a professional email address using my business name. Much to my dismay this is NOT possible if you’ve registered your domain via MYOB/Google. A HUGE oversight and quite a problem for small businesses wanting to convey an appropriate level of professionalism. Your bad MYOB & Google!!!!!!!!

    #1054649
    nominal
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    • Total posts: 504
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    Karen @ JIVE, post: 82154 wrote:
    bad MYOB & Google!!!!!!!!

    LOL :-)

    As I said many times before, the main benefiters here are not the small businesses…

    It always amazes me how small businesses struggle to make a sale to customers, but as soon as they need to make a purchase they will almost always seek out the bigger companies. strange isn’t it?

    #1054650
    MrSmithers
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    • Total posts: 35
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    Sign up, get free .com.au. Terminate service with 5 days written notice. Transfer domain and then have you 720 days to get a REAL website done. ;)

    MYOB ATLAS – Terms of Use wrote:
    5 Termination

    5.1 How can you end your participation in MYOB Atlas?

    (a) You can cancel your participation in MYOB Atlas at any time during your free one-year period by giving us written notice. The effective date of termination will be 5 Business Days after you have provided notice. Your participation in MYOB Atlas will cease on the effective date of termination. Refer also to section 5.3 below for important content about what happens on the effective date of termination.

    MYOB ATLAS – Terms of Use wrote:
    3 Domain name service

    3.1 .com.au domain name at no charge for two years

    (a) If your business meets the .com.au eligibility criteria, you can apply to register a .com.au domain name at no charge for the initial two-year license term. This domain name may only be used in conjunction with your MYOB Atlas Service.

    (b) Registration of a .com.au domain name at no charge is your responsibility. Follow the prompts within MYOB Atlas.

    (c) The .com.au domain name licence is valid for two (2) years, after which a renewal charge will apply every two (2) years.

    If you chose to cancel your MYOB Atlas website service, your .com.au domain name will remain under our management until you elect to transfer it to the management of another auDA-accredited registrar (at no charge to you).

    #1054651
    altima
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    • Total posts: 131
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    AdServe, post: 70531 wrote:
    Im not in the website dev biz anymore (thank God).. Google is going to steam roll everyone.. all the $1500 couple of page websites are gone now.. Google places, Google Realestate, Google Classifieds.. they do all of this at no profit margin and the only hope for others is that they can find a niche industry that Google would not want to get into for 10yrs+. Everyone should try there best to limit what money they are pushing Googles way or.. get a job there/invest.
    I wouldn’t see the situation so dramatic. There are a lot of opportunities to get free or almost free web site for long time (remember Geocites?), as John Debrincat mentioned Google offers their sites for several years as well. So right may difference is that now it comes with free domain?

    I don’t think that this is a threat to professional web developers, after people play with that free websites, those who are serious about the online side of their business come to us :) And those who are not wouldn’t do it anyway.

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