24 December 2006
A needle in a haystack with 100,000,000 blades
I did some math, and I've figured out a way to make sure that all of these websites are indexed. Here's what I discovered.
- Between October and November 2006, approximately 3.5 million sites were created. Assuming that my team would be responsible for inventing a set of keywords for the whole site -- and not for individual pages or parts of pages -- we would have to build 3.5 million keyword sets.
- Let's further assume that on average, every website would have four keywords or key phrases. For example, this blog would get the keywords "Seth Maislin," "indexing," "blog," and perhaps my company name, "Focus Information Services." Ideally we'd have the time to invent many more, since it's our goal to help the website perform well at the various search engines, but this team simply can't give everyone special attention. So I'm making the executive decision to limit ourselves to creating 4 terms each for 3.5 million sites.
- Assuming that we can invent and type one keyword every two seconds -- a conservative estimate, given that my company name takes me a minimum of two seconds to type -- we'll need 28 million seconds to get the job done.
- Now remember, we're just taking about the new sites created in October 2006. Consequently, we have only a month to get the job done before we have to start indexing the November 2006 sites. For this reason, I'm going to build a team of several people, with each one putting in eight hours per day, twenty days each month. That's 576,000 seconds per person per month.
- Dividing 28,000,000 seconds per month by 576,000 seconds per person per month gives me 48.1 people, which I'll round to a nice 50 people. That means I need a team of just 50 people to get the job done.
At U.S.$50,000 per year per indexer, which is quite modest for a highly intense round-the-clock job like this, plus $100,000 for me as manager, I could probably put together a bid of about $350,000/year to get the job done. Given how many billions of dollars are spent or exchanged over the Internet today, that seems quite reasonable, too. Heck, I should triple the whole thing, since we'd have to re-index the old sites every once in a while. Maybe I should double it again, too, so we'd be allowed to use eight keywords instead of four.
So let's see, that brings the total bill to to $2.1 million. Gosh, that isn't bad at all, is it? I mean, we all agree that indexing the Internet is at least a two-million-dollar-per-year business, right?
Except it's not. Indexing the Internet is a zero-dollar-per-year business. No one is doing it. Just about no one seems to care about quality keywords. In fact, there are only two industries that exist around keyword creation. One of them is misnamed "search optimization," which is about spamming the heck out of the Web. Optimize, I think not: this is the opposite of the intelligent product my team would be build. The other business is the search business itself, companies springing up around those fancy algorithms that Google, Yahoo, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, and the rest use. The thing is, those algorithms are just word-matching machines. These engines are looking for keywords, but none of them is actually writing any. So you see, no one with indexing training is writing any keywords. The inexpensive market for human indexers is being completely overlooked.
Guess it's not worth the two million.