I got some bad news today in an email from Atomz, whose free Atomz Express Search I’ve been using for a few years. I’ve been using it to put a search on work and personal sites. Up until now the main tradeoff was you had to have a small Atomz logo at the top of your results and you could only use it for up to 500 pages. That was acceptable for a free, very good search, but they are now going to change that:
“For five years as a service to the Internet community, we have provided Atomz Express Search at no charge and with no advertising. To help offset the cost to continue to provide this service, we will be adding contextual advertising before and after the search results. This advertising will be delivered by Google, our advertising partner. The ‘sponsored links’will be purely text-based and will be driven off the search keywords entered. They will be visually distinct from your search results, so your visitors know what results are for your site, separate from the advertising.”
Atomz Search has been one of the better web softwares of any type that I have ever used. It’s results have always had excellent relevancy, it’s very tweak-able and you have total control of the results page appearance. I do understand they have to find a way to make money, but for most of the sites I do advertising links aren’t acceptable. In many cases my client’s budget would allow for buying some sort of Pro version of the software if they offered something like that. Unfortunately Atomz has no middle level product. All they have is the free version and a very expensive enterprise version. I once requested pricing for this enterprise version and it was $10,000 – $15,000. I doubt most users who were going with the free version will be able to step up to the next level with pricing like that. Atomz is really missing the boat because most small to mid-size organizations, who possibly would consider a Pro version worth buying, will turn to a different solution. Seems like a shame to turn away business. For me now, and I suspect many other web developers, because of advertising links and prohibitive pricing, Atomz is now useless.