It seems to me web site owners are getting silly again. As Rand Fishkin pointed out at SEOMoz, site owners are getting interested in SEO for reasons outside of traffic.
And some of the purchase prices of “aged” web sites are pretty staggering as well. Just look at Sitepoint, Websitebroker and Digitalpoint to see for yourself.
Pixel ads? PPC bidding wars? The list goes on.
I’m not really sure where all this is coming from. Are site owners really getting that desperate? Or are they that misinformed?
It probably comes down to a lack of standards where measurement is concerned. You can purchase an Adsense add for $1.00 per click or buy a banner ad for $30 for the month. Depending on the target, this may be the same amount of money spent at the end of the month but I doubt it.
And then it’s made worse by a lack of standards around how SEO/SEMs charge for services. It makes things difficult to apply a “true” value on web sites and services like advertising.
How much of this strangeness is our responsibility as SEOs? How much time should we invest in educating out clients? Should we advise them away from SEO for purposes beyond traffic? Does it make sense to spend $2000 optimizing a site that isn’t going to get a return no matter how much traffic you throw at it?
This loose thinking is what caused the first Internet bubble to burst. If we aren’t careful SEO could become the second wave of online insanity. There will come a time where digging up work becomes a challenge for even the most talented of us as the rise of speculation and stupidity gives way to the light of reason and accountants.