Everyone once in a while, I see members naturally responding to posts (posted generally from new members) by letting the poster know that they should go out and "google it", especially when it is evedient that the poster has not taken any time to do any research or prepare a clear and concise question in his/her posting. I can understand that frustration, since none of us, or actually most of us, are not here collecting a check for providing assistance. We do it because we enjoy participating on the site.

However, I'm wondering if this type of response is actually counter productive with regard to the ultimate goal of this site which is to generate revenue.

You see in reality, the members of this site are not the customers. Those companies that are advertising here are DaniWeb's customers. We are the product. So if the product is telling the other product to go somewhere else, that's not going to facilitate the goal of generating revenue for the site. No revenue, no site. No site, no product. No product, no customers... hmmmm...

Any thoughts on this???

I've had a similar train of thought recently myself. Often I see answers that consist of nothing more than links to Stack Overflow discussions or articles/discussions on other websites. I think this hurts DaniWeb. From an SEO standpoint, in essence we are generating less unique, high-quality content for DW and at the same time sending traffic to those other sites. The links are nofollowed, so we're not creating backlinks, but I feel like we're not helping grow our solutions library, and just as importantly our community, as we could be.

Lately when I post a response that says "google it" I include an actual link that includes the google search phrase plus "site:www.daniweb.com". For example google SQL injection. If the user clicks on that link he/she is shown a list of threads on DaniWeb that address the particular question. The result is to ensure that the traffic is directed back to this website.

commented: Good idea! +0

However, I'm wondering if this type of response is actually counter productive with regard to the ultimate goal of this site which is to generate revenue.

It definitely is counter productive. I don't know much about search engine algorithms but I would certainly imagine that they try very actively to filter out any sites that are just link relays. At least, some years ago I remember it was much worse when you did a search and half of the pages coming up were other search-like sites or phony forums with links (or not) to other sites, often not any better, and so on, until you eventually found some original content. Now, this is a thing of the past. I imagine there are strong rejection criteria for sites that seem to act only as a hopp to other links, given traffic analysis of those sites. That's why the market of such sites (attract traffic with links, make money with adds) seem to be disappearing (no longer attract traffic due to SE filtering them out), which is a very good thing and promotes original content.

The problem with questions that could simply be googled is that there is no good way to answer them. If you leave it unanswered or simply say "just google it", then that will be frustrating to anyone finding this discussion from google, they will come and go really quickly and that will work against search-ranking of Daniweb. If you give some short answer with some links to some other resource (tutorial, wiki, SO thread, etc.), then that turns Daniweb into a relay for links, which is also penalized. And if you answer the question thoroughly with your own original content / explanation (i.e., one that a visitor for google would stop to read and thus spend some time on Daniweb before moving on), then it'll become very repetive and tiring as you always end up explaining the same old concepts that pop up every week or so.

Technically, the most effective way to solve this problem is to purge the site of any such discussions, similar to what StackOverflow does by strictly enforcing that all questions must not be duplicates of existing questions and should be constructive, otherwise they get removed. That's the point of that policy. But it's not really nice for newbie users who constantly get their questions shut down.

I think that one thing that can help is to try and link to tutorials / code-snippets from Daniweb. If there is a question that often comes up, just write a tutorial about it, put it up on Daniweb, and whenever the question comes up, link to that tutorial instead of a link to the outside world. But that's about all I can think of to remedy this problem.

That's my 2 cents.

My 2 cents worth on this is if this site actually allowed us to put articles under the tuturial tab that could be referenced a lot of this would be less painful all the way around. I would actually like to see the Tutorial section be a wiki of sorts. I know that would have to have some restrictions put on it in terms of deleteing/editing, but I think that a workable solution could be found where one of the staff could review the submissions before allowing the content to go public.