Modern search engine optimization techniques rely on authors establishing new content articles that contain page links to other articles. These "backlinks" are most often set up on new web sites with new, but related, articles. One such web site that has been established is Friendfeed. It offers subscribers the ability to add some content and link it to content articles elsewhere. Friendfeed uses the customary "nofollow" search engine advice which makes it less helpful to the linked articles. There is a method to view the Friendfeed posts via interest pages. You can view the feeds of all users, ("Everyone"), or the most popular feeds. The Everyone feed is a real time listing of all information coming into Friendfeed. It is unstructured and only shows about 50 or so feeds. The most popular feeds shows about 100 groups. There is no way to see the next most popular groups. Instead, you may use the search tool. There is no listing of categories with sub-categories the way that Infobarrel shows them. The search tool is very fast for short searches such as "Iowa", but very slow for longer searches. A support forum for Friendfeed mentions that they have been having trouble with the speed of their search tool. There are plans to improve response but no time schedule was provided.

There are no advertisements on Friendfeed so they do not use articles to boost revenue. There was a rather prominent link for readers to join Friendfeed. A check of the sign up procedure showed that the Friendfeed web site was free to join. Friendfeed is not an advertising revenue sharing site such as Infobarrel. In fact, there are no ads of any kind on any of the Friendfeed pages. This is fairly unusual for an article content web site. Without subscription or advertising revenue, what is the motivation to establish and operate such a web site?

The Friendfeed web site has an about page that gives some information. This page states that Friendfeed is a service that allows sharing with online friends. It is a fun and interactive way to share information among friends. They say that you can get a customized feed of content that your friends share. You then start conversations about the content using a commenting feature. They mention sharing the Friendfeed information with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. In short, it seems to be something similar to Facebook but without the millions of users or the advertising.

There is also a blog about Friendfeed. This has a number of posts back to October 2007. This was when Friendfeed was started by two people who previously worked at Google. For a web content site, an inception date of late 2007 is very early. Practically three years of operation for a site that appears to have no commercial intent. This is very unusual. Some of the blog posts about Friendfeed mention various press releases that cover the service. The earliest was on the New York Times in October 2007. The New York Times published their article as an introduction. It does not offer any insight into the financial model used by Friendfeed. A review of the other press releases shows similar content describing how useful Friendfeed is compared to Facebook and Twitter. Interestingly, the web sites of the press releases have standard Internet revenue advertising, unlike Friendfeed. The press release articles mention aspects of Friendfeed that were not included in Facebook or Twitter. Since the publication dates, however, these features have been added to Facebook. They may also be included in Twitter, but further research is necessary in that domain.

Of particular interest to authors is the Google page rank of Friendfeed. Their home page is 8 out of 10. This is a very high ranking. It is the same as the main Google search page. While YouTube and Facebook have higher rankings, both of these are owned by Google. Friendfeed also has an Alexa rating of 735, which is very high as well. The fact that Friendfeed has a very high ranking, and was started by ex-Google employees, is quite significant. Other popular content web sites like Infobarrel, Hubpages and Info Pirates have lower page ranks. These are all revenue sharing sites, unlike Friendfeed. The question remains about why Friendfeed is operating and how they are sustaining the service. They have a high page rank but they don't pass it on due to the "nofollow" attribute attached to links. They don't charge a subscription fee for new users. They don't have on screen advertising. They don't charge for posts nor for links. All of the common Internet revenue methods are not used at Friendfeed. With a staff of 12 and a large amount of content, there must be expenses for the Friendfeed company. What business model are they using?

Perhaps the staff of Friendfeed operate as SEO consultants when they aren't working on the web site. If that were so, however, you would expect to see a link to such a service offering. There isn't one. Even on the contact page of the individuals, no mention is made of any consulting services. Perhaps they market such a service via an independent channel. According to Wikipedia, however, Friendfeed was acquired by Facebook in August of 2009 for $15 million in cash and $32.5 million in Facebook stock. This would explain why the Friendfeed features have made their way into the Facebook application. It doesn't explain why Frendfeed is still an independent operating web site. At the very least, one would expect that a transition to Facebook would be promoted or even forced. Perhaps Facebook wanted the technology and will leave the user Friendfeed community alone. This would be unusual for a company like Facebook.

One other author, Duncan Riley, asked about the Friendfeed service. He states that it is "this year's, (2008), Twitter, but why?". He states that it publishes feeds, like Twitter, and accepts comment conversations about the feeds, like Twitter. Why not use Twitter for this? It's a good question. Except for the ability to sell the company to Facebook, there doesn't seem to be a reasonable answer.