I was contracted to do SEO for iMapia.com
It seems that Google doesn't mind anything on their search engine unless it directly threatens any of their core applications.
After considerable efforts at optimizing iMapia.com for several different keyword phrases and aspects of the mobile mapping software, it seemed that it was time to target the market for "driving directions and maps".
Several on-page and off-page SEO techniques were used and hand-submission to many directories was done. At a certain point, one would think that a keyword phrase that receives 55,000 to 100,000+ searches per month according to overture, would deliver a fair amount of traffic if you were placed at position #14/15 on page 2 of Google "above the fold". Top 20 results are usually a good bet for traffic, with a large number of searches per month as with this keyword phrase.
However, since I began SEO on iMapia in August of 2006, it has been a steady 150-200 visits per day. Yes, you read that correctly. No increase.
In addition, an adwords campaign is constantly running for the same keyword phrase "driving directions and maps", so you would think that at least that would pull some traffic.
It seems that since iMapia's software is 90% cheaper data cost than Google Mobile Maps when the cell phone bill arrives and because it is 95% more efficient than Google maps, it is a threatening contender in this field.
This is with only a skeleton crew and very limited resources. What if it were to take off and have more resources. Obviously, iMapia would become a problem for Google.
This is where it becomes advantageous to own Google. Not only can they spot sites that are getting a lot of traffic for possible buy-out, but they can also control the flow of traffic to explosive "up-starts" that they see as potentially threatening.
Here is the site: http://www.imapia.com
So not only do we have the problem of small business ideas being stolen on the Internet (large businesses are too smart to steal your technology, they steal your ideas), now whenever you enter an area that Google has a particular interest in owning, you can forget about many people finding out about it, at least through Google. This I find amazing. The site has also dropped from a PR8 to a PR6, however, I have noticed that lower PR scores may be universal at this time across the web.
What do you think?
Is Google blocking or throttling down traffic to competitors' sites?