Free No More: Blekko’s SEO Tools Are Now A Paid Product

blekko-man-logoBlekko has changed its previously free SEO tools into a paid service, putting it in competition with the likes of SEOmoz.org, Ahrefs.com, MajesticSEO.com, SEMrush.com and other SEO data/tool providers.

There’s been no official announcement of the change, but Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta confirmed to us that the company’s SEO tools and data now require a $99 monthly subscription.

Users trying to access the SEO data — either by directly using Blekko’s /seo slashtag or by clicking on the “SEO” link that appears beneath each listing on a search results page — have been surprised to be prompted to sign-up for the new paid service. This is the messaging that Blekko shows to anyone trying to access SEO data.

blekko-seo

Blekko is currently offering only one price point, and its $99 monthly price is comparable to other paid SEO data/tool providers. At SEOmoz, plans range from $99/month to $499/month. At Majestic SEO, the range is $50/month to $400/month. Ahrefs has plans that range from $49/month to $499/month. And paid plans at SEMrush range from $80/month to $150/month.

Skrenta explained via e-mail why he believes that Blekko’s data and tools are different:

We offer the only web-wide set of ranking, backlinks, anchortext, duptext, and other associated raw ranking data which is validated by an associated search index.

He also tells us that the team is currently working on a set of upgrades that should be complete later this year.

Blekko has been offering SEO data since 2010, and industry reaction to it has generally been positive. But that was when it was free. And as SEOs have been noticing the switch to a paid model this week, there’s already been pushback, particularly to the lack of announcements about the change. (I’ve also seen some SEOs say that the switch to a paid model doesn’t fit with No. 7 on Blekko’s “Bill of Rights,” which says “Search engine tools shall be open to all.”)

The SEO industry has clearly shown that there’s plenty of demand for paid data and tools so, while the switch to a paid model is logical from a business sense, the lack of advance warning won’t help Blekko’s cause. But ultimately what matters the most is whether SEOs find enough value in the data and tools that Blekko offers and the price that it’s asking.

Related Topics: Blekko | Channel: Consumer | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Philip Murphy

    Oh man, I could not be more bummed about this. I was totally working on an awesome blog post about how to use these tools. They are really good and so I figured charging for them would happen at some point.

    But, I think some serious upgrades are in order before I can see adding $99 a month to the expenditure column. Still, this bums me out thoroughly

  • Jon Rouston

    Yeah, it was a great free tool, but it doesn’t get anywhere near rivalling SEOMoz et al. at the same price point…

  • http://twitter.com/ian_williams Ian Williams

    Didn’t Blekko say that the tool, in its original incarnation, would help the general public understand why one site is ranking high, as opposed to another? Not going to happen now!

  • http://twitter.com/dportney David Portney

    I’m surprised that Blekko didn’t do a “freemium” model instead of shutting down all free SEO data.

  • http://twitter.com/dportney David Portney

    I’m surprised that Blekko didn’t do a “freemium” model instead of shutting down all free SEO data. 

  • Chris Koszo

    What @twitter-18490611:disqus said..  And, what @google-ead7f474011bfcbe4a98bc2f4d4cde77:disqus said..  I have a feeling Blekko will have to make a u-turn on this one. There’s no way that for $99 someone will want Blekko over AHREFS, or SEOMOZ Linkscape, or Majestic SEO. Or, even Raven Tools for that matter. Blekko needs a Freemium model for sure.

  • sambumbum

    Majesticseo is cheaper and much better than blekko.
    I am using both from past many months.
    I will never pay a dime to use blekko.

  • http://twitter.com/DocSheldon DocSheldon

    I have to agree with others here, that they should have kept a freemium version. I also think they’ve set their price point too high for what they offer. If I can’t justify $99/month for SEOMoz… I certainly can’t see it for Blekko.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001660389886 Laura Thieme

    We’ve questioned why SEO data is free for a long time.  Bizwatch is an integrated Pay Per Click (PPC), SEO & Social Media Performance Trend Analysis platform, that charges from $129-$499/month for 100-250 keyword phrases, and is integrated with your Google Adwords, Analytics and Wordtracker data.  In the past few months, Google Adwords has updated its API, Analytics as well, Google Custom Search, and most recently as of August 1st, Bing’s organic API has updated.  Charting API services now cost $20/month – and keeping up with the changes require experienced coding developers.  If you can consider that most integrated SEO & PPC reporting platforms have multiple APIs coming into them, the out of pocket cost for each API, plus the cost of keeping them up to date on a monthly basis, no longer allows these services to be free.  Not for long for those that are.

    We know of some companies that charge under $100/month, but we believe that will change due to the increased cost of managing API platforms.

    Those who complain about this aren’t how these companies will build their platform offerings, nor how they can pay the bills or take care of their paying customers.  In addition,  investors don’t like freemium.  So, if investors will no longer pay for free, then customers will have to start paying for the value that the tool brings to the table. 

    I say this as a 15-year SEO veteran who has been tracking SEO performance since 1997, but also as a new tool vendor on the market.

  • http://twitter.com/granitdoshlaku Granit Doshlaku

    I haven’t use it before, i was thinking about trying it one of these days .. i don’t think i’m going to taste their service anymore :(

  • http://twitter.com/bsdeshmukh Babarao Deshmukh

    I don’t think its worth $99 per month. It was a great tool to use for free and they have closed that service completely. That’s horrible!
     They could give it for lesser price. At least they should have a free version that shows some basic data.

  • http://www.esparkinfo.com/ Nitesh Ahir

    To be fair, I think most of us who watched Blekko from the start
    figured this would be coming once the investment dollars started to run
    low. It’s the only sensible thing to do with the business, as building a
    search engine competitor is ludicrously challenging.

  • rmonitor

    They seem to have overrated their value to SEOs compared to other SEO product vendors. They are no closer to Google’s data set than the others and they are somewhat behind in terms of usability and depth of information.

  • cutis

    Major bummer. 

  • http://twitter.com/nsauser nsauser

    I concur with the other comments. Even with their very recent upgrade when they increased their crawl rate and stats they were still behind the tools with SEOMoz. Even SEOMoz tools at times are questionable at $99 per month (recent slow Linkscape updates). I tried to use their search as my main search but it just didn’t work out.

  • http://twitter.com/jaspalkalsi Jaspal Kalsi

    Not a good move at all … overpriced too!

  • http://www.iblogzone.com/ DiTesco

    Hmmm, I played around Blekko’s SEO tool before and although there are some interesting data to get out from it, I am very curious to see what they will come up with to justify that price tag, which to me, appears to be a bit steep. For now, I really don’t see any compelling reason why I would switch to Blekko, in comparison to the other services that I am currently  using. Like you said, a “warning shot” would have probably been a better process…

  • http://www.igorware.com/ Igor

    They could have at least let us view SEO data for our own websites and charge for other websites.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/sanket Sanket Patel

    I don’t agree with this statement that ” The SEO industry has clearly shown that there’s plenty of demand for paid data and tools” SEO people need paid tool because in free version they access limited data. Blekko changes it’s free tools into paid because of competition but i haven’t use these all tools so i did not know about how they are effective as SEO perspective. 

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    There’s no way that I’ll consider paying $99 per month, the same price I pay SEOmoz for a far superior set of tools.  I’d consider paying $20 for Blekko, but no more than that.  Big own goal for Blekko, big win for Ahrefs.com.

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    Agreed, and that way they might have attracted feedback from their users.  This feedback would have told them that $99 is way overpriced, and that they would need to either improve the service or lower the price.  Is anybody going to be paying for Blekko?

  • http://www.iblogzone.com/ DiTesco

    That’s a million dollar question :) Quite frankly and thanks to @google-a564c33d8f4633b9f6a3ff2818269b3d:disqus , I am really mad at this. Now I will have to “amend” the posts I have written about Blekko’s tools in the past and mention that it is now a paid service.

    Anyway, to answer your question, I for one will not use it, period. And I am guessing that very few would find that the ROI for such an investment would be justifiable. Unless they come up with something totally unique and found nowhere else..

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.hayward.7545 Ken Hayward

    That’s for sure Blekko was never that great:>)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.hayward.7545 Ken Hayward

    SEOENGINE is AWESOME!:>)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.hayward.7545 Ken Hayward

    Ditto that:>)

  • http://twitter.com/ignivasolutions Igniva Solutions

    I don’t see it a good move from the search engine’s perspective. They are not any SEO kind of organization. They fall in search engine’s category so likewise Bing, Yahoo, Google they shouldn’t have gone for this move instead should have looked for other earning options.

  • Corey McNeil

    I have been a fan from back when I was in their private beta testing group in 2010. I have a couple of their first run t-shirts even. I am pretty bummed about it and feel that the data is no where near $99 per month.
    With as many options as are out for search engines, the SEO feature was where I saw they stood out. Warning about the change was due to your users. Bad call Rick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/knjbjb Muhammad Osama Hussain

    introducing themselves in the market and when the their importance increases the price of the products also come to the party ! Mean … I respect those people who still do not introduce the price tag in their product ! hats off

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