When we started back in the year 1999, with our novel idea to prepare and make a list as complete as possible of hotels in the Costa Rican territory, since neither the Office of Tourism nor Hotel Association, had a well detailed, and complete one available, we sensed a total success for our idea, it would be slow but surely. At that time nobody had any idea and fewer still knew what Google is. For the first customers to our first website: www.1-costaricalink.com, we had a few hotels in Junquillal, we took the photos still with a film camera . We were very pleased to have found a scanner, where we could scan the negatives, so we did not have to make expensive prints on paper and then scan them.
When we arrived with the first digital camera at our future customers, they were amazed to see the camera. You had to put a floppy disk into the camera to take a large picture or several small ones, depending on the case. We always were accompanied by a huge box full of floppy disks on our touring Costa Rica. Only very few hotels had their own website at that time and since our ads were very large and complete, hoteliers often passed it as their own hotel website.
Our first customers, whom we told then that we were in first place at Google with "Costa Rica Hotels", asked us, what is Google ? When we explained, that it was a search engine, they laughed, no way they said, that's Yahoo! Then we explained them that Yahoo! was an alphabetical index and if a hotel wanted to appear there, had to cancel or pay USD 150 per year. The number "1" in www.1-costaricalink.com, was located in this way, only for reasons of Yahoo! because they put the numerical numbers before the alphabet. The vast majority of our customers did not believe this at that time.
But Google was slowly achieving its goals and was consolidated and becoming very popular all over the world, but many of our customers did not even then understand the difference. One day of the many of our hard work, we came to Puerto Viejo de Limon and full of joy we told the owner of the Hotel Almendros y Corales, that their ad was placed in the first place in Google for their hotel, we were told that we had stolen their first place, or that we were using some trick, and demanded that we remove their ad immediately, although reservations would got directly to them. Even after trying to explain the difference, by all possible means they insisted that we remove the ad from www.1-costaricalink.com even though they had paid several hundred dollars for it. At that time one could buy positions in Yahoo, but not in Goolge.
Slowly but surely Google became popular, but some of the customers still did not understand the difference. For example one day, when we arrived in Puerto Viejo, full of joy at the Hotel Almendros y Corales and reported that their ad is placed first in Google. They said that we must have stolen their own 1st place by using a trick or bribe and demanded that we immediately remove the ad, despite that the reservations went directly to them. Even after trying to explain the difference, they insisted to remove it, although they had paid several hundred dollars for it.
If today anyone looking for "Hotel Almendros and Corales" The first that comes up in search engines is: tripadvisor.com, where you may see a good commentary (which can be a friend, family member, etc.) and the comment can be pretty bad (an enemy, an unhappy person, or the same competition). Then appears one by one an endless list like: despegar.co.cr, and again: tripadvisor.es, and it continues: tripadvisor.com, and so on like: visitcostarica.com, conoscacostarica.com, fortunawelcome.com, despegar.com, turismo-sostenible.co.cr, expedia.com, tripadvisor.com, despegar.co.cr, costaricaviajes.com, ticoturismo.com, trivago.es, tucentroamerica.com, hoteles.costaricavacationcr.com, travelexellence.com, govisitcostarica.co.cr, planetasostenible.net, Adventure Costa Rica.com, and booking.com trivago.com, etc. etc. Obviously we are not in this list. Many of these sites have little or no information and they all want to sell reservations. Of course Google likes this, because then people click on their ads, for example the same trivago.es or trivago.com has advertisements with Google AdWords.
Yes, we were the first pizzeria in the street, there are now so many that we need to offer something better if we want to survive. We have already tested something and it works great. Luckily its expensive and much more complicated to do, so it won't be so easy for others to copy us again. Because of this, October 2015, we started our idea with a project and new site and thanks to our efforts; we are already in the third position in Google with our test page! The big difference is that in our new site: http://www.costa-rica-information-mobile.com/: WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN, NOR DO WE WANT TO SELL RESERVATIONS, we only want to offer the most accurate information, good and full of everything that exists in a specific community in Costa Rican, in a clear and concise manner that can be easily seen and appreciated in cell phones, tablets or PCs, in addition to a very low rate for ads, which barely covers our costs. We think the time of horizontal sites is over. We suspect that we will soon again be pioneers in Costa Rica, because of the great reception we have of this wonderful people.