Yahoo.com and a number of other search engines and directories recently started charging businesses for submitting their websites to get listed. Is this a good idea? Let’s see.
Imagine walking into your local car dealership to look at a new car. The salesman hurries over and tells you that you must pay $199 before he shows you car. And even if you decide to buy, he might decide not to sell it to you anyway if he doesn’t like way you look.
Yet this is basically what some directories and search engines are doing now. Yahoo tell us that there are no guarantees that you will get your website listed in their directory even if you do pay $199 fee. That money is just to ask them to consider reviewing your website. If they are overwhelmed with submissions they may not get around to looking at it for weeks or even months. How many other businesses could get away with such a lousy attitude?
If you have a question for someone at any of these sites, try asking it. First, you have to search high and low to find an e-mail link or response form. In some cases, you’ll never find it because it just isn’t there. Then, even if you do write, you probably won’t receive a reply.
And what happens if, after paying your $199 fee, Yahoo decides your website just doesn’t come up to their standards? You lose your money with no way of appealing their decision. They just take your money and ignore you.
Add to this their mostly non-existent customer service and we see a recipe for disaster – Theirs.
Then there is ‘hidden’ problem that most users probably never even think about. All we are going to see on Yahoo from now on are companies that have paid to be listed. And of these, some have paid a premium for their listing to be placed at top. Obviously, search results are going to be seriously skewed.
But what is worse, companies that registered with these directories before fee service started now find themselves deleted from those same directories and forced to pay. This is cheating and extortion on a grand scale.
In addition, there are lots of small companies out there that can’t afford to pay out $200 to all these directories in hope of getting some visitors. If even 10 directories charge, that’s a lot of money to fork out – with no guarantee that money will achieve anything.
The only good thing one can say about new Yahoo policy is that they will point out any serious problems with a site when they review it. The client can then get problems fixed and, as long as they get back to Yahoo within 30 days, they can have site reviewed again. But if site still doesn’t come up to standards set by Yahoo, client loses fee and Yahoo laughs all way to bank. Is this any way to run a business?