Where Are Search Engines Going? Paid Inclusion Trend Emerges

Written by Mike Banks Valentine

The Search Engine Strategies conference and show, sponsored by AltaVista, Search Engine Watch and Internet.com on August 16-17 provided a glimpse of several emerging search trends,repparttar biggest trend is toward "Paid Inclusion." The show, held in San Francisco atrepparttar 128410 Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, provided a look at where search is headed.

Paid inclusion isrepparttar 128411 latest of several revenue producing models considered by search engines asrepparttar 128412 cost of indexing a much larger and more complex web increases and advertising revenue declines. Paid inclusion was started quietly by several previously free search engines as a revenue producing move recently.

Virtually everyone scrambled for new business models when banner advertising effectiveness declined steeply in 2001. Search engines had relied heavily on banner advertising to generaterepparttar 128413 only income they were seeing in sparse times. Whenrepparttar 128414 tech economy took a nosedive in 2001,repparttar 128415 justification given by advertising companies for continued banner advertising was now as a "Branding" strategy rather than a sales technique.

To satisfy investor demands for such absurd things as "profit"repparttar 128416 search engines began probing for new cash infusions and realized that they could no longer rely on advertising to support free submissions. Since nobody was looking at banner ads any more (or at least not clicking through) support for free search listing nearly disappeared.

Who benefits from search engines most? Those who receiverepparttar 128417 traffic from searches. Simple. Who should pay for that traffic? Those who gain that traffic. Simple. How do you charge them? Ah! Now things get more complex.

Goto.com wasrepparttar 128418 first to introducerepparttar 128419 novel idea of charging businesses for traffic generation directly with "Keyword Bids" starting at a penny per click-through. Now companies began to bid for top positions knowing that being atrepparttar 128420 top ofrepparttar 128421 list was worth more traffic than being further downrepparttar 128422 page.

Reaction torepparttar 128423 CPC or cost per click model in 1998 was nearly unanimous fromrepparttar 128424 web community, especially while banner advertising revenues were still a viable business model for search engines. It was, "You can't charge for search listings! It'll never fly!" "Searchers won't trustrepparttar 128425 listings they receive on a pay-per-click basis because they are now 'tainted' with commercial results!" At that time, in 1998, nobody believed first, that people would pay for traffic and second, that searchers would trust paid listings.

It very quickly became apparent afterrepparttar 128426 decline in revenue from banner advertising in 2000 andrepparttar 128427 dismal performance of banners in delivering traffic that pay-per-click was actually going to work for GoTo. At that point several new pay for performance models were adopted by start-up PPC search engines, and being first to market withrepparttar 128428 idea, GoTo dominatedrepparttar 128429 crowd.

It was then thatrepparttar 128430 900 pound gorilla, Yahoo stunnedrepparttar 128431 web with a $199 charge for a review of a commercial web site. Wait, not $199 to be listed, but $199 to be LOOKED AT by a reviewer. It was still not a guarantee of inclusion inrepparttar 128432 directory! Search engines started thinking about that and realized that Yahoo hadrepparttar 128433 clout to demand money to be reviewed, not listed, but reviewed.

Whilerepparttar 128434 major search engines stewed onrepparttar 128435 dramatic move by Yahoo, they quickly realized that demanding money to be reviewed would not work for them because they actively sought out sites by sending "spiders" out to "crawl"repparttar 128436 web and index pages. Search engines wanted to be exhaustive in their coverage ofrepparttar 128437 web and catalogrepparttar 128438 entire thing, not justrepparttar 128439 good sites, but ALL of them!

When Google surpassedrepparttar 128440 1 billion page mark they tooted loudly that they had indexed more ofrepparttar 128441 web than anyone else. This was seen as a milestone in search history and becamerepparttar 128442 goal of many ofrepparttar 128443 top search engines. Let's indexrepparttar 128444 entire web! That prospect becomes very expensive for search companies and someone has to pay for it. But how? We can't all become pay-per-click engines if we want to index ALLrepparttar 128445 web, because only a limited number will pay to be listed. So they all stewed about it some more.

Meanwhile, several other directories followedrepparttar 128446 lead of Yahoo and began to charge to be listed. It became accepted at multiple directory sites, notably at LookSmart and NBCi. Several special interest and topical directories had been charging for listings longer, but directories that listed everyone had a harder time justifying those charges. Yahoo can do it becuaserepparttar 128447 entire world knows of Yahoo and wants to be seen there. Vertical portals can charge because they draw a very targeted searcher seeking specific businesses. It's worth paying for that targeted traffic.

Is $299 Too Much To Get Listed?

Written by Sage Lewis

When it comes to marketing onrepparttar search engines, LookSmart has always been mandatory as far as SageRock is concerned. But nowrepparttar 128409 choice isn't quite as ironclad. The reason is because they have recently increasedrepparttar 128410 cost of their "Express Submit" program from $199 to $299. This service guarantees they will review your site within two business days. They also have a "Basic Submit" program that will get your site reviewed in eight weeks. This program went from $99 to $149.

Butrepparttar 128411 paying doesn't end there. LookSmart has multiple ways for you to spend your cash. You are able to userepparttar 128412 "Express Submit" program for up to 5 different URL's of your site. This is handy if you have distinctly different sections of your site. Each URL will cost you $299.

Additionally, if you are not happy with your LookSmart listing you can now utilizerepparttar 128413 "Express Modify" program. You are able to change your description for $199 and you are able to add an additional category inrepparttar 128414 LookSmart directory for your site for $149. However, if you are changingrepparttar 128415 address of your site you must userepparttar 128416 $299 "Express Submit" option.

For those of you with a healthy marketing budget you can get involved withrepparttar 128417 "LookListings" program. This starts at $2500 a month for a pay-for-performance program.

Why allrepparttar 128418 aggressive pricing options? Jupiter Media Metrix, a leading Internet and new technology analysis and measurement company, reported in June 2001 thatrepparttar 128419 LookSmart Network reaches 77% of Internet users inrepparttar 128420 US, through 5 of repparttar 128421 top 10 portals, 5 ofrepparttar 128422 top 10 ISPs, and hundreds of additional ISP and media partners worldwide. These partners include Microsoft's MSN, Excite@Home, AltaVista, iWon, NetscapeNetcenter, Inktomi and AOL Time Warner just to name a few.

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