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Being found on web
is getting expensive

Steve Wilson has over 35 years as a senior level marketing professional and is the owner of the local Worldsites.network franchise. Worldsites is the world's largest and fastest growing full service Internet Marketing Company with over 550 consultants in 76 countries. Steve is focusing on helping clients to "Be Found", as well as dynamic Website and e-commerce development, database integration, targeted marketing, and economical hosting.

In the last few months, the “price” for being indexed on the search engines has gone from being free to becoming downright expensive.  Since dot.coms have moved from being in an environment where they weren’t expected to make a profit to today’s environment where they must make a profit or die, we are seeing significant changes in what it takes to be listed on the various search engines.

Yahoo! started the new way of doing business by creating a one–time, non-refundable processing fee. They tested the market with several different pricing levels but finally priced the fee at $199. They guarantee the site will be reviewed within 7 business days. If you are turned down, you have a one-time opportunity to reply and explain why you should be included. This is the only way a commercial web site can be considered for inclusion in their Yahoo! directory.

Shortly afterwards LookSmart followed suit and established their Express Submit for $199. They also encourage you to include interior pages of your site and they charge $199 for the submittal of each interior page. A new twist that is buried in their FAQ section is that you only have 30 days to submit a suggested correction to your already listed site, after that you must submit to Express Modify and pay a fee.

LookSmart states the site will be listed in the search directories of MSN, AltaVista, Excite, WebCrawler, Magellan, CNN, IWon, Juno and more than 370 ISP’s. If you go to any of these search engines and go to their Submit a Site area, they all start off by encouraging you to submit via the LookSmart Express Submit process. LookSmart guarantees submission review within two business days and you have a one time right to reply is your site is rejected. 

LookSmart does have a one-time payment program they call Basic Submit for $99 and they state the submission will be reviewed within eight weeks.

Yahoo! and LookSmart both state the submission fee does not guarantee placement within their directories, but covers consideration for inclusion in the directory. They state their editors review each site individually and expend time and effort on each submitted site. For this reason, the fee is for the service an editor provides in reviewing a site, not for the inclusion in their directories. Therefore, once this service has been rendered, regardless of its outcome, users will not receive a refund.

NBCi initially copied the Yahoo! and LookSmart plans but has now come up with a different approach. You must first submit to their free LiveDirectory and then they encourage you to drive even more traffic to your site by paying a one-time $99 processing fee to be listed in their Top Sites Directory. Of course, the Top Sites Directory will be positioned above the LiveDirectory listing when you do a search on NBCi.

Inktomi, a search engines that claims to make your content searchable through 125 partners, including AOL, IWon, MSN, and HotBot, has a totally different plan. They charge annually and the fee is $30 for the first URL per domain and $10 for URL’s 2-1,000. They spider your site every 48 hours and the subscription period is for one year.

GoTo.com, a search engine that charges for placement in it’s listing, has also make some significant changes in their pricing. First, this is the company that paid AOL fifty million, that’s right $50 million, to be featured on AOL. When someone conducts a search on AOL, the first three listings called “Premium Listing”, will be the GoTo listing if someone has paid for the keyword. The GoTo pay for placement listing will also be shown on AltaVista and Lycos. Until March of this year, you could pay as little as 1¢ with no minimum number of clickthroughs per month. Now, the minimum bid is 5¢ and each keyword will have a minimum monthly charge of $20. You can establish an account for as little as $50.

In a related matter, you should be aware that GO.com is in the process of going out of business, In early February, I had submitted one of my client’s website to their Add URL Premium service for the amazingly similar cost of $199. Upon learning of the closure, I contacted my client and advised him of the situation. To my surprise, I received an email a few days later from GO.com that stated since I had just recently purchased the product they were issuing a full refund. I want to thank Disney for this.

I believe this is just the beginning of changes that we can expect to see from the search engines. I wouldn’t be surprised to see all the search engines charging to be listed and instead of being a one-time fee to be an annual fee. Finally, I think this will be the year that many more will go out of business.

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