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Ink Plans On Ending Free Submission

 8:48 pm on Nov 12, 2000 (gmt 0)

Just got back from the SE strategies conference in Dallas. One of the more interesting developments was the statement from Inktomi that they will phase out the free Add URL program in the near future.

I also got some confirmation that they have definitely been adding a spam penalty to free submissions and that they will remove the penalty if you pay.



 2:00 am on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

>>Just got back from the SE strategies conference in Dallas. One of the more interesting developments was the statement from Inktomi that they will phase out the free Add URL program in the near future.<<

This does not surprise me as it would be kind of ridiculous to pay for listings while others were added free.

>>I also got some confirmation that they have definitely been adding a spam penalty to free submissions and that they will remove the penalty if you pay.<<

Now this I'm surprised at. They are penalizing people that are adding sites legally and spam free through their add-url? Why bother taking free listings at all? This means they are blackmailing people into using their paid services? I find that hard to believe, even for Ink!


 2:14 am on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

Folks, do you see Inktomi surviving as a major player in the near future? How much would you pay to be a passenger on the Titanic?


 4:16 am on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

You couldn't have said it better! We noted in another post, that we used the same page formula for our "paid" submissions, as the one's that have been getting buried over the last 90 days through the "free" submission routes. Go figure?

We have a #8 ranking for home improvement loans across the board. When Yahoo used Inktomi, this listing would have received decent click through numbers, even though it required a click through the "web page results" drill down tab. I guess AOL users, haven't figured out the "Web Pages" tab, is an active link? Cause click through numbers have been terrible on that listing. And we know that searches for that keyword phrase are numerous. What does that tell you about AOL demographics? :)

MSN doesn't cluster results, so the "spam kings" still have an open run there. iWon searchers just click a enough searches to get their 100 daily points, then go bye-bye, and Hotbot users have to wade through DH, then a few DMOZ listings, to get to the meat....

Maybe the "home improvement loan" market is an up-and-coming boom in Japan, and we need to concentrate on Goo? :)

We're going to keep tuning, cause it's in our blood, and I wouldn't know what to do with all the free time I'd have, if I ended the "INKTOMI" frustration....

But any Inktomi staffers, if you are "lurking", you took a left turn, down the wrong way, of a "one way" road, to SE death..... You are too late, to take on Goto, and AV/FAST/Google will eat you alive in the International arena...

By the way, I'm not saying that Inktomi as a corporate entity is going away.. They have publicly stated they are changing the focus of their "core" business. They recently purchased Infoseek's UltraSeek Engine, and have other vertical markets they are concentrating on. I don't know if their stock value will retain the levels, that we saw in '99, but they are a long term player, with a lot of infrastructure. Not that their business plan does us much good for SEO, though.... :(


 7:56 am on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

would love to be a fly on the wall at some of ink's partners head offices now, makes you wounder if the buzz word is google ;)


 5:02 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

If Ink is to be pay-for-play, they might as well go all the way and make the spammers pay for indexing too. My sample page is buried so deeply under spammers at MSN and AOL that I'm not about to pay for more pages to be indexed. If the spammers have to pay, they'll go away and people should get their money's worth for the idexing fee. Otherwise, the spammers win.


 5:43 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

I think the future of Ink as a search engine depends on how they expand the pay-to-play program. I'm sure everyone remembers how close to death LookSmart came when everyone jumped to ODP. Now that LookSmart has introduced a program that pays part of the submission fee to its partners, portals have dropped ODP like a hot potato.

If Ink expands the program to theses partners, it becomes more difficult for someone like Google to come in and replace Ink. Another thing to consider is that AV and Go also announced that they will be introducing pay programs in the near future.

The SE that survives and becomes the dominant backend provider will be the one that comes up with a model that provides portals with the best possible revenue model.


 6:00 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebGuerrilla - do you have a business relationship with Inktomi?


 6:47 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

No, not at all. Why, am I coming across as an Inktomi plant?:)


 7:39 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

I didn't think you were a plant, you have a seo history that's very well known. I was wondering if you are wrapped up in the Inktomi "pay-to-play" schemes, or something that isn't public yet.

I am sure there are hundreds of seo firms that are manoeuvring (or trying) to be in such a position.


 8:21 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

>Folks, do you see Inktomi surviving as a major player in the near future?

Unfortunately, given the climate of SEs and their pay-for-play policies, I personally am afraid that Inktomi will indeed remain a major player -- possibly more than they have been since they left Yahoo.

In fact, I made the decision on Saturday to replace the WebCrawler page with an Inktomi page on my site. *sigh*


 8:25 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

Yes, there are definitely many SEO companies who are interested in becoming part of the program. It isn't something I personally have entertained. The amount of time and effort we would have to allocate would be to great. It's hard enough to keep up with our current workload.

I do however, think that Ink's willingness to consider smaller partners is a good thing. They even made a point to point out how impressed they were that PositionTech was able to tool up and beat NSI to the punch. I personally cringed at the thought of having to move domains back to NSI in order to be able to participate.

I'm hoping that as other SE's roll out their programs, that they will adopt similar attitudes.


 11:12 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

If Inktomi ever goes totally pay for listing I expect many more portals will dump them and look for additional search services such as Google. Inktomi are now a third rate service now that Yahoo has dumped them.My prediction is that MSN and Aol will be the first to abandon ship. Just my opinion.


 11:29 pm on Nov 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

Why would MSN drop Inktomi if they had an opportunity to put a portion of all submission fees collected at their site in their pocket??

They already do this with LookSmart. Right now, portals pay to have secondary search results provided. Now they will have an opportunity to go from paying money for spidered results to making money from spidered results.

It seema like a no brainer to me.


 12:07 am on Nov 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

So, under the best projections this system will be an effective syphon of cash.

webmaster ->
webmaster -> ------------------------> msn
webmaster -> positiontech -> Inktomi -> aol
webmaster -> ------------------------> hotbot
webmaster ->

The propaganda coming out of Ink, AV and the people who are benefiting from this scheme is that this is to "combat spam." The SEs should just be forthright - this has everything to do with cash.

WebGuerrilla - what about any business relations with AV or positiontech?


 12:33 am on Nov 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

Why would MSN drop Inktomi if they had an opportunity to put a portion of all submission fees collected at their site in their pocket??

I ask myself Why Not, Why did Yahoo get rid of Inktomi and go with Google? Did they know what was coming and refused to become apart of a doomed program, in my opinion. If Inktomi goes totally the pay route it will prevent a lot of high quality sites from getting listed and will lessen the importance of the Inktomi database. If people dont find what they are looking for they will go to another engine. If enough traffic leaves one particular search engine that will eventually affect how much they can charge for advertising and the bottom line. They will then re-think whether a short term gain in money from all submission fees will be enough to make up for the loss in advertising revenues.In my opinion, the founders of Google have the right idea and will be the real winners in the long run. In addition, you will find a lot of webmasters very tight with their money and many will prefer to pay for a Looksmart listing than pay for Inktomi which is going downhill everyday. Of course these are my opinions based on what I believe will happen.


 12:49 am on Nov 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

None of the above:)

However, I will freely admit that I know Jim Stob of PositionTech. We have spoke several times on the phone and he attended the Advanced Promoters Track that I hosted in Dallas last Thursday.

Jim, like many of us who frequent this forum started as a boot strapped work-from-home type of company. He has developed some great tools and has experienced incredible growth in a very short time.

I certainly don't consider him or PositionTech as an accomplice in the evil conspiracy. Rather, I see him as an entrepreneur who saw a trend developing, and took the risk to capitalize on it.

I think the thing that often gets lost in this discussion is the fact that the market will change an evolve either way. There comes a point when I think we should spend less time discussing whether or not we like the changes and a little more time talking about how we as SEO firms will need to alter our business models to accomidate and adapt to the new changes.


 1:03 am on Nov 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

I gotta admit that Jim Stob is in a position that many of us wish we were in. In the inktomi dessert he found a lemon tree, he took the lemons and made lemonade. Now he's selling the drink to the dehydrated at $10 a pop.


 8:54 am on Nov 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

for what it's worth my thoughts on paying, lets face it we are discussing whether ink will move over to pay only for listing, surely they're doing this already, as we know if you don't pay you get burried.

but on a personel note I don't think it's a bad deal.


 12:28 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

I've been dropping by different forums to see what the reaction has been to the Inktomi program, and one strong theme seems to be confusion over what it means if free Add URL is shut off. So, let me post something I also put elsewhere, and apologies if you already saw it -- but it addresses some of the same issues being raised here.

The new program does NOT eliminate normal crawling. We should still see pages from sites across the web be included for free. Inktomi has said this repeatedly. If this doesn't happen, then the quality of their results would indeed diminish. However, they have absolutely said the opposite. Normal crawling to gather "free" pages will continue.

It does allow site owners to guarantee the pages they find essential to be listed. Not surprisingly, the pages we as site owners think should be included aren't always what the crawlers pick up. Especially in an age where link analysis is being used to determine what "popular" pages to include, this system lets us all finally have a way to get the pages we want in, albeit in an expensive fashion (to some).

It does mean that free Add URL will probably go away. In short, so what? Google and Excite are just two examples of search engines where the Add URL page really has little to do with what they pick up. Instead, they depend more on link analysis and other means to decide on their own what they want to index. No one is suggesting that a search engine like Google is bad because of this.

Indeed, you really only need a Add URL system for pages which have no external links pointing at them -- which, surprise, would tend to be doorway pages. Solution? Implement hallways or sitemaps that list these pages, if the Inktomi Add URL system indeed finally closes.

Just a few other off topic things. Inktomi is paid inclusion, but paid placement is also on the rise. Does that mean SEOers should panic. Absolutely not.

Your clients want you to help them get traffic from search engines. They generally do not want to do the work themselves. They also generally do not have the most important skill set you possess, the ability to understand how to target a web site in relation to keywords. Traffic is nothing. Targeted traffic is everything. If you are successful in SEO, really successful, it's not because you know keyword densities, doorway page strategies, etc. It all starts because you know how to understand the ways a potential audience searches for your client sites. That's not going away as a skill, and indeed, your ability to deliver targeted traffic is improving with these systems. The big challenge will be in the pricing -- doing hours of work for a slice of a small pay per click account isn't fun. However, you should also expect to see search engines begin catering to your needs in the coming months. They finally realize that rather than being an enemy, the SEO industry is a potential partner. They'd rather deal with you and your good skill sets than thousands of individual clients. That means to expect bulk pricing plans and other incentives.

Finally, for a bit more about the Inktomi program and others like it, be sure to read my recent article:

Paid Inclusion At Search Engines Gains Ground

Also, feel free to drop me email as you experiment with the Inktomi system and find pros or cons. I'm very curious as to how the community will be finding it.


 12:50 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

>Normal crawling to gather "free" pages will continue.

Sure, but where will these pages rank?
Are you seriously suggesting that, contrary to the experiences of the members here, Ink are not "boosting" sites that are part of the "pay to play" deal?


 1:01 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

to steal KP's line, in "real estate" the free stuff starts around page 550.


 1:10 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

The thing that I love about SEO is that an individual with some skill and a lot of moxie could take $500 and turn it into a living. I'm afraid those days are coming to a close. Danny, maybe you should rename your web site


 1:22 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

>the free stuff starts around page 550.

Some of us real smart cookies have been able to get to 423. ;)

Time to say bye bye to Ink as a force in search, any company that can show such disrespect to it's potential customers [SEO's] and at the same time treat the end users of it's service with contempt deserves to wither and die.


 3:08 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

I am not sure who Inktomi thinks they're kidding when for months they let the same people they now expect to pay, languish in a sea of pointless submissions. Then introduce a pay for listing program that immediately raises the relevancy of paid for pages in searches. That's not a partnership in my book.

Shure they'll include "free" pages, where it suits them to bolster categories that would otherwise be devoid of content.

It boils down to this; Pay to get spidered if you want to get into the index. We'll just take your pages if we need them. That's usually called having your cake and eating it too!

If you want to get any benefit from this plan, then pay now, because when the db is balanced with enough paid listings, you'll be paying just to have new pages be where they have been for the last few months, especially in competitive categories.


 4:30 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

I am a bit surprised at the view here that paid Inktomi submissions get a ratings boost. They have said many times it does not, and we have not noticed it in our current paid listings. Those "paying customers" who say the havent noticed a ranking boost outnumber those who say they do on this forum.

We do hope however, that becuase we are indexed more regulalrly the more likely that people who click on our link get the version of the page that was actually indexed. This is very unusual for Search engines where I would say the great majority of times, you are clicking to a Web page which has changed since it was indexed, and therefore may not give you what you are looking for. We are happy to pay for that to help pay for more regular indexing, which is a plus for both the Web site owner, the index itself, and most importantly the user.

I see this is just another way of sharing the cost between indexing services and the material they index. Yahoo, LookSmart, Google, Ask Jeeves, About, all have their own models. I dont see this as any less "fair".

For sure, the benefit is reduced depending on the updating schedules of partners. Hopefully they will be encouraged to update more often if they can boast a fresher index.


 5:12 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

chiyo - in every other form of media it is the content providers who are paid by the distributors.

Take television, the producers of the show are paid by the network who then makes a profit by running advertisement. Only on the net do you see the reverse. In truth the portals and search engines should be paying us to index our sites. Of course the lines get blurred when you are talking about shopping sites, but there are many noncommercial sites that have solid content.

None of the portals you mentioned are a search engine except google and they do not charge people for submissions.

Be clear about what we are saying, it is a subtle difference. Paid pages are not getting a "ranking boost", but new free submissions are being suppressed. I've ran a couple of tests. Old pages and paid pages will rank before the new free ones. To give you an example I use to receive between 8-10 thousand hits a day from the inktomi portals before they started playing games, then BAM one day they are all pushed down to the point of insignificance. Then, guess what, the paid program roles out. I bought a couple of urls to see what would happen. They are back on top, like they were.

In my opinion, this is not about what is fair or not. It is about what is in individuals best interest. I would rather see Inktomi's stock crash and have them go out of business than have them succeed in this scheme. I absolutely want this "pay to play" scheme to fail. It is about preserving what search engines are and what a search engine optimizer is.


 6:36 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

Ahhhh, here's the inspiration for my story getting scary!

PTLs (pay to list) were an inevitable evolutionary, and extremely cautious, step along the growth ladder of SEs. Sure, some have tried it and dropped it already, more, like Ink are shifting towards it now and other WILL go for it in the future. It's just a test of the waters, not a permenant fix, otherwise the nevertobe formed League of SE Co-op would pass some motion that they all will implement a PTL program simultaneously, thus leaving all SEO's with no option BUT to PTL.

Um, right?


 7:50 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

Danny and Inktomi are correct, they ARE picking up sites and putting them in their listings, not burying them and these ARE for reasonably competitive terms where there is plenty of content. See my posting:


The only common denominator? I haven't submitted the sites for months (I gave up in August), Inktomi found them all by themselves, it just took one hell of a long time!


 8:09 am on Nov 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

I don't think it is a case of listings getting a boost if you pay. They simply are not hitting paid submissions with the penalty that many have suggested they are giving to free submissions.

I stopped submitting directly to Ink quite some time ago because I was seeing a definite trend that seemed to favor found pages over submitted ones.

I think if you do wait it out and let Slurp find you on its own, you will find that your pages will be treated the same as paid submissions. It will just take quite a bit longer and you won't get revisited as often.

This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37 ( [1] 2 > >
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