What would seemingly be yet-another story for the more mainstream about paid inclusion - but check out the story at the end about the guy who declined on Inktomi's offer and found himself all but removed from the listings...
After he demanded to know what happened, Spooner learned from Inktomi that his site contained editorial flaws that hurt his ranking. And he would have to become a paid-inclusion customer to learn what these flaws were. All this, while his pages remained well ranked on Google. "I lost a quarter of my traffic," says Spooner.
There are multiple topics on this exact thread. I was combining forces and pursuing a possible class action suit (actually had an attorney who emailed INK about it).
Perfectly legitimate sites paying for inclusion that would get dropped (but not really dropped becasue if you search for your exact url the exact way it's signed up it will show). They thought they could avoid lawsuits by still actually "including" the listings.
My attorney felt otherwise and thought it could be proved that the listing was actually not included into the search engine and that it had been dropped. We sent our first letter talking of legal action. Mysteriously, a few days later, our site was reincluded (and from preliminary reports so have some others).
I'm not sure what sparked it (I'm sure the letter from my attorney couldn't have hurt), but Ink certainly made some adjustments and took us off the unwarranted blacklist. They they are now showing my index page (PFI) in regular serps. I can't stand INK. The @#$#@$#$%#$ greedy liars. Now that they are owned by Yahoo, it's only going to get worse.