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PositionTech, your thoughts
troyid




msg:25853
 7:56 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been trying to get PositionTech to investigate whether my site has been penalized by Inktomi. They claim that they are not allowed to contact Inktomi about such matters. Is this true?

PositionTech told me to contact Inktomi directly. How do you do that when there is no contact forms or email addresses on the Inktomi website?

 

cabos




msg:25854
 8:01 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since web site owners provide SE with content it seems reasonable that SE's would offer a service providing feedback as to whether a site has been banned from their index and why.

My site has dropped out of Y results and figuring out how to get it back in and why it isnt included is a total waste of time, and causing me to truly dislike Y..whereas prior to this I used Y for all my searches.

outland88




msg:25855
 11:14 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Same run-a-round with PT. One thing I learned with time is any site that I didn't list with PT is in Inktomi. If you list one site and don't renew or it dissappears in the rankings it is pretty well gone forever. It seems once you're a paid customer you'll never get pages for that site back in unless you pay again. That is a catch 22, if you're paying and they're not listing your pages to begin with. I don't mind paying but for what.

This has gotten to be a major problem with PT from all the posts I have seen. They can't tell you if you're penalized, they won't contact Inktomi, there don't seem to be any Inktomi contacts, and no refunds. Plus that girl at PT in support seems meaner than a junkyard dog. I swear she can bite you over the phone.

kanetrain




msg:25856
 2:35 am on Feb 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree that there should be a place for you to find out if your site has been penalized or banned. If you are paying for guaranteed inclusion... you should indeed be included or know why you are not included. If your site is "penalized" it goes without saying that you should be able to find out if that is the case. These are the issues with PFI that Yahoo/Ink are going to have to deal with on a large level here very shortly. If they are going to crack down on spam, then they better be also willing to let users know if their site is banned when they take their money.
The whole idea of the directory was "pay us and we'll consider your site." They could refuse you if they wanted to. But Ink PFI has always been "Guaranteed Inclusion." Thus... they kind of owe you an explanation if you are paying and not getting included (even if it is because of something you have allegedly done).

I'm guessing that the new Yahoo PFI will be more organized and that you will know if your site has been penalized. I could be wrong, but I think they are smart enough to know that they are going to have HUGE problems if they don't have an effective and fair way to deal with vanishing PFI pages.

I have certainly been the victim of this very problem. It's literally cost me thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours.

outland88




msg:25857
 7:21 pm on Feb 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'll take bets the new Yahoo Paid Inclusion will be broken within the first week. People will flood it especially spammers. In all likelihood it will be understaffed and things won't get sorted out for six months. We've all seen these scenarios on the Internet.

As for Yahoo being organized, I'm already seeing complaints that the vast majority of directory sites who paid $300 arenít being included in the regular searches. Why is that? Greed. Yahoo wants to nail people for both paid inclusion and directory listings. If they include the directory listings in the regular results it will hurt them financially. Also if directory sites are included the crawler will probably crawl deep. This would deprive Yahoo of millions of dollars for pages eligible for paid inclusion.

Currently the new Yahoo is a spammers paradise. Any site I didnít pay anybody for is included. And to be candid they were mainly poor sites. Anything I paid PT for is not included in Ink or Yahoo and I just get the run-a-round from them.

worker




msg:25858
 7:25 pm on Feb 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

The way to find out if you are penalized is easy. Just go to hotbot, and do a search on the Inktomi database.
Make the search an exact match of the title of the page that should be within their system. If your site is at the very end of the group of results, then your site has a penalty on it.
If the page is not within the search results at all, then it has been dropped, or was never included.

MikeNoLastName




msg:25859
 11:59 pm on Feb 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

This apparently has confirmed my suspicions that the problem is definitely with Inktomi and NOT the PFI feeder companies. We had the EXACT same problem with Inktomi PFI through Network Solutions (who was one of the early, more well known name, submission partners). We contacted them about a year ago because we were penalized and after several heated e-mails they INSISTED and GUARANTEED that we were NOT penalized, while it was totally evident we WERE. It seemed obvious to me at the time that the tech support person was lying through their teeth and obviously had no clue what a penalty even was. But now, after trying to deal with Ink, I've been suspecting Ink is in fact the culprit and not treating their partners very well either.
This thread is additionally disheartening in light of the fact that Network Solutions just notified me Thursday via e-mail that they are getting out of the Ink PFI partner biz and transferring my account to Position Tech. I actually thought we might finally get some better service, but I guess I was wrong. In light of this newest info, I think I'll cancel my listing with Net Sol and transfer my Ink listings to Lycos (where my FAST ones are), where I've been getting consistently knowlegable responses.
Maybe Yahoo! will finally get a clue and eliminate Ink from their listings entirely when they start their own new listing scheme, thus making Ink a non-factor. they apparently know Ink is broken and plan on scrapping it and starting all over. Maybe that's why everyone at Ink is so mean, they're too busy looking for new jobs and don't want to bother fixing something which is about to become obsolete.

outland88




msg:25860
 2:42 am on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

>The way to find out if you are penalized is easy. Just go to hotbot, and do a search on the Inktomi database.

Not true. For paid inclusion the penalized url will continue to appear in a url search but not with keyword searches.

As for turning to Lycos they announced they were changing directions and their submittal may disappear shortly.

To many of these companies will take your money right up until they cease operations.

jchance




msg:25861
 3:57 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

troyid, to answer your question, you cannot contact Inktomi. However, PT CAN contact Inktomi, they just will choose not to.

They would rather spend hours arguing with you via email than to spend 5 minutes to contact Inktomi and fix your problem.

caveman




msg:25862
 5:43 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

jchance's comments mirror our own experience to date, unfortunately.

Y! would make huge strides with the webmaster community if they address this.

This is not a 'why don't I rank well?' issue. The question is, if a page/site is being penalized and the penalty is being misapplied, someone should have a look and address the problem. We're suffereing from this right now, and there appear to be many cases involving inappropriate/unwarrented penalties related to 301's, site updates, etc...very frustrating.

Kirby




msg:25863
 10:20 pm on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>We're suffereing from this right now, and there appear to be many cases involving inappropriate/unwarrented penalties related to 301's, site updates, etc...very frustrating.

Ditto.

cabos




msg:25864
 11:08 pm on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Even if PT contacts Ink., Ink's policy is not to disclose whether or why a site has been penalized.

They base this on their belief that this will disclose their algorithm.

kanetrain




msg:25865
 2:33 am on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am at webmaster world pub conference right now. I was so impressed by the presentaion by Tim Mayer (Yahoo/Ink) today. He addressed many issues including this very one. He did not expound in great detail what exactly is on tap, but he did address it and said that a solution is in the works. I'm sure it may help many of you to know that it appears that there will be a way to get your site reviewed in the near future for possible penalties. If your site was inadvertantly penalized, or even if it had a warranted penalty slapped on it, and you have since cleaned up your act... there is hope.

If there is one thing I have taken away from this conference, it's that Yahoo is listening to the webmaster community and reaching out. That is a great sign.

I am one of those who (in my eyes) was inadvertantly hit with some kind of penalty. I guess you could call it "collateral damage." I suppose that sometimes the innocent get hit in the war against spam and that's understandable. I'm encouraged by these latest developments and the moves Yahoo is making. It's been a loooong road for us... fingers are crossed.

outland88




msg:25866
 4:58 am on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

From what I have learned Inktomi has never really had much spam prevention to begin with except for what was reported. The new Yahoo doesn't seem much better. They run a subjective system. What is really needed is a consistent automated solution like Google has. Since Inktomi allows so much spam to begin with evaluating any already penalized domain, except in a few situations, would probably not change the verdict. Its like asking the IRS to redo your taxes because you think there's a mistake.

Right now under one very major keyword we use one company is occupying 16 of the first 20 results with 16 domains using duplicate content. Thats happening because Yahoo has few spam filters and is crawling about every piece of junk out there. Ranking sites by meta tags is dangerous business. Good spam filtering helps everybody except spammers.

NewAtThis




msg:25867
 8:50 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

kanetrain, nice to hear that. I am just wondering when this will actually happen: "... that a solution is in the works"

caveman




msg:25868
 5:12 am on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

As one of the very respected mods pointed out in another thread, Y! has gobbled up a lot recently, and it is undoubtedly a gargantuan task to assimilate it all, and make all function better than previously was the case. Not all can be fixed in a day.

INK's attitude towards customer service was a disaster, not improved upon by their resellers. But happily it seems like Y! is making great strides, and cares about *all* parties involved. At this point I can't ask for much more. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

And I applaud Y on their efforts recently to walk that fine line that must be walked.

Marcia




msg:25869
 6:30 am on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Customer service is when we buy something, and it comes with a warranty and support for a given length of time. If we never paid Ink a dime to get listed we have paid nothing and therefore we are not their customers - hence no customer service. Why do we think we're entitled to any?

If we paid an Ink partner for inclusion, we expect to get included. If we've violated any of the Ink standards, we're not going to get what we thought and hoped we'd get - and it flat out says so in the documents that are publicly available, which we can read going in the gate so it should come as no surprise. We know what to expect, and there's no need for them to tell us when it's already been spelled out for us in detail.

My guess is that probably a lot of people are agonizing thinking they've been penalized when in actuality they're just not optimized.

Even if PT contacts Ink., Ink's policy is not to disclose whether or why a site has been penalized.

They base this on their belief that this will disclose their algorithm.

Exactly! And why should they? By what right do we think we're owed explanations? Where is it written that there's any obligation on their part to give us any?

Max_mb




msg:25870
 2:40 pm on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

In Reply to troyid,

I would have reversed the cc charge if i were you.

Spam or no spam. You have paid money to get included and must be provided with some explanation OR a refund if your site is nowhere to be found.

Regardless of what they say on their submission page. Once they take your money they must provide the service in question or provide a refund.

I am tired of hearing about search engines rejecting web sites even after being paid for it. They act as they are above the law and keep sucking webmasters hard earned cash while in most cases giving nothing in return but empty promises.

You paid for a service which you did not receive. Call your credit card issuer and reverse the charge on the grounds of an unauthorized transaction.

If only more webmasters would do that maybe then the SEs will start cleaning THIER spammy act!

I took paid submission myself with Position Tech's Direct Submit service and was dismayed by the luck of any contact numbers, email address or a simple contact form. Paid $103.00 for a submission to INK, AJ and FAST.

I can see my page on the INK search results but not on the AJ or FAST ones. I'm yet to see a visitor clicking from any of these listing and simply feel that i was conned.

I'm going to give it another week. I will not hesitate to reverse the charge if i can't find my site on the other two. No listing = refund, it is that simple in my book!

Cheers
Max

caveman




msg:25871
 6:49 pm on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Gee, not sure why my 'customer service' comments are under assault, but as they are, I'll add some specificity and follow up comments:

Customer service is when we buy something, and it comes with a warranty and support for a given length of time.

This may hold true for toasters, but I think it is too narrow to apply to business at large. I worked in advertising/marketing for 20+ years before becoming a Web publisher. When on the advertising side, we 'sold' our services. Our customers were our clients who advertised. If we did not serve them well, they fired us. And there were no warranties. Just 'services paid for' and 'services rendered,' and evalutation of the quality of those services.

Also, to expand out a bit, the products and services that many of my clients sold, or that I sold when on the marketing side, often did *not* come with clear warranties but good companies almost always provide good customer service, even to non-customers.

If we never paid Ink a dime to get listed we have paid nothing and therefore we are not their customers - hence no customer service. Why do we think we're entitled to any?

I paid quite a bit more than a dime. I paid thousands of dollars. I expect some help when there are legitimate issues in need of resolution. Not griping over poor rankings mind you, but real, technical issues.

My guess is that probably a lot of people are agonizing thinking they've been penalized when in actuality they're just not optimized.

My guess is that your guess is quite right ;-)

However in our case, we have submitted hundreds of pages to INK via PT over the years, and virtually every one, with two exceptions, did well or very well, depending upon how well the pages were constructed, etc...

There were two pages, however, that were nowhere to be found in INK SERP's after PFI. This was not a spam issue, or poor SEO. These two pages were the victims of INK's problems with redirects. The first came to light over a year ago. After countless frustrating emails back and forth with PT, they finally got the point that the page was truly missing by no fault of our own. So PT corresponded with INK. Less than a month later, the page reappeared and was at #2. Confirmation was provided that there was a technical glitch, although no specifics were ever provided. Fair enough; problem resolved.

The second missing page is a more recent problem, caused by a stupid thing that we did that led us to have to do a redirect shortly after we listed the page with PFI. All the other pages we listed at the same time did and continue to do very well (none of those were redirected). The one that was redirected is nowhere. So far, no help from anyone at PT/INK, after numerous emails.

I have no issue with paying to be in the INK index and then not performing well because my page is poorly optimized. That is my problem.

But when INK / PT does not help me with technical issues that are the fault of INK - after I paid to be included but am not for technical reasons - that is *poor service* and bad business and a good way to sink a company. (BTW, I don't care if it's INK or PT that provides the help - that's a business issue to be worked out between those two parties. But INK should be sure that either they or their partners are available to resolve serious, legitimate issues to PFI customers.)

Happily it seems that Y! understands this full well, and is *already doing a better job of customer service than INK ever did* - at least if Tim's comments and Y!'s early actions are any indication. And that is not only as it should be (and a welcome relief), it's also just plain good business.

:-)

outland88




msg:25872
 7:45 pm on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you've paid Inktomi for a listing and its not appearing I certainly think you're owed an explanation. If you're dealing with sorry customer service you won't get an answer though.

As for revealing their algo by telling you if you're penalized, thats just a brush-off. That person just didn't know if you were penalized and wasn't going to take the time to find out.

I've used Inktomi for years and its just pure spam. Why Inktomi would penalize anybody to begin with is beyond me. At the present time with a major major keyword, in our area, 16 of the top 20 results are occupied with duplicate pages. The pages come from a doctor running dozens of differing domains in Inktomi. That says to me there is little spam filtering going on except that reported by e-mail. Another word's Inktomi employees pick and choose who they feel is engaging in abuse. Its a subjective system that could be open to a lawsuit.

As for reading Inktomi's site its pretty weak stuff for helping you out. To an Inktomi employee or reseller its probably top of the line. Bottom line is Ink resellers just want to make money as quickly as they can without dealing in any real customer service.

Tim




msg:25873
 10:11 pm on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Outland,
I hear your frustration and I have been discussing this very issue within Yahoo of being more open and customer service oriented in relation to PI. With the new program you will have the choice of going direct to Overture or buying via a reseller.

In regards to being banned- I had a slide on this in my presentation at pubcon on how do you know if you are banned:
1)Slurp-si visits your robots.txt and doesnít index your pages
2)You submit via Paid Inclusion and your URLs appear via a URL query but are deeply buried for a keyword query
3)You suddenly lose all your traffic overnight

Hope this helps.
Tim

jchance




msg:25874
 10:13 pm on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

By what right do we think we're owed explanations?

Because I'm a paying customer thats why. I paid, and I don't rank and I would like to know why. Is that too much to ask? It shouldn't be.

sachac




msg:25875
 10:26 pm on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

I paid for inclusion in ink through Position Tech. When I search for brandwidgets.com I'm there. When I search for "brand widgets", the sites that link to me and sell my brand, appear first. I'm #256 in 1252 results. You can't tell me that I need to optimize more. My site should be #1, no matter what.

Something is definitely wrong. If my site was subject to a penalty, surely I would have been placed last. I believe that there is a serious glitch in the ink system and they have no clue how to correct it.

Position Tech is hopeless and don't even reply to emails.

Just my .02c

caveman




msg:25876
 11:53 pm on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Tim, since you're hanging around - between the meetings on the conference circuit - I'll throw this out and see if you (or anyone) can shed light...especially since from the posts in here, I'm aware of a number of Webmasters with similar if not identical concerns...

1)Slurp-si visits your robots.txt and doesnít index your pages
2)You submit via Paid Inclusion and your URLs appear via a URL query but are deeply buried for a keyword query
3)You suddenly lose all your traffic overnight

ALL the pages from that site are doing fine/as expected, except this homepage. The site gets spidered, etc. The PFI'd pages do better than the non-PFI'd pages. The homepage is the only page that is nowhere to be found in the SERP's.

One might guess that this particular homepage is just designed badly, but we have other pages and sites PFI'd, and in all cases the homepages are doing fine.

This particular problem page was originally titled "home.htm" with a mod rewrite involved (don't ask). As soon as I discoverd it, I had it changed to "index.htm." Unfortunately that was just a day or so after we PFI'd about half the pages in the site, including this one...which was PFI'd as "home.htm". We did a 301 redirect and dropped the "home.htm" page.

No other page on the site is penalized, and no other page for any of our sites is penalized. This page is not different in approach or structure. It seems that it almost surely has to do with the redirect from "home.htm" to index.htm, or some other tech issue.

If I had had some others penalized, or just saw a bad ranking, or saw that other pages in the site were also not coming up, I might think there was a penalty issue of some sort, or that INK just didn't like the pages...they do fine in Y! also BTW. However, since all other pages are doing fine, I can't see any sort of penalty being a valid explanation...

Any thoughts on how I and others in a similar boat might get some help?

Marcia




msg:25877
 2:57 am on Mar 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Tim, I think part of the difficulty is a matter of semantics. People have become so accustomed to seeing Google's definition of things that there may be confusion with the cross-over of terminology.

In regards to being banned- I had a slide on this in my presentation at pubcon on how do you know if you are banned:
1)Slurp-si visits your robots.txt and doesnít index your pages
2)You submit via Paid Inclusion and your URLs appear via a URL query but are deeply buried for a keyword query

The major difference:

With Google, having been banned is indicated by grey toolbar PR and being out of the index altogether. Being buried (and loss of PR) but still being in the index hasn't been considered being banned, it's thought of as being penalized.

Many, many times over the past few years people have asked what the difference is between having a penalty and being banned from Google, and that's the explanation they're generally given.

So appearing for a URL query but not for keyword queries has, in the mind of many, become a sign of being penalized rather than banned.

3)You suddenly lose all your traffic overnight

That could happen either way, whether it's a ban or a penalty, except in cases where the homepage only becomes a problem - with a penalty or possible technical glitch, or as some have suspected, there's been a filter applied on a select group of keywords - in which case the less desirable, low competition keywords on other site pages will still be bringing in some traffic. If it's only a penalty. With a ban, a site will be toast - out altogether.

I think things will be easier once the terminology reaches a common ground for communication, since individual definitions may vary.

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