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I know we historically haven't posted in these forums, but I thought it was time we de-lurked. This forum in particular seemed like a good place to start, since we pioneered the concept of paid inclusion.
From time to time I'll pop by to answer questions and maybe even ask a few of my own. Let me start by asking what we can do to be more effective at serving webmasters and content publishers. Any thoughts?
Not this webmaster/SEO! I've been banned by INK and penalized (in the past) - but the rules were clear. Fixed the faults and my (new) pages were ranking within days. Unlike other SEs I know ;)
Although this is not directly attributable to INK, the feedback and communication I have had with PT has been second to none. It has saved (and made) me money, time and energy. For that I (and my customers) will always be grateful.
Let's face it - PFI is a failed business model. Not everyone can rank number one, so those who don't rank well don't renew. It's that simple. AOL was smart enough to want quality search results not spam for cash. Do we think the people at MSN are any less smart?
And, with AOL down the road why have you not cut the price of your product to reflect the cut in refers? Are you willing to pay full price for half a steak? I'm not!
Does anybody at Ink think that a webmaster with half a brain would risk a dime on a product that's so unstable?
I think the greatest value you'll find at WebmasterWorld is a sounding board for other business models for INK - I for one don't feel any of us will be well served by another round of "feel good marketing" in these forums for Inktomi.
And, I would like to hear what Ink is going to do to help the SEO community deliver real traffic for their clients. I would like to hear how you're going to price that fairly based on your very limited traffic from MSN. (All the additional Ink partners don't amount to much traffic at all)
Though I am the moderator here, I am asking those questions as a concerned SEO web developer. The questions and opinions are mine and NOT those of WebmasterWorld.
I have 7 PFI's with them..they wont be renewed ..if they arent going to send me traffic ..no need in paying for it.
I have a suggestion I passed on to ink..
is this a logical and reasonable request or not..
"perhaps INK needs to maximize it's revenues by pushing those that pay up higher and those that dont to the back of the line...under PFI
You database like all others started by simply gathering as many sites as possible..well know you have maybe a billion pages ...
If I pay you I expect somee sluts in return ..in the "****" keyword for example if you have a million pages pop up under that term ..lets say you have 4,000 accounts that actually pay for inclusion under that term...then your web site should at the very most place no farther back than #4000 ..you have eliminated most of your compettion by paying..the rest of your ranking depends on the usual requirements....
seems a very easy and equitable solution and would only take a few lines of code to determine where pay and no pay starts for any "keyword"
The term I am trying to place for is fairly competitive and the site does not show up even hundreds of maybe thosands of pages deep under it's main keyword..
this is even after 4 major changes ..Ink refreshes every 48 hours so I should have seen some movement but nothing at all..
naturally all spam, or offensive links etc have all been ruled out..
I dont like paying anymore than anyone else but I expect to at least be able to find my site under my main search term..I dont think thats too much to ask...
Lots of activity in this thread, and lots of constructive criticism and good suggestions. I wanted to reassure everyone that we're currently examining our paid inclusion programs and looking for ways to increase the value proposition to webmasters but also improve our customer service/feedback process. You'll hear more in the weeks and months ahead, but for now I want everyone to know we're listening and digesting :)
On another note .. a little on the lighter side..everyone knows I type to fast and and to lazy to spell check .I would just like to clear up this comment in post 65:
"If I pay you I expect somee sluts in return "
My wife informs me that if thats the case I am out the door..so I will change that to :
"If I pay you I expect some RESULTS in return."
my view is contrary to many here in that the model works well for me, i know it doesn't suit everyone, but then my hope is that the internet in general is not a lowest common denominator "one size fits all" medium
i can launch an obscure product and get hits almost immediately ... only a few hits but with a good conversion rate, something that minimum monthly spends would make uneconomic,
my view is that a move to a ppc model would not help anyone, quite frankly as we all know one company dominates that market, so i would urge you away from considering going in that direction for the smaller sites.
i really think there is a lot of room for you to make money from small specialised sites, maybe you need to educate webmasters that targeting less popular phrases is the way to get maximum benefit from you.
Another risk-reducing step would be to offer a menu where webmasters can select the search engines they want to be included in. For example, $.15 per month for IWON, $1 per month for MSN, .01 for the Mongolian Daily, etc. ... or $25/12 for the whole package.
Maybe this all becomes an accounting nightmare but since you can't offer guarantees, if you reduce the risk I think you'll find more people willing to spend more.
Related to that suggestion mayor, I just went through a literal nightmare situation with bCentral over some pages I inherited that were paid for there. There are 3 on the $99 deal paid for. They were all submitted by myself a couple of months ago, having been paid for but never submitted, and aside from problems with them not being updated for over a month with noplace to inquire, they've slipped out - with no way findable to re-submit them.
I logged in to chat support, with much difficulty since the interface is so difficult to work with, and first the tech couldn't find the account - so I copied and pasted from the welcome email.
What followed was being told that paying for submit was for inclusion in MSN, Hotbot and about.com and didn't include Inktomi. After explaining where MSN gets their results and asking for the person to tell me where they come from, I was again told the same thing, that Inktomi wasn't included,and to be listed I would have to submit directly to Inktomi. :)
I was not a happy camper, and wrote to the client, who is not happy with the pages not being included, and is now on the rampage.
I have dealt with both PT and ineedhits and have never had one problem with either, but it would help tremendously if there was more communication or training made available to other support personnel, since the interaction with the partners does reflect back.
>>>i can launch an obscure product
The keyword being "obscure
>>>why not remove the fear factor
That's a great idea
>>>through a literal nightmare situation
This is Inktomi insulating themselves when they are in fact
to blame for all problems and issues relating to PFI. The customer service buck should stop with the company providing the service - that being INKTOMI.
Remember there can only be a few top ranking pages for kws and kwps and all the rest are on the bottom - and those on the bottom are not likely to continue to pay.
PFI as a business model is self-destructive. It limits how many customers you can retain. Being included is not enough of a reason to pay...
And those few high ranking pages follow overture, then looksmart, then spamconnect.
I know that when you are #2 you can "try harder", but when you are number 4, you need to start over with a new business model.
It's the diversity across a few search engines that Inktomi is only one part of that keeps us from having all our eggs in one basket. Inktomi definitely serves a purpose for certain niche sites with a well-selected choice of keywords.
That's why we need Inktomi, and we need them to stay with a business model that's accessible to the low-volume Mom 'n Pop sites that can't go with PPC and might never do Yahoo, and might not end up in ODP. It does happen.
It's hedge of protection, also. I've got one site that was paid and I didn't renew, back in January. It's out of Google for this month (happens every few months with that one - server, domain name, etc.). So the slack is picked up by Jeeves, and now Inktomi updated and it's showing up very nicely at MSN - not paid, either, with daily traffic.
For those that don't know - trusted feed = 100's of inclusions via xml feeds - nothing taken from an actual html page.. it basically resolves to cloaking with meta tags. Its provided on a ppc basis.
You can tell an xml feed because it will be domain.com/?123456 (6 digit no.).
I have seen the results get cluttered up more and more with trusted feed and essentially its cloaking spam. Yes, we have been assured that each xml feed should be in lieu of a proper page dedicated to the keyphrase. What a joke. It's a pure money making machine. I've yet to see an xml feed that doesn't redirect to the homepage.
And I still need to be convinced that there would be 2 bonafide pages, one dealing with, (for example), "video poker download", and another unique page for "poker video downloading". All the keywords I've seen in "trusted" feeds are blatently 100 keywords taken from wordtracker including all variations - kind of like 1998 web position 100 doorway pages a domain spam. Oh, by the way, you can tell the keyword, because the description will be: "My company, generic company information, aren't we great blah blah. KEYPHRASE HERE."
As many of us have decided for some while now, this trusted feed is inktomi getting paid for allowing the worst kind of spam. And inktomi have the nerve to ban pay for inclusion spam, which a lot of the time is not as blatent as trusted feed!
Inktomi, sort your trusted feed out. You can't just print money through your database and then expect us all to treat you as a serious search contender.
I do! Inktomi rocks :)
>i can launch an obscure product
>>The keyword being obscure
I don't call phrases like 'brand name hotels big european city' that obscure - sure it isn't 1000 referrals a day on each page - but together they come to 1K uniques per day from MSN and meta engines on one site alone.
I just can't understand why many can't see the INK advantage! Is it something to do with having to pay - and not getting it for free?
what i am complaining about is trusted feed. Because it swamps results, it takes 10 minutes to set up, it's absolutely value-less to the consumer most of the time.
Setting up 100 pfi pages that will not be banned for spam takes some time and some thought. Setting up 100 xml feeds is a thoughtless process and crowds out pfi pages.
My point is that inktomi cannot wax lyrical about their fantastic 2 billion database while at the same time allowing absolute cr*p to be auto generated.
1) I can get promotion that is as good as (if not better) than Inktomi's for free, elsewhere.
2) I can get listed in most of Inktomi's "Powered" engines for free, elsewhere.
3) Inktomi doesn't have the reach that it used to (Yahoo! being a case in point).
1- you get 48 hours refresh.
2- you can optimize your pages and see the results in a couple of hours.
3- you get one year of inclusion.
4- PFI discourage many s.p.a.m.m.e.r.s. They get in, get flushed in the Ink's Toilet... get in, get flushed again... :)
5- Only $25 per url... great bargain for what PFI returns !
I see nothing wrong with PFI !
Also, for those of you who haven't been following the other threads, we've released a new version of our database that is our biggest, freshest and most relevant ever. (Is that self-promotion?) :)
I'd love to get your feedback.
>>>>we've released a new version of our database that is our biggest, freshest and most relevant ever. (Is that self-promotion?)
And what I like about your new db (or at least the current one is: Years ago we put up thousands of WPG pages that today would be considered pure SPAM and I mean PURE SPAM- - - - - - and you kept everyone of them in their top ranking positions.
Is it just me, or doesn't anyone else have a passion (one way or the other) about trusted feed? And inktomi, how about a comment on trusted feed?
IMHO I feel that paid inclusion will never work. We operate different sites of different sizes, and will we never pay anyone to be included, the answer is a simple no.
If I am saying no to inclusion then the likelihood is that thousands of others are also saying no, that means that when a consumer (end user) does a search he or she will get less results.
If there is a free search engine out there (such as the big G) then most users will always go there because they get more choice.
Why are shopping malls more popular than individual shops ? Mainly they offer the end user more choices.
I also think that inktomi, should have its own search site. How many people really know and understand what inktomi does, stand for, mean outside of the pro and dedicated webmasters ? My guess would be not many. People see the words powered by inktomi and they probably have not got a clue waht that means. If however they see powered by Google they at least have an understanding of what the results should be like etc.
I would be pretty annoyed if this were happening too. Maybe I'm lucky, but trusted feed urls only seem to come up once or twice (if at all) on a SERPs page for sites I do - so it has not been much of an issue for me. If (when) it does, and they were all XML feeds redirecting to the home page - I'd be the first to join in the howling.
If they are allowing this (and I have no reason to doubt you) then it is unfair when (as you rightly point out) they remove PFI pages which do the same thing. Perhaps Inktomi could look at this and comment?
I am a heavy user of inclusion and have been able to make the product an added value for my clients.
If Inktomi partners would offer a discount after each 100 pages, I would buy a greater quantity of inclusion pages.
I really don't care if the renewal fee is at full price.
Basically the lower the first time fee is the easier it is to sell to my clients. After they see the results, renewal cost is not an issue.
Even if your partners could offer bulk purchase discounts in the form of tokens.
Buy ten at a discount, start the clock clicking as each one is utilized. Limit the starting time to 30 days of purchase.
Without a doubt, with excess inventory, I would sell harder, and at a cheaper price, I would sell more.