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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?
Welcome to WebmasterWorld! I'm sure you'll get an earful shortly, but for now you've made
a good start by engaging here. Walking the line between what we will want to know and what
your boss and your common sense will let you tell us will be difficult; Thanks for taking
on the challenge.
>pioneered the concept of paid inclusion.
>what we can do to be more effective at serving webmasters and content publishers.
Abandon the model, it is fiscally unsound. IMO, paid inclusion is directly responsible for Inktomi's shrinking percentage of the portal market.
It is irratating to found sites (from your competitors for example) that have all the pages indexed, because they waited to be crawled for free and never they paid the pay per inclusion fee.
I would increase the fee for the index page (till the average fee of 200 - 300 USD $) that could include 100 additional pages.
I would add (free) only the index page.
$200-300 USD might be do-able if you live in the States, but here in New Zealand that turns into $500-$800 depending on where our exchange rate is sitting at the time. That's a really hard sell for a new site.
If that model were considered, then how about making sure there are some 'smaller' options for us little or geographically disadvantaged (and sometimes both!) folks.
I have the opinion that it is better to wait to be crawled for free, because you can get a lot more of your pages.
I think that Inktomi should find a solution for this.
It can be useful to be indexed immediately, but in the long period is more profitable to be spidered for free.
When my yearly subscription runs out I dont think I will pay for my domain to be included and just wait for Inktomi to find my site.....IF it stays as it is at the moment!
Actually I have to agree with the comments re free spidering. I have a few paid pages in Inktomi, but I am left with a niggling feeling that having paid does put me at the bottom of any free inclusion list - "got money out of her so far.. let's wait and see how much more there is"
I would pay of course to get in faster, but only if the sum was fairly trivial, and only if it made no difference at all to how my site was treated downstream with respect to normal crawling (ie: paying didn't stop all pages being crawled, or resulted in the chop when I stopped paying).
If you are considering other models such as PPC/PPP/etc by the way, forget it.
The other thing that bothers many is your infamous black list. Remember the one? The one that was exposed and had millions of sites (many innocent) on there posted by goodness knows who for goodness knows why? I think that this set you back quite a long way with respect to trust and you still have some ground to make.
Generally though, I don't think you are in too bad shape at all, especially if you crawled/updated more frequently for non-payers. You do need to work on your PFI model though, and make that more attractive.
Finally, welcome on board. Hopefully you will find that most of the feedback is constructive.
As Webmasters, we frequently get the task of cleaning up, optimising and promoting a site that has been unscrupulously managed.
The most usefull info to me would be:
Which transgressions cause a site to be banned.
How to check if a site is actualy banned.
When a site is cleaned up, how to apply for re-indexing.
Now, there is where I feel I made the biggest mistake of my search engine tinkering hobby. Within several hours of paying to get my front page indexed regularly, my free listings were gone (and if I'd done the proper research, I would have known better in the first place, but I'm a complete and utter idiot, dontcha know?) Then, 47 hours after my paid inlcusion, my main page got indexed. So far, in 4 months, I've seen just under 80 hits from that page inclusion. (My dozen free entered and much more specifically themed pages were getting 20-30 hits a day each until d-day.) My paid page is a catchall, it simply tells folks what's new and needs to be updated regularly to be effective. The other pages don't need to be indexed more than once a month, or two.
So, I could pull my paid inclusion, but for all I know, the database wouldn't put me back in for free (which, I'd assume is likely the case). Or, I could pay to add pages - but which ones. Search topics in my field are fickle and have a life of maybe two months except in very rare circumstances. If I were to submit every page at my site, it'd cost me about $20,000,000 (which, incidentally, I don't have).
You should definitely change your methods here. From what I read on your site, I was paying for "frequent crawls" of my page, not paying to have only one page included. Whether a person pays or not, if the situation occurs where another page on the site would have been included for free, it should be included for free. Period.
I've got an Ink stain on my sleeve, and it's distracting.
Why don't you come out from behind the partnerships and brand your own engine(s). The search war is nowhere near being over and there is plenty of room for fresh products.
The market for interest/regional/industry specific search has not even been scratched.
Although showing an interest in webmaster feedback is a good step, you really need to be focused on the surfer. No one is interested in your service, if you don't have a captive audience.
Don't worry, you are not alone. The INK model works very, very well for some of us. I am certainly worried about the radical fall-off in the number of INK partners but my MSN traffic alone keeps me paying them a few hundred a week. It is probably my most cost effective spend on SEs (apart from Yahoo). But it doesn't suit everyone.
Sorry to go against the grain of some of my fellow webmasters, but I'm delighted with your program.
I had two web sites that were booted by Google (the page rank zero syndrom) for reasons unknown and it was Inktomi that kept me in business. It was new pages that I paid for Inktomi inclusion that recovered my lost revenues within a couple of months. It was Inktomi that sent me visitors that weren't afraid to spend. When I started a new site, it was Inktomi that jump started site revenues via their paid inclusion program.
So I say thanks, Inktomi ... a million thanks.
Inktomi has since booted one of my unpaid sites but I'm not whining. I just added about a dozen Inktomi-optimized new pages to another site and paid for their inclusion and recovered that valuable traffic for just a few hundred dollars.
I'm heartbroken that you guys lost the AOL deal. I suffered a measurable drop in revenues. But the real meat is MSN. Pleassssse do not loose MSN.
I've learned to optimize pages for Inktomi and I don't mind paying $25 to include a good page because I can earn that back within a month. I do feel that $25 is the limit now that AOL is lost.
I do wish Inktomi would include my less-important (and often less commercial) pages which they don't seem to be doing anymore. I recommend that Inktomi indexes everyone's new pages but make them wait 90-120 days. Then anyone with a decent commercial page should still be willing to pay for it's inclusion and the long wait should also help keep the big spammers at bay. Please don't make my paid pages compete with the big spammers. I'm willing to compete with people that rank ahead of me by conventional optimization but not the machine-generated multitudes that try to dominate the SERP's.
One thing that has held me back about paying to index more pages is the lack of any guarantees that the page will remain indexed. My paid pages can be dumped anytime for any reason and I have no recourse and no refund so I'm not going to put a lot of money at risk.
I have great concerns regarding the MSN deal, and that's holding me back from paying to index new pages more than ever, and will hold me back from a number of upcoming renewals. I know that if Inktomi looses the MSN deal my paid-inclusion investment won't be worth a plug nickle. So please advise us where the MSN deal stands. If you can't do that, maybe you will consider charging 1/4 the rate for three months at time so I'll have less at risk. And don't let the bean counters say they'll make a refund if Inktomi looses MSN. I'll not buy that story because I strongly and sorrowfully suspect that if the MSN deal is lost Inktomi is history.
Anyway, thanks for contributing to my success. I hope Inktomi will survive and be healthy and continue their paid-inclusion program.
I have a feeling you use #2 so people won't keep changing their listings. Why not just have a rule that a page that is removed from the paid inclusion cannot be re-added for 30 days? (but keep it in the db of course).
I also second the statement that Inktomi needs to be more personal. Have a little fun on the Inktomi website.
1) Have a programming competition like Google did
2) Have a "meet Inktomi" page featuring charicatures (sp?) of your staff.
3) Have a 'pure search' that is easy for all to find. Add features to the search such as: search for listings by date added. Keep adding features until it has more than anybody else.
4) Take #3 a step further and create a portal. What have you got to lose at this point?
++++Above all, listen to people and let them help you innovate. Build a structure in your company that challenges Inktomi to constantly innovate. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would say that not a lot has changed in the last year or more about the search engine. If this is true, I say, innovation must be you #1 goal. No change = no money-- in this wonderful internet world we have here.
Not being provocative but I would like to ask that with the mix of PFI that means your customers are actually paying for indexing and cant be penalized to the extent that say google can, - and quick optimizing function with the 2 day indexing, how does Ink guard against sites being at the top of the rankings due to optimization rather than relevance? Does Ink run the risk of delivering well optimized paid sites rather than what the customer is looking for?
Many thanks. I have often thought of this and always wanted to ask!
It pays for itself to keep a few sales pages in your index but my content pages which might be truly useful to others have simply disappeared from view. Not exactly the way to build a better web ...
(1) Yes, there is a new "face" to Inktomi. We've hired a lot of people in the last few months as the company refocuses entirely on search. We're all very excited about where our company and the Web search business are headed. There are a lot of great things planned on the product side which you'll hear about shortly. One of our major initiatives is also better outreach with both the webmaster *and* user community.
(2) As for distribution partners, MSN is a terrific partner and we're absolutely (absolutely!) committed to that relationship. By the same token, we're aggressively pursuing relationships with additional partners, both new ones and old ones.
(3) Our PFI program does not impact ranking, and we *never* exclude results that aren't PFI. PFI partners are assured that their pages will be listed and crawled frequently. Result quality and comprehensiveness are most important to us, and that's why ranking is based on relevancy alone. How and when our partners choose to comply with the FTC recommendations is up to them, since they own the user interface. It is worth pointing out that the FTC letter expresses concern about PFI and PFP programs that affect ranking.
Grumpus, I think you might want to look into our Index Connect program. Index Connect is for sites that have 1,000 or more URLs, and it's a pay-per-performance model (in other words, you pay-per-click only when people actually click on the result). The Search Submit program (pay per URL) is for smaller sites. You can learn more here:
Please, Inktomi, can you give us something more substantial? Something beyond hype ;) Like when does your contract with them expire and will they renew? This is very important for us to know. I would love to keep adding/renewing PFI pages but there's a big cloud hanging over the risk margins.
>>we're aggressively pursuing relationships with additional partners, both new ones and old ones
Yah ... go for it :)
And while I'm at it, let me compliment PositionTech for their super PFI interface and great customer service. Keep them in the family!
So I guess that the "official" position is that PFI has no impact on ranking. I don't pay you for inclusion, I pay you to rank well, you created that vehicle for that purpose, otherwise I wouldn't pay you.
Sad position for you to take, I predict more scrutiny for all search providers based on that attitude.