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I seem to vaguely remember someone dropping a cryptic hint here at the board with no details many months ago that there would be a change coming after the first of the year.
Maybe they're changing search providers, they haven't added paid Ink pages for a while as far as I've seen.
I agree, if Ink is not going to index free submit sites there is no reason for us to waste our time with it.
Maybe they are planing on changing DB's, after all Direct Hit is slated for closure in the near future -- now might be the right time to make a change at Hotbot?
TerraLycos, whose network includes Hotbot, Anglefire, Tripod, Lycos and more has recently launched its paid submission program for accepting URLS (http://news.com.com/2100-1023-844266.html?tag=cd_mh)called "InSite" (http://searchservices.lycos.com/searchservices/).
There's new fees for Tripod and Anglefire users.
And yes, I got a 404 for Hotbot AddURL and other pages inside the site.
With Fast muscling it's way into the US Government site search, which I understand gives Inktomi the boot, I wouldn't be surprised to see a firewall going up between the two engines. It may no longer be possible for Inktomi and Fast to co-habitate on HotBot.
Not only that, but Fast and Ink are now competing for the pay-to-index website budgets.
Last of all, the quarter is nearing an end. What better time to tell webmasters there's no hope of having your site indexed if you don't cough up the bucks?
Ok, DirectHit was factored into Hotbot's Inktomi results, plus Hotbot used DMOZ for its directory.
But, DirectHit, which is owned by AskJeeves, is being assimilated by Teoma, also owned by AskJeeves. Teoma is a fee-based engine.
Hotbot will need to dump DirectHit. What do they replace it with? Teoma? But Teoma is a Google rival. Google was Inktomi's rival (stole the Yahoo! rug right from under them.) Is Inktomi going to have a bird if Hotbot flips on Teoma?
Maybe Hotbot will be nourished by Lycos/FAST, now also a fee-based submission convert.
By the way, that error 404 is a redirect back to the Hotbot homepage.
Anyway, beats watching soap operas.
PS - thanks for the URL-kill in my above post. It helps to keep me in line :)