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I've heard this a couple of times now, but never had it explained. Many search engines accept a submission as just a simple url, with perhaps an email in addition. There are submission programs that will do this for you. What difference does it make to do it by hand. Most of the automated software packages know enough to alter the "Referer" field, so the engine is none the wiser.
Personally, I use DumpTruck and have had pretty good success.
That about covers it...
Dunno what the user agent, etc. info from it is, but it's done a good job for me in the past.
Of course, there are always the hand-submit-only places... and now Alta is off the auto-submit list as well. But you can't win 'em all, I suppose.
Alta now requires hand submission due to the graphic.
Google, submit the root page and it will walk the site.
Fast/AllTheWeb, submit the root page and it will walk the site.
Excite: bribe looksmart with the listing fee and they will index "some" of the site.
Lycos uses Fast/AllTheWeb.
NorthernLight. Hand submit.
Inktomi. Hand submit, but make sure the subitted page has links to it. Or pay the large per page fee for spidering.
So, what's that leave for auto submission? Nothing. The days of the auto submitter are dead - let's bury them.
Rank checking. Using off the shelf software is risky today.
Regardless of what program authors say, it can get you and your site banned from some of the bigger se's. (look around - read up).
I don't think there is a single piece of SEO software other than cloaking that can be a recommended purchase today. The game as we knew it just a year ago, has changed radically.
The old tools are obsolete. The only tool that isn't is between your ears. Read, and read some more on a daily basis. Much of the SEO info on sites today (some of my own included) is obsolete. It bodes well to keep up on the latest and ignore sales pitches (some of my included ;-)
LOL... I got a whopping TWO pages in Excite after my Looksmart bribe went through.
All said, the only thing I consistently use automated submission for anymore is when I have a batch of new incoming link pages that aren't well listed. I'm not super concerned whether they end up well ranked as long as they're in the indexes somewhere.
One thing though, I use my own scripts, and I have spent hundreds of hours working on browser emulation and the cookie/referrer game. You also have to think about who and how much and when to submit.