FAST Search is launching a trial version of its paid inclusion program in July. It becomes the second major crawler-based search engine to offer such a program, following Inktomi's lead, which started offering paid inclusion last September.
Called "PartnerSite," the program guarantees that submitted pages will be included in FAST's web index. They will be revisited and reposted to the FAST index every 24 hours. Ordinarily, changes to pages may take up to two weeks to appear in the index.
PartnerSite pages are not guaranteed to rank well for particular terms, nor are they given a ranking boost. However, as with all paid inclusion programs, having more pages listed means that site owners are likely to see a traffic increase, as they have more opportunity to rank well for a wide variety of terms.
Unlike Inktomi's program, FAST's program will also provide some useful statistical tools. During the trial, participants will be able to see how people found their web site from FAST's results -- both the terms used and the particular FAST-powered service that generated that visit.
In addition, PartnerSite will also provide webmasters with site search functionality. This will allow users to search your site for content by adding some simple HTML code to your web pages. FAST also promises the ability to customize the look of your search results and reporting tools to let you understand what people are searching for.
Pricing begins at $500 per month to index up to 4,000 pages. That is far less expensive than Inktomi's program, where self-serve pricing for 4,000 pages would cost around $50,000. Of course anyone submitting thousands of pages to Inktomi is generally routed into a program that offers volume discounts. Similarly, FAST will be providing custom quotes to those with more than 4,000 pages, with pricing based on the number of pages, expected query load and marketing budget.
FAST's pricing is also lower because the company's distribution isn't as broad as Inktomi's. In the US, FAST's biggest partner is Terra Lycos, which uses some of FAST's listings on its main search results page. FAST listings are also distributed to sites in Europe, especially through World Online, Wind and the networks that Terra Lycos and Scandinavia Online operate.
Of course, FAST also makes use of its listings on its own site, which is also known as AllTheWeb.com. This is primarily a demonstration site for FAST's technology and doesn't have near the traffic of other major search engines.
PartnerSite is currently accepting applications those who wish to participate in the trial program. You can apply using the URL below. After the trial, FAST will make adjustments to the program and pricing. The program is set to open to the general public in September.
FAST has also been working on a number of changes to its index, which are scheduled to go live in early July. I'll be looking at these in more depth, as plans are finalized and are near release.
How Inktomi Works
More about Inktomi's paid inclusion programs can be found here.