Go.com has become the second major crawler-based search engine to roll out a paid inclusion program. Its new US $199 "Premium Service" will add any URL submitted to its crawler-based results within 48 hours and revisit that URL on a weekly basis, for one year.
The price is much more expensive than Inktomi's paid inclusion program, which charges $20 for the first URL, $10 for each URL after that and offers a further discount if more than 100 URLs are submitted. However, Go is almost certainly going to include a separate submission to its Go Guides directory as part of the $199 price, in the near future.
If this indeed happens -- and there's every indication from Go that it will -- then the submission price is much more reasonable, making it comparable to the $199 submission fees charged by both Yahoo and LookSmart for submitting to their directories. Moreover, anyone signing up for the existing program would be retroactively given a free submission to Go Guides, if this feature is added to the program.
In addition, should the bundled service emerge, then it's entirely possible that a separate service with a lower price may be offered for those who just want to be included in Go's crawler-based results. How low? More in line with Inktomi, Go expects.
"Ten dollars a page, if that's what's Inktomi's charging, then that's what we'll want to be competitive on," said Bernt Wahl, Go's senior product manager of search.
I think it's best for most people to wait and see how the program evolves, rather than submitting through it right now. This is because being included in the Go Guides directory versus the crawler-based results are entirely different things. While everyone does want to be listed in both places, not everyone will need to pay to make this happen.
Let's take Go Guides first. This is a directory built by volunteers, available exclusively through the Go.com web site. Many web sites are already listed within Go Guides. Given this, paying Go's submission fee will make no sense, if it later turns out that this includes the price of submitting your site to Go Guides.
As for the Go crawler, many sites will also already find they page pages listed there. Paying the Go submission fee can certainly help ensure that any particular pages you are concerned with will be included and respidered frequently, but $199 per URL is probably way too much for most people to justify paying.
Instead, consider this scenario. Assume that within a few weeks, Go rolls out two different services. The first keeps the $199 pricing, but it submits your URL to both the Go Guides directory and to the crawler. The second lets you submit any URL just to the crawler, for $10 per URL. Now it becomes easier to decide what to do.
The first service will be primarily attractive to those with new sites and who don't want to go through the hassle of signing up for the Go Guides system, locating the right category for their site, then submitting the site and waiting for other Go Guides to approve their submission. A paid submission system will solve these hassles. Pay your $199, and if your site is of decent quality, you'll be in the directory and have your URL added to the crawler, as well.
The second service should be great for those who want deeper representation of individual URLs in the crawler-based results. A separate service will make it much more economical to have pages listed here.
Given that it's relatively easy to get a site included in Go Guides by submitting yourself, it's really going to be a crawler-only submission service that web site owners will want to watch for. However, if you have a brand new site and want to get into the crawler-results immediately, then using the paid submission service now could make sense.
As with Inktomi, Go says that its paid submission service is a complement to its regular crawling, not a replacement. In other words, web pages will continue to be added to its index for free, but the paid program gives webmasters a guaranteed way to ensure they get in.
Go's free Add URL system also remains, but pages submitted via this may not get added for up to 10 weeks -- if at all. To improve the odds of a free listing, a site should be listed in the Go Guides directory, Go says. That should put it on the priority list for Go's spider.
Premium Service Add URL page
Free Add URL page
This page will be fully updated on Tuesday and will take you by the hand through the latest information on submitting to the Go Guides directory and the Go crawler.
Go Beta Tests User-Assisted Directory
Can't wait until Tuesday? This older article covers the basics of submitting to Go Guides.
Inktomi Debuts Self-Serve Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 3, 2000
More about Inktomi's paid inclusion program can be found here.