Inktomi Launches New Paid Inclusion Program, Search Improvements

Inktomi has rolled out a new paid inclusion program for those wishing to list 1,000 pages or more with the service. In addition, Inktomi also unveiled yesterday new changes to how the service indexes and ranks web pages. I'll be bringing more detailed articles on both of these developments next issue, but here is a summary of key points:

"Index Connect" is a program that offers cost per click pricing to those wish to list 1,000 pages or more with Inktomi. In contrast, "Search Connect" is the paid inclusion program I've previously written about, offered by vendors such as Position Technologies, Network Solutions and WebGravity.

The self-serve Search Connect program charges a flat fee per page. The Index Connect program is designed for those with thousands of pages, to provide a more economical model of getting those included with Inktomi. Pricing is in the range of 5 cents to 50 cents (US) per click.

In other words, in Index Connect, you only pay for pages that actually generate traffic. Any large publisher will certainly want to consider this program, if they've already been thinking of using the Search Connect program.

In another twist to Index Connect, some provision to crawl non-profit sites free of charge have been enacted. KQED public broadcasting in San Francisco is the current poster child for this effort, and I'll bring more details to you on how others can apply.

Inktomi also publicly announced yesterday new changes to its search engine that it hopes will improve relevancy and coverage of the web. Among the key points I'll be expanding on are:

+ Human Modeling: Inktomi has been using an internal editorial staff to run massive numbers of searches and then select documents that they consider relevant. The company has then been tweaking its various relevancy controls to try and automatically match the human selections. In this way, the company hopes to model the human qualities of what's relevant into its ranking software.

+ Relevancy Tweaks: In addition to the human modeling, Inktomi is also doing automatic proximity searching (search for "george bush," and it will favor pages with those words in that order) and says it has improved its use of link analysis.

+ Blending: Inktomi has introduced blending into its search results, which currently means that with most of its US partners, you may get information from the Looksmart directory, the paid inclusion databases or the non-paid content that comes from crawling the web blended seamlessly in the same set of web results. This also means that Inktomi could include news content, shopping content or other specialty search results into the results set.

By the way, previously Inktomi had been using LookSmart descriptions if it found a site in its web index that was also within the LookSmart directory. Now, if you find this happening, it's indicative of Inktomi using the actual LookSmart listing and blending it in among its crawler-based finds.

+ Crawler Upgrades: Inktomi is now reading frame links, as is Excite, in a recent change. They join AltaVista, Google and Northern Light -- which means the only major crawler that doesn't understand frames is FAST. That's good and bad news. The good news is more of your pages will be found, but the bad news is that none of these services will restore your frames context. Consider the JavaScript workaround described on the frames page below. The crawler is also supposed to be more robust in retrying pages if there was a crawling problem.

Inktomi Index Connect
http://www.inktomi.com/products/search/connect.html

Network Solutions Launches Inktomi Paid Inclusion
The Search Engine Update, March 5, 2001
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/0103-inktomi.html

Discusses the Search Connect service offered by Network Solutions, along with offerings from Position Technologies and WebGravity.

Password Finder
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/finder.html

WebGravity
http://www.webgravity.tv/

WebGravity is Inktomi's European-based paid inclusion partner, and the new site above features information in about their program in French, German, Italian, Spanish and English. Pricing is now also available in euros and UK pounds, 33 per URL or #21 per URL.

Search Engines And Frames
http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/frames.html

Explains how to reestablish the context of frame pages.