In conjunction with last month's Search Engine Strategies conference, Inktomi announced a number of new partners who are reselling its paid inclusion programs plus the availability of new clickthrough reports.
Inktomi operates two paid inclusion programs: Search Submit, which is aimed at small content publishers and Index Connect, which is designed for those with thousands of web pages they wish to list.
Previously, Inktomi had three major partners who were reselling Search Submit to site owners, while only two partners were handling Index Connect. Now many more partners have been added.
It's a dizzying array of choices, and one that is likely to be confusing for the site owner who wishes to explore the world of paid inclusion with Inktomi. To guide you in the changing landscape, let's first go back to each program to better understand what they offer.
Search Submit charges a flat fee for each URL you wish to list and guarantees that the URL will be listed in Inktomi's results for a year. The URL will also be revisited every two days, in case of changes. Up to 1,000 URLs can be enrolled through the program.
If you don't use Search Submit, you may still find that your pages get listed. Inktomi crawls the web independently of this program, so it can pick up your pages for free. However, if you have brand new pages that you want listed quickly, or pages that absolutely want to ensure appear in the index, Search Submit is an option to consider.
How much does it cost? For the first URL, $30, then between $12 to $15 for each URL after that, depending on the partner.
Also, the pricing for Search Submit is going to increase in the near future. I can't say exactly how much, because Inktomi's still determining this. However, suffice to say, if you've been thinking about the program, it's better to do it now rather than later.
New to Search Submit is clickthrough reporting. This is where Inktomi shows you how often each paid inclusion URL was clicked upon and for what terms they attracted clicks.
Clickthrough reporting is a great way to determine whether you are getting value out of the paid inclusion program. If you find a URL is not attracting clicks, it may make sense to drop the URL from the program and instead include a different one that may do better in attracting visitors.
Such swapping is now possible through all Inktomi's Search Connect customers, the company says. In the past, only certain partners offered it. In addition, it should now be possible to have one account with URLs from different domains with all Inktomi partners, rather than just some, as in the past.
Not all partners may have clickthrough reporting yet, but they should all offer it in the near future, Inktomi says. Another thing to keep in mind is that clickthrough reporting currently only shows traffic from AOL, HotBot and some Inktomi-partners in Europe, to my understanding. Inktomi does expect to eventually get clickthrough reporting from most of its partners. I'll let you know, when this changes.
Paying a flat fee per URL can be prohibitively expensive for sites that have thousands of pages they'd like to include. This is where Inktomi's Index Connect program comes in. Designed for large sites, it features per click pricing for the pages that are included.
In other words, let's say you submit 50,000 pages from your large ecommerce web site. Flat-fee pricing though the Search Connect program would cost about $600,000, assuming you were allowed to exceed the 1,000 page limit in that program. In contrast, Index Connect would charge a per click fee only if someone actually came to your site via one of the URLs in the program.
Inktomi says that it generally charges 25 cents per click, though a site categorized in a popular category might pay more . There is also no setup charge that Inktomi levies, though its partners may have their own. Nor does Inktomi have a monthly minimum charge, though again, its partners may. Pages generally go live within 48 hours. On the downside, if you remove a page from the program, it's not likely to stay in the Inktomi index for free, especially if it is a dynamic URL.
That pricing is if you go into the program directly through Inktomi. You might pay more or less if you use one of Inktomi's resellers. This is because they may bundle the Index Connect program with some of their own unique services.
The program is also available free of charge to major charities, non-profit groups and educational institutions. Organizations such as The Hunger Project and Adoption.com are examples of those that have been supported this way. If you think you qualify, use the appropriate link below.
One feature with Index Connect is that Inktomi can take in an XML feed. This means that instead of crawling a web site, you'd feed it a database that would list each URL, its title, meta description and keywords tags, plus body abstract or other information.
Which company should you go with? When it comes to Index Connect, it will probably depend on your own personal needs. Several of them offer unique services, such as Inceptor's ability to take in XML feeds and send these to Inktomi or Position Technologies' ability to spider your web site and help identify pages it believes may be successful with Inktomi and other search engines.
Pricing is also an issue, both with Index Connect and Search Submit. Basically, you've got a variety of choices, so check out your options and select a partner that best seems to fit your needs and budget.
To provide some further guidance, I've also attached some short highlights of the partners below, as I currently know them. In addition, I've done longer reviews of some of these partners in the past. URLs to those reviews are listed.
Inktomi says that at the moment, more than 100 customers are involved with Index Connect, including companies such as A&E, Amazon, the National Wildlife Federation and Nordstrom. More than 30,000 customers are said to be enrolled through Search Submit.
Inktomi won't say exactly how many URLs are currently being monetized, though in May, it did say their programs encompassed several million URLs. Inktomi will say that currently, less than five percent of the 500 million URLs in its index are paid for. That means paid inclusion URLs number below 25 million.
More about Inktomi's programs and links to partners offering it can be found below.
At Search Engine Strategies, Inktomi unveiled a one-time "Report a Spammer" program that is still running. You can submit suspected spamming offenses to email@example.com. Winners in the program receive free paid inclusion URLs. The program may be made more formalized in the future and even offered on a monthly basis.
Inktomi also recently released official spam guidelines. Basically, any attempt to be misleading about the true content of a page is bad. Nothing new there. It is notable that creating artificial inbound links to boost scores in link analysis is considered spam. Also, use of cloaking or doorway pages is NOT considered spam if the pages are considered "reflective" of the destination page. However, those in paid inclusion programs are told to have no more than one doorway page per destination page, and Inktomi says this policy goes for anyone, paid inclusion or not.
Inktomi also says that fabricating URLs that redirect to other URLs for no legitimate purpose is considered spam. Basically, once again, one doorway per "real" page is fine, if the doorway reflects the copy of the destination page. Go over this limit, and you could find trouble.
Finally, Inktomi the misuse of third party affiliate or referral programs could be considered spam. Basically, this means creating pages that do nothing but in turn link to other sites through affiliate URLs. Having a few affiliate URLs on a page isn't likely to cause you problems, but if the "content" of your site is simply affiliate links, then you could be deemed a spammer.
What if you violate these guidelines? Inktomi will take "any and all action it deems appropriate." Mostly likely, this means your page will be removed and any submission fee, if you paid one, will be lost.
Inktomi Content Policy- Spam Removal Guidelines
Inktomi Index Connect
More details about the Index Connect program, with a link to contact Inktomi directly and a link to partners. Basically, if you feel you don't need the assistance of third-party companies to optimize your content, going directly to Inktomi may make sense.
Inktomi Index Connect: Non-Profits
If you are a non-profit, charitable, educational or government organization, Index Connect is available to you for free. Use the form above to get in contact with Inktomi. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS FORM UNLESS YOU QUALIFY.
Inktomi Search Submit
More details about the Search Submit program
All of Inktomi's Search Submit and Index Connect partners are listed here, with short summaries about them.
Search Submit debuted with Position Tech, and now the company offers both Inktomi paid inclusion programs, though only Search Submit is described on this page. The partnership is ideal for those who also want to make use of the company's Position Pro product, which helps you evaluate which URLs in a site should be improved and which are most likely to rank well with search engines. Clickthrough reporting is live here.
Position Technologies: Index Connect http://www.positiontech.com/inktomi/indexconnect.htm
Information about Index Connect from Position Technologies is supposed to be available at this URL, in the near future.
Position Pro Manages Submissions, Optimization Efforts
The Search Engine Update, Feb. 26, 2001
Past review of the Position Pro tool.
Pure Inktomi Web Search
Designed for Position Tech's Search Submit customers but available to anyone, this provides access to "pure" Inktomi results. That's helpful for those who want to check how their listings do within a pure Inktomi environment.
Inktomi's second-oldest Search Submit partner. Really probably only best for those who are registering a new domain name and like the idea of integrating the submission to Inktomi at the same time. No clickthrough reports appear to be offered yet.
New Index Connect partner. The company performs search engine optimization services, as described on the page above, so if you looking for a firm to perform such work, you may find it convenient to use them, as well.
Outrider is also a Search Submit partner, and the page above offers submission into Inktomi's Search Submit program. No clickthrough reports appear to be currently offered.
New partner that offers both programs, though only Search Submit is specifically named on the home page. Ineedhits works directly with client web sites to recommend changes to existing pages, primarily optimization of title and meta tags.
Ineedhits Search Submit Form
Sign-up form and info for enrolling in Search Submit via ineedhits. Clickthrough reporting is live here.
US giant signs up Perth IT company
The West Australian, Aug. 21, 2001
More background about ineedhits.com. The article says they are only one of three worldwide partners, but that seems to refer only to the Search Submit program, which currently has four active partners.
Existing Index Connect partner that works especially with ecommerce sites, to distribute product listings across the web.
One of Inktomi's oldest Index Connect partners, MediaDNA's eLuminator service is especially designed to submit password protected content in a way that makes it accessible to search engines without dropping any restrictions required for human visitors before they are allowed to view it. Especially worth a look by those with large corporate web sites.
eLuminator Brings Content To Light In Search Engines
The Search Engine Update Nov. 3, 2000
Review of the eLuminator service.
New partner that offers only Index Connect. Inceptor is one of the next products on my review list, Inceptor offers a solution especially suited to those with product databases. Using Index Connect, they can interact with your database, stream an XML feed right into Inktomi, plus provide some sophisticated tracking and conversion reports, as well. Large customers include Verizon Wireless and Tracy Hamilton.
Offers Index Connect as part of its LookListings program, so worth considering, if you see advantages of doing a deep categorization within LookSmart.
LookSmart Overhauls Submission Process, Increases Prices
The Search Engine Update, August 2, 2001
Explains how LookListings works.
New partner that offers only Index Connect. The company performs search engine optimization services, so if you looking for a firm to perform such work, you may find it convenient to use them, as well.
Third-oldest Search Submit partner, WebGravity appears to be maintaining old accounts but not accepting new ones, at the moment.
All Along the Watchfire
InternetNews.com, Aug. 8, 2001
Inktomi has a new partnership with Watchfire, which provides automated meta tagging and page optimization tools. The partnership currently is primarily for optimizing content to do better within Inktomi-powered intranet search solutions, rather than in the web-wide Inktomi search engine.
Joining the In-Crowd: Inktomi's Pay-for-Placement Program
Econtent, May 2001
This is the first and last time Inktomi has ever said how many URLs they've sold through paid inclusion: "several million records."