LookSmart: Commerical Charge Just A Test

For two days in April, LookSmart ran an experiment where any commercial web site was asked to pay a fee for submission. The usual $199 option was available, which promised an answer about being listed within 48 hours. A new $79 option promised a 4 to 6 week turnaround time. Non-commercial sites were also given the option to submit for free. Now only the normal two options remain: express submission for $199 or free submission, which is open to anyone.

LookSmart wanted to gauge the reaction to a less expensive option, to see whether it might be a solution for coping with all the additional sites that want to be listed but which find the $199 fee too expensive.

"It is clear to us that the vast majority of web sites who submit through us and our partners are ecommerce providers and other commercially oriented sites. We do, however, understand that not all of these sites are able to pay huge amounts of money to have their web sites processed We are trying to conduct a variety of tests to establish a range of price points that would still enable them to do this," said Kate Wingerson, LookSmart's editor in chief.

If more commercial sites did take up a paid listings option, it would relieve growing pressure on LookSmart's resources, Wingerson said.

"We estimate that within two months we will be receiving over 20,000 submissions a day. In order to process this number of submissions in a timely manner would require a huge staff of hundreds and would completely divert resources away from what we consider to be our main editorial job, proactively selecting, describing and categorizing web sites in response to user missions," she explained.

Wingerson said that LookSmart is in the middle of its submission process review and doesn't yet have enough information to say what the shape of any final program will be. As more details are known, I'll follow up accordingly.


LookSmart Launches Express Submission Service
The Search Engine Update, Feb. 3, 2000

More details about LookSmart's express submission option.

About the author

Danny Sullivan was the founder and editor of Search Engine Watch from June 1997 until November 2006.

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