After months of talking about it, AltaVista finally unveiled a paid inclusion program last week. Similar to the program Inktomi began offering last September, this guarantees that submitted pages will be listed within AltaVista's web page index in a prompt manner and revisited on a regular basis.
AltaVista has hinted that it was going to offer paid inclusion since late last year and even accidentally posted pages promoting its "bulk inclusion" program when it introduced its "ransom note" Add URL puzzle system back in March. The company has finally followed through on this by launching its new "Express Inclusion" program.
The program allows you to submit up to 500 URLs, which will be visited on a weekly basis. This means that a brand new page submitted to AltaVista through the program should show up in about week, or changes to existing pages should be reflected in about a week.
AltaVista's pricing is more expensive than Inktomi's paid inclusion program -- much more -- starting at US $78 per year for the first URL and dropping in price as follows:
URL 1: $78
URLs 2-10: $48.00
URLs 11-100: $38.00
URLs 101-500: $24.00
AltaVista actually sells its service on a six month basis, so you can get started with paid inclusion for half the prices shown on the list above. I've changed the figures to yearly pricing, so you can more easily compare to Inktomi's paid inclusion prices, where service is sold by the year.
Here's Inktomi's current charges, as sold through Position Technologies:
URL 1: $30
URLs 2-20: $15
URLs 21-1000: $12
As you can see, AltaVista's prices are easily double what Inktomi charges. To include 25 pages for a year with Inktomi would be $375, while at AltaVista, the same number of pages for the same time period would be $1,080 -- almost three times what Inktomi charges.
Still, more than $1,000 for 25 pages and no guarantee that they will bring in any traffic? Rather than that gamble, it might make more sense to put the money into AltaVista's separate paid listing program or into GoTo listings, which are carried on AltaVista's pages.
Remember, you can continue to use the free Add URL page to add new pages to AltaVista. Now called "Basic Submit," the downside is that you have to enter a ransom note message for each batch of five URLs that you add. In addition, the former weekly insertion schedule has now been downgraded to 4 to 6 weeks, to make the paid inclusion program more attractive. Of course, that's not out of line with the delay Inktomi has when using free Add URL pages to submit to it. The biggest drawback is simply the uncertainty. There's no guarantee that your pages will get picked up.
Before you panic, remember that AltaVista is also continuing to add pages for free, through its regular crawling. It also still promises to revisit pages in its index each month. That means you may already have plenty of pages listed, and they should stay there despite the addition of the paid inclusion program. Nor will those non-paid pages be downgraded in relevancy.
"We're not going to penalize in relevance the people who are adding through free Add URL," said Chris Kermoian, director of search and web marketing services for AltaVista. "We'll also still go through our standard crawling process.".
AltaVista Express Inclusion
AltaVista Free Add URL
IMPORTANT! If you fail to include the ? at the end of the URL above, you will only get a blank page.
AltaVista Submission Changes & Other Developments
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2001
Tips about the "ransom note" submission free Add URL service.