Paid Submission & Other Changes At NBCi

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NBCi has rolled out a paid submission service that allows faster review of sites for inclusion into its main directory. In addition, the service, formerly known as Snap, has also made some changes to how sites are listed in its results.

In line with express submission pricing from Yahoo and LookSmart, NBCi is charging $199 for those who want an answer within five business days about being included in its directory. However, the price is only $99 as an introductory offer until Feb. 15.

Sites can still be listed for free at NBCi, due to its two-tier listing structure. When someone searches at NBCi, most queries are answered by the main NBCi Directory, a listing of sites that have all been reviewed and approved by editors. This is also called the "Top Sites" directory. However, any NBCi user can submit a site to a secondary "LiveDirectory" set of listings. These unreviewed sites serve as a backup for when there are no matching sites from the main directory.

For example, do a search for "used telescopes," and you'll see that most of the results page is filled with "Top Sites" listings that come out of the Top Sites directory. However, toward the bottom of the page are two "Member-Submitted Sites" that come from the LiveDirectory.

Sites can be added to the LiveDirectory free of charge and typically show up within an hour or less after submission. Moreover, if NBCi's tracking systems determine that they seem to be satisfying queries, sites in the LiveDirectory can then get "promoted" to the Top Sites directory. For site owners, such promotion can mean an increase in traffic, since its usually the main directory listings that people see. The new program allows sites to pay a free to speed up this promotion process.

"Sites normally need to be in the LiveDirectory for about three to four months, so we can see how well they rise to the top, said NBCi's Robert Christiansen, managing producer of the directory. "With the guaranteed review program, if it's worth promoting, we'll do it within days."

To promote a site, you first have to submit it to the LiveDirectory, and the links below provide more advice about this. Once a site is added to the LiveDirectory, you'll receive an email from NBCi with promotion instructions. Any that can be promoted will have a little "Promote" icon next to them.

Also at NBCi, you'll find new "More Like This" and "Site Details" links appearing at the bottom of each site listed. In addition, the existing "Listed in NBCi Category" and "Find more sites about" links remain for each listing. Here's a rundown on how you might take advantage of these options.

Let's say you searched for "Mir," the ageing Russian space station. The second listing that comes up is "Mir Space Station," a page from NASA. After the page's description, you'll see a link that says "Listed in NBCi Category: Mir." Selecting this category link brings up other sites that NBCi has classified about Mir, helpful if you want a human-edited list of sites about the station. By default, you'll only be shown editor reviewed sites, but by choosing the "Member-Submitted Sites" link at the top of the category, you can see other sites on the topic that have been added by NBCi users and which may be of interest.

Under the NASA "Mir Space Station" listing is also a line that says "Find more sites about: space station | international space station | space colonies." Each topic is a link, and selecting one reruns your search using those words. Behind the scenes, what's happening is that NBCi can track that some sites selected by people who search for Mir are also chosen by people who search for other topics, such as "space station." From this, NBCi can suggest that these other searches might be of interest to those who search for Mir. So, the "Find more sites" option provides a useful way to take your search in a new but related direction from your original search topic.

By selecting the "More Like This" link, you'll see other sites similar to the NASA site about Mir. Unlike using the "Listing in NBCi Category" link, More Like This will bring back sites beyond those just listed in the Mir category. You'll also see any related searches and related categories that may be of interest.

Finally, the "Site Details" link is probably of most interest to webmasters and site promoters. It shows you how a particular site ranks for major search terms. For example, the NASA Mir site is ranked number 2 for "mir" and number 5 for "space station."

NBCi
http://www.nbci.com/

LiveDirectory Home Page
http://livedirectory.nbci.com/

Learn more about submitting to the LiveDirectory here. Once you've done that, you'll then be able to promote your submitted sites to the Top Sites directory.

NBCi Promote a Site Help Center
http://www.nbci.com/LMOID/resource/0,566,-4189,00.html

More specific help from NBCi about its promotion program, including guidelines about what is and isn't eligible for promotion.

NBCi E-mail Us Page
http://www.nbci.com/main/help/support/0,120,-0,00.html

Use this page to get in contact about changes to sites in the Top Sites directory that were added before the promotion program began.

NBCi (Snap) Unveils LiveDirectory
The Search Engine Report, Dec. 6, 1999
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/99/12-snap.html

Past article about the LiveDirectory system.

NBCi Faces Struggle to Become Major Portal
Bloomberg, Dec. 29, 2000

Unlike AltaVista, which pulled back from the portal game late last year, NBCi is taking aim at the likes of AOL, Yahoo and MSN. But NBCi has US $380 million in free advertising on US network NBC to use in its fight. Be aware that this article may only be free for a short period of time.

A longer, more detailed version of this article is available to
Search Engine Watch "site subscribers."
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